Within the past day, Nintendo shot down claims that it was working on a new version of the Nintendo Switch that would feature 4K video output. According to the iconic Japanese game publisher, the only new iteration of the Switch that it has in the works is that of the OLED model, which is slated to launch in the coming month. However, just because Nintendo has continued to state that a 4K-compatible Nintendo Switch isn't in the cards doesn't mean that such a piece of hardware won't one day arrive. Instead, Nintendo might just be hinting that we won't see it come to fruition until the proper successor to the Switch comes about.
In all likelihood, those at Nintendo have already started to work on the console that will end up releasing after the Switch in the future. At this point in time, the Switch is roughly four and a half years old, which means that Nintendo is surely taking steps internally to prepare its next console. Given how successful the Switch has been for the company, though, it stands to reason that the next major console release from the publisher will resemble the Switch in some manner. As such, creating a new version of the console that does support 4K seems like a logical evolution for the platform. And even though Nintendo has shot down this notion in a very straightforward manner, examining what the company has very specifically said on this matter might give us a better idea of its future plans.
We also want to restate that, as we announced in July, we have no plans for any new model other than Nintendo Switch – OLED Model, which will launch on October 8, 2021. (2/2)— 任天堂株式会社（企業広報・IR） (@NintendoCoLtd) September 30, 2021
This is pure speculation on my part, but perhaps the way that Nintendo is able to so blatantly shoot down reports that developers are working on 4K experiences for the Switch is because it doesn't consider a potential 4K version of the console to be part of this current generation of the Switch. After all, Nintendo has only specifically said that it's not working on any additional models of the console outside of the OLED version. Technically, if a new version of the Switch were to come about and it did support 4K, maybe it would just be considered Nintendo's "next-gen" version of the system, allowing them to boldly deny reports and rumors in the process.
Essentially, in my own estimation, the next console leap that Nintendo will take will likely be akin to the jump that it made from the Nintendo DS to the Nintendo 3DS. While both handheld devices were roughly the same, the 3DS was improved in some major ways and could do things that its predecessor could not. In the same way, perhaps a 4K version of the Nintendo Switch could play out in the same way. Rather than just releasing a 4K model of the Switch to sit alongside the current models of the console that are available, perhaps 4K functionality won't end up arriving until Nintendo makes another generational leap.
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