Since my earliest days on TAY, I’ve followed the rumor mill and general news surrounding the Nintendo Switch. I’m a self-admitted Switch fanboy. But even then, I’ve always felt that the Switch was a tad lacking at launch, using stock parts that NVIDIA gave to Nintendo to get it out the door. Many people thought the device would flop, but instead it has gone on pass the Wii U in lifetime sales(14 million in 5 years) by 6 million units in just a little over a year and is on track to overtake the Xbox One’s estimated close to 40 million units in just one more year if sales keep this pace. It’s safe to say that Nintendo has a winning idea on their hands, but even before the system launched, there were rumors that pointed to a more powerful device speculated to be either a dev kit or a future “Pro” version. It was said to have 8GB of RAM compared to the base versions 4GB and an SoC that was twice as big. Nintendo also filed a patent for a supplemental computing device(SCD) that in some form, could boost the power of the current Switch unit. Fast forward to this year, and when the system was updated to version 5.0, code sleuths found reference to a new Switch SoC codenamed “Mariko.” It was assumed to be just a revision of the current chip based on its number, but perhaps that’s not actually the case.
According to a new rumor from industry insider Marcus Sellars via Twitter(since deleted), Nintendo will launch a new version of the Nintendo Switch in “Early 2019" and it will be powered by a Tegra X2(Pascal) SoC with a total of 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It will also have some form of internal scaling to output at 4K resolution. When it comes to the actual games, there’s apparently two sides to the “Pro” coin. The head side is that all first party Nintendo titles will run on both Switch systems and that is mandatory. However, the tails side is that third partys are NOT mandated to make their games run on both systems, meaning a game can be exclusive to the “Pro” device, and the game named in the rumor as an example is Resident Evil 2 Remake which is set to release early next year.
Out of all of this, the most suspect part is the bit about 4K, after all its taken the more powerful versions of the Xbox One and PS4 to get anywhere close to 4K at even 30fps on consoles while maintaining the graphical quality that made them next gen systems in the first place. However, that was also on AMD hardware. NVIDIA’s 10-series desktop and laptop GPU’s, which are Pascal architecture, are capable of outputting 4K resolution with somewhat decent framerates. Now, obviously desktop/laptop power is not the same as tablet power, especially when cooling and battery life come into play, but a Pascal chip would certainly be capable of this and it’s possible that its ability to output 4K could be reserved for UI elements, scaling of images, and videos/still images rendered at 4K, not real-time gaming. However, the new chip would presumably make older games run better, be it higher resolution such as 1080p for those that are sub-1080p, more stable framerates, and perhaps even better graphics depending on developer patches. And to clarify the 4K aspect as it concerns gaming, it was stated to be 4K upscaling. So the games won’t be rendered at 4K, but upscaled to it from whatever their native resolution happens to be. Most modern TV’s have built in upscalers, however their quality may vary, so using a proprietary upscaler built into the Switch or the dock itself would likely produce better results, and use up a lot less battery power(if for some reason it works in handheld mode which I doubt) on top of using a lot less processing power. It’s not as good as native 4K, but for a machine like the Switch, upscaled 4K is just fine.
As far as the insider in question goes, he has a 50/50 track record. He’s been right on some calls in the past, but at the same time wrong on others. Though apparently there have been some instances of random people emailing him “insider information” which he then publishes as rumor, so that when it turns out false, they can call him a fraud. So there is a chance that this is one such instance, and yet, a part of me feels that if this has happened to him in the past, he’d vet his sources more going forward.
All in all, as I always say, take it all with a grain of salt, but considering the Switch is a handheld device, a tablet in design to be more specific, its upgrade cycle is prone to that of the mobile device market. NVIDIA can churn out new chips every two to three years with decent performance gains, and if Nintendo were to keep to that schedule, promising to support at least the previous device for the next three years, they could effectively catch up to the next gen Xbox and PS5 eventually, but with a handheld device. Only time will tell if this is all true, and if it’s releasing in “Early 2019" then it will likely be revealed some time before the end of this year.
UPDATE 8/20/18: So after letting this article sit for the day, I decided to keep tabs on the rumor mill because there are people everywhere saying you can’t trust Marcus Sellars. Personally, I’ve never heard of him before, this is the first time his name has come up whenever I’m doing research on stuff like this. So I was gonna say to take all of this with even more salt because the odds of it being false went up. However, his tweets, which he deleted but still defends as being accurate and truthful, sort of started an echo chamber, at least a small one. He was accused of plagiarizing from a Youtuber, SuperMetalDave, who only half an hour earlier had had a Twitter conversation regarding this same subject. However, they took it to private messaging and Marcus stated that while SMD’s tweets prompted him to make his, he already had this information sitting, but was nervous about pulling the trigger. So knowing that others had heard similar things gave him the confidence or courage to tweet what he knew. Now, SMD has gone on record as saying that while he does know bits and pieces, most of his information is based on publicly available knowledge. However, in a livestream conversation with Rich from ReviewTechUSA, Rich said that he personally knows more than he feels he can say, but to not immediately write off these rumors as fake.
Basically the consensus is that, yes, Nintendo is indeed working on a more powerful Switch and it is not a Switch Mini or anything like that. And knowledge about what this device is capable of or what games could potentially be coming to it or when it will release is indeed already out there, people just aren’t saying anything for any number of reasons, which is why Marcus Sellars, if he does have legitimate knowledge of the device, is the first person to come forward, but he took his tweets down because he felt that it was damning evidence in some form towards the person that gave him the information. Obviously once something’s out on the internet, you can’t take it back that easily, so while the call to delete the tweets wasn’t necessarily the wrong choice, if it does lead back to the person that gave him the information, there’s nothing he can do to stop that since the tweets were not only screencapped, but the information has already spread. This article of mine is proof of that and from reading this you all know it as well.
One other thing I learned is that apparently some time within the last year, Ubisoft made a comment about Rainbow Six Siege potentially coming to the Switch, but their wording implied that it would not be coming to the current Switch, but one that had yet to be revealed. Now it could have just been bad wording on their part, like they’re waiting for the day Nintendo releases a Switch with capable enough hardware, but at the same time Ubisoft in particular would definitely be in the know on a new Switch unit since they’re pretty buddy-buddy with Nintendo right now.