With rumors abounding about an upcoming Nintendo Switch Pro, it’s hard not to speculate about how the device will be positioned in the market. Will it be like the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro and simply play games made for the Switch with enhanced performance? Alternatively, will it be like the DSi and New 3DS and have a small number of Switch Pro exclusive titles?
Will there be Switch Pro exclusive games?
Nintendo was the first company to offer a mid-generation performance upgrade for one of its systems. In 2008, the DSi released with four times the RAM and twice the CPU performance as the original DS. Unlike the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, which just enhance games with their extra power, the DSi received an exclusive DSi Shop. Studios produced over 200 downloadable games released on this service for DSi handhelds and 5 DSi-exclusive cartridge-based games.
For its next generation of handheld, Nintendo repeated this approach. The New Nintendo 3DS launched in 2014-15 worldwide and, again, featured an upgraded CPU and double the RAM of its predecessor. The New 3DS received seven exclusive titles but didn’t get its own eShop. Several games also received performance enhancements, which drastically improved the playability of some of the 3DS’s more taxing titles.
So, Nintendo’s precedent with mid-generation upgrades is to release exclusive content for them. However, since the Switch is the only system the company has on the market right now, it may not want to risk losing revenue by limiting any titles to the Switch Pro. My guess is that the Pro will get a smaller title (like Link’s Crossbow Training) that demonstrates its enhanced performance at most.
Despite the Switch’s excellent sales, the console’s performance is often criticized. Nintendo doesn’t have to provide any incentives besides increased resolution and framerate to ensure the Switch Pro sells like hotcakes. As a result, logically, the Switch Pro will be designed and marketed in the same manner that the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X were. However, the Big N is full of surprises, so it’s tough to predict the outcome.