Nintendo has 'no plans' to launch a 4K Switch, despite rumors to the contrary

Polycount

Posts: 2,934   +588
Staff member
In brief: If you've been saving your pennies for Nintendo's rumored 4K Switch variant, you might want to find a different use for them now. The company has come out to say, in no uncertain terms, that it has no plans to release such a product. The only new Switch model in the works is the officially-announced OLED version, which ships out on October 8.

This unfortunate news comes on the heels of recent reports that Nintendo had recently been 'supplying tools' to developers to assist them in creating 4K Switch titles. Judging by how fast Nintendo responded to the situation, It seems the Japanese gaming giant wants to squash any 4K Switch rumors before they can get any traction.

While it's possible that Nintendo still has something up their sleeves, it's looking a lot less likely that that thing is a 4K Switch. It could very well be a new console entirely—maybe a true Switch Pro, in the vein of the Series X and PS5—but it won't be a variant of the current-gen device; that much is certain.

There are many potential reasons for Nintendo to go this route. The severe chip shortages the entire tech industry is suffering from is one, and Covid-19 related shipping delays and work restrictions are just a couple of others. And, of course, it's possible that the company just doesn't see any value in creating a 4K Switch. Perhaps it would rather focus its efforts elsewhere, such as on a new console, or its next blockbuster hit (hopefully) of a video game. Breath of the Wild 2, anyone?

Anyway, this information will undoubtedly disappoint some Nintendo faithfuls (indeed, it already has, judging by the reaction on Twitter), but most will probably agree that it's better to set expectations straight early on than let them fester. That is especially true when you have investors to worry about, as Nintendo does.

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Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,054   +873
We don’t need a 4K switch. But we could do with some extra performance for 1080p or maybe even 1440p. The switch is the best console of this gen by a country mile but it’s biggest downside are it’s blurry visuals and low frame rates.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,337   +2,622
I mean why would they have such plans when it's physically impossible for a form factor that small to drive native 4k?

Sure they could launch a full on console that might approximate some of the lies and technical wins Microsoft and Sony have to claim 4k support but even that is unlikely for Nintendo: they're not interested in console wars they just want to sell toys and to exploit children with mobile games with gacha mechanics.
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,438   +2,569
I mean why would they have such plans when it's physically impossible for a form factor that small to drive native 4k?

Sure they could launch a full on console that might approximate some of the lies and technical wins Microsoft and Sony have to claim 4k support but even that is unlikely for Nintendo: they're not interested in console wars they just want to sell toys and to exploit children with mobile games with gacha mechanics.

Yep.

The speculation always was that with an updated Nvidia chipset DLSS could quite likely push out something that at least looked close to 4K. Since these are Switch games we're talking about 1080p+ combined with DLSS is very much within the reach of a revised mobile chipset.

But the realty of the situation is this is Nintendo, who aren't that interested in visual upgrades. They aren't in the same race as Microsoft and Sony.

They want maximum profit on their cheaper hardware, so they feel no need to release a cutting edge $400 variant with no profit margin. Not when they can still sell cheap 5 year old Tegra X1 technology with a budget OLED slapped in for a no doubt very healthy margin at $350. That's business sense for them.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,337   +2,622
Yep.

The speculation always was that with an updated Nvidia chipset DLSS could quite likely push out something that at least looked close to 4K. Since these are Switch games we're talking about 1080p+ combined with DLSS is very much within the reach of a revised mobile chipset.

But the realty of the situation is this is Nintendo, who aren't that interested in visual upgrades. They aren't in the same race as Microsoft and Sony.

They want maximum profit on their cheaper hardware, so they feel no need to release a cutting edge $400 variant with no profit margin. Not when they can still sell cheap 5 year old Tegra X1 technology with a budget OLED slapped in for a no doubt very healthy margin at $350. That's business sense for them.

Even that it's still a stretch. I get why the rumors exists since it's a hell of a lot closer to use DLSS 2.0 so for Nintendo games it kiiiinda makes sense that it would be plausible, but it's just not there still: 10080p 30 FPS even for simpler Nintendo games is not easy for a device like the switch to run and for DLSS 2.0 to actually work correctly, it would need to also push very substantial AA and lots of detail before upscaling. So you'd need at least 2060 levels of performance to approximate "passable" DLSSing 1080p into 4k.

