Nintendo won't launch a Switch Pro in time for the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Is Nintendo making a fatal error?
Nintendo dashed rumors that it would launch a new “Switch Pro” [GamesRadar] model in 2020 to help the console remain relevant after the impending launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
This means Nintendo will enter the next console generation relying on last-gen hardware. While Xbox and PlayStation fight it out over system specs, Nintendo won’t even try to avoid languishing at the back of the pack.
Is Nintendo making a fatal mistake?
While some gamers have implored Nintendo to support 4K resolution and improved framerates, it really isn’t integral to their business model.
Nintendo has a rigid method of doing things. They rely on their popular IPs to drive sales and market their hardware to a broad audience.
Compare that to Sony and Microsoft.
Both of these companies possess some strong IPs, but none as long-lived. Their marketing tends to be aimed at adults and teenagers [YouTube].
With such broad marketing, the lack of graphical power might not make much of a difference for Nintendo.
Rather, the company’s focus must be on continuing to produce hits from its vast library of core IPs.
That said, it would likely help to permanently reduce the price of the Switch console as holiday 2020 approaches.
It’s still not clear how the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X will impact the Switch.
The console is currently riding high, with 52.48 million units sold during the Switch’s lifetime [Engadget]. But will that sales rate last with newer competing hardware on the way?
The industry’s history gives us a few clues.
Like the Switch, the Sega Dreamcast launched much earlier than other same-generation consoles. It didn’t enjoy a particularly spectacular fate [Polygon].
But that doesn’t mean the Switch is doomed to go the way of the Dreamcast. Nintendo’s console has already sold five times as many units as Sega ever moved. And it launched early enough that most gamers won’t be deciding between purchasing a Switch and buying a PS5 or Series X.
A Switch Pro release may have appeased a small subset of hardcore gamers – emphasis on the small.
Only 30% of U.S. households own a 4K television [Statistica], so the number of potential Switch players who care about 4K isn’t a big enough market to justify launching a new console model.
All things considered, Nintendo should be just fine.