Following the announcement of the Nintendo Switch Lite, Nintendo has also revealed that there will be a slight upgrade made to the original Nintendo Switch this fall, in the form of a longer lasting battery. This follows months of speculation that there would be two new consoles added to the lineup, one being what we have seen in the Lite, and another to replace the current console.
In fact, it seems that that second new model was little more than this battery upgrade. The name of the console remains unchanged, and Nintendo claims that it will provide between 4.5 to 9 hours of battery life depending on the game that is played. Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be able to play for 5.5 hours. By comparison, the current Switch can play for anywhere from 2.5 to 6.5 hours depending on the game.
Nintendo had been quiet about announcing this new console until now, and with good reason. Any announcement of this sort is likely to send current sales of the console plummeting, as consumers see the value in waiting less than two months for the improved version.
Speculation online was varied about what this new upgrade might entail. Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser stated that there would be no significant upgrades made to the console in the same way that Sony released their upgraded PlayStation 4 Pro over their original console. He is correct in his statement, but this feels a bit disingenuous when considering the news.
This means that players who seek out a Switch with better battery life may wish to wait, while those who would play it in short bursts or mainly in its docked mode can safely go ahead and purchase the existing model. Any manner of a “Pro” switch will certainly not be coming out this year, and would not likely be a massive change to how we enjoy games on the console even if it did release soon.
The Nintendo Switch has not marketed itself as a graphic intensive console, similar to the language surrounding previous generations of Nintendo consoles. While a PS4 Pro offers a higher resolution from its original, as well as improved performance, the Switch would not likely aim for the same goals.
Instead, a Pro for the Switch would probably take on a beefier processor to help with loading times or to extend battery life. Whatever a “Pro” release looks like, it cannot be so advanced as to render our current consoles or the upcoming Lite irrelevant. That's why players can safely purchase the system now or in the near future, knowing that they will be able to enjoy their favorite games just fine.
The question now should be if this announcement of a longer battery life in the Switch console will sway consumers away from the Lite? We have only a few months until the release of each, and we will know soon enough.