Nintendo over the last year has accustomed us to sudden, unexpected and possible announcements at any time of day. A new way of communicating with the public, from “Directly to you” to an impromptu announcement that will monopolize the social discourse in the days to follow. A strategy that is also the daughter of COVID, which has seen Nintendo (and not only) collide with the expectations of fans and the need to review the production system, heavily slowed down by the consequences of the pandemic.
In short, once again no one expected that Nintendo would announce a new Switch model, on a sunny afternoon of July 6. Boom, scroll down the Twitter timeline and find yourself a new Nintendo Switch. A revised model, with a 7-inch OLED panel and a number of design improvements. But above all, without that 4K output that had been talked about so much in recent months.
In fact Nintendo Switch OLED it’s a slight overhaul just like the XL line was for the 3DS. No changes in terms of technical specifications, but a pure improvement in terms of hardware and form factor. If 3DS XL introduced a better screen, a bigger design and a different build solidity, well Switch OLED does exactly the same thing. Now it is legitimate to ask: exactly, why?
Nintendo’s strategy may seem abstruse and foolish, but it actually makes perfect sense in commercial terms. As I said before, the Kyoto company has already done this many times. Nintendo Switch is an incredible success, with 84.59 million consoles sold and an equally impressive software output. Momentum is positive, and Nintendo can’t let the horse run for any reason.
The idea is to maximize earnings on demand by preventing the current Switch model from falling in price or being left unsold in stores. Nintendo is not interested in selling you a better model, you users who already own it. Rather, to attract those who have not yet got on the bandwagon. And a good return too, since it will be sold at a price of 349 €. Nintendo with Switch OLED is repositioning its console on the market, without devaluing it.
On the other hand, there are those who rightly wonder if Nintendo Switch OLED will be the cross of that elusive Pro model much talked about from industry insiders. After all, the Bloomberg report seemed rather reliable, as well as the idea of overhauling a hardware that is starting to show the side of more than one technological uncertainty. The disappointment in this sense is understandable and amply justified, even if fueled by rumors and analyzes that have never had a certain basis.
The elusive Switch Pro may no longer arrive the way we imagine, but as a true heir of today’s Switch. A generational leap that no longer identifies itself as a mid-generation model, but as a new entry into Nintendo’s future. With the semiconductor crisis and a pandemic that has brought production mechanisms to their knees, the possibility of seeing a Pro model in the next year seems increasingly distant to me. At this point who knows, the truth is that Nintendo is unpredictable and this announcement has proved it once again.
Too bad, however, for a series of elements that make you turn up your nose. Nintendo Switch OLED is a nice gimmick, even if only for that 7-inch OLED panel that promises to be beautiful. Improved color rendering, brighter and with a contrast that will make those blacks stand out like the sky of a moonless night. But, and there is a but: Nintendo has missed the opportunity to improve the drums and especially the Joy-cons.
The peculiar detachable controllers of Nintendo are the real cross of this console, plagued by a dangerous drift and a constructive solidity that is anything but excellent. Nintendo Switch OLED will in fact be a beautiful “definitive” Switch, with a much wanted improved stand, more memory and native LAN support in the dock. Otherwise, with a sigh or two, it’s the same Switch we’ve had so far. With all the advantages and defects that follow. For the more demanding, on our site you will find a comparison between the models available.
A beautiful console, which will now become even more so, but which is not aligned with the needs and demands of its most loyal audience. Who knows what else Nintendo will have in store for us in the more distant future. For now, we can just stand by and watch all together. Curious yes, but also a little perplexed.
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