Would You Buy a Nintendo Switch Plus in 2020?

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read
Would You Buy a Nintendo Switch Plus in 2020?

It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but there has been a lot of rumbling about a new Nintendo Switch coming out this year. No, not a successor to the Switch, but a nicer version of the Switch we know and love. So before Nintendo announces something (or nothing) I wanted to get my thoughts out there on what they could do to make a higher end Switch fit into their lineup.

The Changes

  1. Implement a newer Tegra chip (the X1 it uses today came out in 2015, the same year as the iPhone 6S, for context).
  2. Up the screen resolution on the built-in display to 1080p (currently 720p).
  3. Ship with a new left Joy Con that has a d-pad instead of four separate directional buttons.

The Impact

First and foremost, this would not make any changes to the games that work on any Switch platform; every game would have to work on every Switch. The impact of these changes, mainly in the new Tegra chip, is that games would run with either:

  • higher resolutions
  • higher framerates
  • more graphical fidelity

This is basically what happens on the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X today, so the market is prepared for this sort if difference. This “Plus” model of the Switch would not get us up to PS4 or PS5 territory, but it would give Switch games a little extra juice to look and play their best.

For example, Breath of the Wild typically runs at 900p and 30fps (with dips below each of those stats at certain times). On the Plus maybe it would run at 1080p and 60fps. Maybe the devs would be able to ship an update to give users an option to play at 1440p and 30fps, too.

This would also show on the new 1080p screen built into the Switch, which would look far sharper than the 720p screen we have today. Games look fine on the current screen, but there is no doubt that seeing Nintendo games in your palm and at 1080p would be a treat.

Finally, I’d make the left Joy Con have a traditional d-pad like the Pro Controller. This would be more comfortable to play with and would actually make plenty of games easier to play. This would make this Joy Con incompatible with games that let you play with a single Joy Con, but I think the hit would be worth it for the sort of players who would be buying this beefier system. Joy Cons would of course remain compatible with both Switch models so you could mix and match however you please.

Would You Buy This?

I love my Switch, but assuming the price was $100 more than the regular Switch ($399 vs $299) I’d buy this new model in a heartbeat. Power isn’t everything with games, but after spending a couple years with a 4k TV and PS4 Pro, it’s hard for me to look at games 1080p and lower without a hint of “this is kinda blury” in my head. Maybe that’s not everyone, but as we approach the PS5 and Xbox Series X this fall, the expectation for what games look like is going to increase a ton, and the Switch is going to feel even more dated. Nintendo has no reason to replace the Switch for another couple years, but I would like to see them give us a model that narrows the gap between them and the other guys by just a bit.

What do you think, would you buy this Switch Plus? Would you make different upgrades? As always, let me know!