The rumored 4K Nintendo Switch is probably not real

4K Switch

Recently, the rumor for a potential mid-generation 4K upgrade to the Nintendo Switch has made the rounds in some circles. According to Gamerant, the alleged console-in-the-making first surfaced from Marcus Sellars, a self-described “insider.” Sellars’ now-deleted tweet claims that the 4K Switch would launch in early 2019 and will come complete with “8GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, and ‘dynamic scaling’ that will let it output 4K resolution.”

In the present day of video gaming, console generations are now becoming blurred with the advent of mid-generation upgrades such as the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. At first glance, this report alone might lend credence to the notion that Nintendo could also be considering a similar path just to tow the line with a new industry trend. However, one must never forget that Nintendo typically marches to the beat of its own drum.

History does not validate this rumor

Last year, we reported that Reggie Fils-Aime, President of Nintendo of America, spoke on the record that he felt the 4K market was a “bit too limited” at the moment. This sentiment was echoed by Philippe Lavoué, the General manager of Nintendo of France, just a few months back. At the time, he stated the following:

“We are very pragmatic. You look at VR helmets, I have doubts about their ability to seduce the greatest number. And consumers are not patient with entertainment if you are not able to offer them a complete solution. As for 4K, should we invest in a technology that is not widely adopted? Where are the 4K screens today? Should we invest before the consumer has adopted the technology? We can not invest everywhere. And what will be new compared to competitors? If we do the same thing as others, we are doomed to die because we are smaller than them. With the Switch, we have the merit of proposing different uses adapted to the rhythm of users’ lives. [The] interest is to be able to return to your daily life. The use of video games becomes less exceptional.”

To aid the argument towards the unlikelihood of a 4K Nintendo Switch in early 2019, we can also look at the hardware itself and its most defining characteristic – portability. This feature has contributed to the burgeoning commercial impact of the Switch over the past 18 months. Many consumers enjoy being able to take console gaming experiences with them wherever they go. Upgrading to 4K resolution is only going to serve the console when it’s docked with an output to a large screen. Nintendo Switch screens are far too small to physically realize the difference between HD and 4K resolutions with the naked eye. Essentially, there’d be no point unless strong demand for a 4K resolution in docked mode became apparent to Nintendo.

I’m not discounting the idea that Nintendo could potentially release an upgrade to the Nintendo Switch in the future. However, the rumor, as it stands, is highly unlikely for the aforementioned reasons. And, that’s not even mentioning the fact that we haven’t heard an official announcement for this theoretical console that would be only a mere six months away.

Do you hope for a Nintendo Switch upgrade in the future? If so, what sort of “upgrade” features would you like to see come to Nintendo’s hit console? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

Chris Hinton
Accountant by day, video games enthusiast by night.  Somewhere in between all of that, I'm a husband, dad, and generally a giant man-child, too.  If a game is all about action, there's a safe bet I'm playing it.  I started laying waste to virtual worlds as a youngin' on the ol' Atari and haven't stopped since.