Many were disappointed the new Nintendo Switch OLED Model will not support 4K resolution, but the new features hint the model is for handheld gamers.
Among the reactions to Nintendo‘s OLED Switch announcement, one question rang loud and clear on social media: Why doesn’t the system upgrade to 4K resolution? While the OLED screen on the new model will improve the quality and size of the graphics on the system itself, the resolution will not surpass 1080p on TV mode and 720p on handheld mode – the same as the previous Switch model.
As rumors about a Switch Pro have gained consistency in recent months, the top wishlist items for a new system have been 4K resolution, solving Joy-Con Drift, and more internal storage. The OLED Model doubles the Switch’s storage, but does not address the former two issues. 4K resolution, at least, would require a significant shift in the Switch’s hardware. It seems that the OLED model is concerned more with adding new features to improve handheld gaming, and less concerned about tweaking the hardware itself.
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Speaking to The Verge, Nintendo confirmed that the new OLED Switch does not have a new CPU (central processing unit) or more RAM. The ability to output in 4K resolution would depend more on the system’s GPU, or graphics processing unit. However, the OLED Nintendo Switch’s specs don’t appear to include an updated GPU, either. The new model is more focused on bringing a better handheld experience, and not necessarily on what happens after the Switch is docked.
The OLED Switch Is Not An Update for TV Gamers
Looking at Nintendo‘s website, three of the five major updates to the OLED Switch specifically address issues with handheld or tabletop gaming: a better and bigger screen, better speakers, and a sturdier, adjustable kickstand. Adding a LAN port to the dock is a big deal for everyone struggling with inconsistent WiFi, but not an adjustment to the hardware of the Switch itself. The biggest shift to hardware is the system’s doubled internal storage, but adding 64 GB storage is not the spacious technical feat it once was.
The features Nintendo focused on with the OLED Switch show that the system is meant to be an improvement for gamers who want a better handheld or tabletop experience. With many countries slowly coming out of COVID-19 lockdowns, this feature may become increasingly relevant and attractive in coming months as more people leave their homes. The OLED model is actually a big improvement in terms of handheld mode: The base Switch’s speakers aren’t great, and standing one on its flimsy kickstand is nerve-racking, so better audio and a more durable stand are nice.
The new Switch OLED Model doesn’t seem to be geared toward those wanting a hi-fi gaming experience on a TV, but rather to improve the quality of handheld gaming. The Nintendo 3DS had a ton of additional versions: the New 3DS, the 3DS XL, and the New 3DS XL. Now that Nintendo is combining its handheld and home consoles, it makes sense that the Switch will receive many similar iterations. After all, there’s already the Switch Lite.
Considering Nintendo recently discontinued the 3DS, it may be concentrating on releasing versions of the Switch that will appease fans of their handheld consoles in its absence. But that doesn’t mean Nintendo has forgotten about its TV gamers. If anything, the addition of 64 GB and a LAN port could hint that the company is already thinking about ways to improve the Switch for those who prefer it docked. The OLED Model Switch is not that system, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a 4K version is never coming.
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