So a switch that can somehow fit a laptop 3050 and still have usable thermals and battery life? I think it's just not achiveable today. It's close, but it still needs one more level of performance uplift or node reduction to do it on even more power constrains than a full sized laptop.
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,438   +2,569
Even that it's still a stretch. I get why the rumors exists since it's a hell of a lot closer to use DLSS 2.0 so for Nintendo games it kiiiinda makes sense that it would be plausible, but it's just not there still: 10080p 30 FPS even for simpler Nintendo games is not easy for a device like the switch to run and for DLSS 2.0 to actually work correctly, it would need to also push very substantial AA and lots of detail before upscaling. So you'd need at least 2060 levels of performance to approximate "passable" DLSSing 1080p into 4k.

So a switch that can somehow fit a laptop 3050 and still have usable thermals and battery life? I think it's just not achiveable today. It's close, but it still needs one more level of performance uplift or node reduction to do it on even more power constrains than a full sized laptop.

You don't need RTX2060 level of performance to make Switch games 1080p or higher and then upscale with DLSS. These are Switch games after all!

These games are already commonly 900p or 1080p docked with the original chipset. Remember- this was on a TSMC 20nm process. It was a generation old when the machine launched in 2017. Nvidia launched their first 16nm video cards nearly a year earlier.

Today a TSMC 7nm chipset would easily double 20nm Tegra X1's raw performance within the same power envelope. DLSS technology would take it the rest of the way then. 5nm is well into mass production for even more gains.

Nintendo haven't even seen fit to get the original chipset on to 7nm, the revised model last year was only on 16nm. Why? Well cost is the most obvious reason. 16nm wafers are a hell of a lot cheaper and more available than 7nm ones especially right now.

1080p mobile mode and 4K docked via performance mode DLSS for Switch games is totally viable in the form factor and power constraints. But Nintendo have no good business case to do it.
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 417   +543
This is such a shame. For those wondering, the console wouldn't really be 4K internally. But using DLSS. IMO the Switch could really use a Pro Model that does nothing more than using DLSS for 4K and allow for higher FPS.

The current switch has some pretty lack luster specs and it shows in game. Instead of a custom SOC from Nvidia that would better target 60FPS, Nvidia pushed cheap Tegra chips that they over provisioned for at the fab. They were either going to have to eat the costs or get someone like nvidia to pick them up for cheap.

It made for a good handheld but the docked mode is pretty subpar.

Nintendo has a pretty bad track record with mid cycle upgrades. The New 3DS and DSi both were mid cycle refreshes that bumped up power, only for a handful of games to support it. Nintendo can't even make a decent online ecosystem. Still missing features we should have had years ago....
 

ZackL04

Posts: 746   +571
Id just prefer a non mobile console version with beefed internals.


I NEVER mobilize my switch.

Just give me a more powerful unit that can do 1440/2160p depending on the game that can sit next to my other traditional consoles. After all, these games are just software that can have settings tweaked based on hardware no?

Should be the same price too and so need for OLED screen or anything. $299 for a ”switch” box? Yes please!
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,337   +2,622
You don't need RTX2060 level of performance to make Switch games 1080p or higher and then upscale with DLSS. These are Switch games after all!

Ok I think I need to clarify a little bit. Nintendo switch games that are *first party* titles could run ok on DLSS 2.0 (But if you're using DLSS 2.0 it's just not 4k as I mentioned on my original post: it's a compromise, 4k is 4k is 4k it means rendering 3840x2160 resolution, no upscaling)

But as you said later on, Nintendo has no business case or interest in doing that, 1080p is fine for them.

So the only reason you'd run with a rumor about a "4K switch" would be to attract third party developers that think the Switch *is* kind of weak sauce for the games they're making: It's not going to be running 2077 or the latest Asscreed at any kind of playable performance without some significant extra work on their part to make it run even 1080p 60 and we know third party devs are legendary for not doing that whenever they can help it.
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,438   +2,569
Ok I think I need to clarify a little bit. Nintendo switch games that are *first party* titles could run ok on DLSS 2.0 (But if you're using DLSS 2.0 it's just not 4k as I mentioned on my original post: it's a compromise, 4k is 4k is 4k it means rendering 3840x2160 resolution, no upscaling)

But as you said later on, Nintendo has no business case or interest in doing that, 1080p is fine for them.

So the only reason you'd run with a rumor about a "4K switch" would be to attract third party developers that think the Switch *is* kind of weak sauce for the games they're making: It's not going to be running 2077 or the latest Asscreed at any kind of playable performance without some significant extra work on their part to make it run even 1080p 60 and we know third party devs are legendary for not doing that whenever they can help it.

Well 1080p then a good implementation of DLSS 2.1 would look pretty decent on a 4K TV. Going by rough estimates of what a docked 10w power envelope gets you now you could possibly get more like 1440p on many existing Switch games before DLSS gets busy. The image quality at 4K upscaled would be rather good I suspect with more simplistic Switch visuals favouring the technique.

I agree with the thoughts on developers. I don't think that it would attract lots more new developers wanting to put their games only on the new upgraded system, you'll likely have to make sure it runs on 'base' Switch hardware. You would need a total break and new generation.

I don't think Nintendo are concerned about getting more devs on board with Switch. They have their big successful platform already. Nintendo don't care much about anything other than exploiting Switch to the maximum at the moment.

The only reason then to make a 4K Switch is for a tiny minority of Nintendo fans who want a more advanced machine. As a minority, with little new interest from developers and potentially eating into their own tidy profit margins on existing Switch hardware it's not in Nintendo's interest.

Between us we have outlined many reasons now why they aren't doing a 4K Switch. They'll wait another couple of years and knock out a full next gen replacement. Perhaps then we'll get the 4K versions of Switch titles, in back compat. Or more likely retail remasters for the $$$$.........
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 417   +543
Well 1080p then a good implementation of DLSS 2.1 would look pretty decent on a 4K TV. Going by rough estimates of what a docked 10w power envelope gets you now you could possibly get more like 1440p on many existing Switch games before DLSS gets busy. The image quality at 4K upscaled would be rather good I suspect with more simplistic Switch visuals favouring the technique.

I agree with the thoughts on developers. I don't think that it would attract lots more new developers wanting to put their games only on the new upgraded system, you'll likely have to make sure it runs on 'base' Switch hardware. You would need a total break and new generation.

I don't think Nintendo are concerned about getting more devs on board with Switch. They have their big successful platform already. Nintendo don't care much about anything other than exploiting Switch to the maximum at the moment.

The only reason then to make a 4K Switch is for a tiny minority of Nintendo fans who want a more advanced machine. As a minority, with little new interest from developers and potentially eating into their own tidy profit margins on existing Switch hardware it's not in Nintendo's interest.

Between us we have outlined many reasons now why they aren't doing a 4K Switch. They'll wait another couple of years and knock out a full next gen replacement. Perhaps then we'll get the 4K versions of Switch titles, in back compat. Or more likely retail remasters for the $$$$.........


IDK IMO the Switch has been pretty lackluster in terms of 3rd party original content. Seems like anything 3rd party is just a port of something that already exists on another platform. I would love to see more Family Party games that are actually high quality. I could care less about getting 10 new indy games every week.

The 3DS had a better 3rd party lineup when it came with unique 3rd party titles. Both Nintendo's 1st party and 3rd party titles on the Switch leaves much to desire. Not nearly enough unique Nintendo, too many Wii-U ports. Too many HalfA$$ed games that lack in content compared to their games in the past. The switch started so strong too.
 

Xelions

Posts: 20   +19
Today a TSMC 7nm chipset would easily double 20nm Tegra X1's raw performance within the same power envelope. DLSS technology would take it the rest of the way then. 5nm is well into mass production for even more gains.

Nintendo haven't even seen fit to get the original chipset on to 7nm, the revised model last year was only on 16nm. Why? Well cost is the most obvious reason. 16nm wafers are a hell of a lot cheaper and more available than 7nm ones especially right now.

1080p mobile mode and 4K docked via performance mode DLSS for Switch games is totally viable in the form factor and power constraints. But Nintendo have no good business case to do it.
I like this insight. You don't generally get this in comments or articles about the whole 'chipset change over time' upgrades.

..And this brings me to some suspicious thoughts - Bloomberg's article on supplying developers with an in-house 4k software toolkit - about how Nintendo could approach a 4k console. Presently I can only think of 2 options, a new 4K console within 12-24 months, or perhaps a hybrid option where the dock has 4K/(30/60)fps support. Would this be financially viable?! OR perhaps using both the power of the switch and the dock combine. Would that be even possible? - Some kind of virtualization software that utilizes the power of 2 machines!


Ok I think I need to clarify a little bit. Nintendo switch games that are *first party* titles could run ok on DLSS 2.0 (But if you're using DLSS 2.0 it's just not 4k as I mentioned on my original post: it's a compromise, 4k is 4k is 4k it means rendering 3840x2160 resolution, no upscaling)
Reading your other post and this post, all 3 major console businesses exploit their target audience with their machine specs. I agree that native 4k at a high frame rate is just unrealistic at the moment from a console. Forbidden West looks to be a great game for the PS5 but playing it at native 4k 60fps, I just don't see it happening. DLSS and any other equivalent tech is just a cheap way around this. I honestly think we need to work more on software optimization.