While Nintendo didn’t have a new console to launch in 2020 like its competitors Sony and Microsoft did, it was still a good year for the Switch. The COVID-19 pandemic drove incredibly strong sales for both the console and games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and according to some analysts, Nintendo may be able to keep that momentum going into 2021. While several analysts are predicting that the Switch will still be the best-selling console in 2021, there are at least a couple who are also predicting that we’ll see Nintendo launch the long-rumored Switch Pro this year.
At this point, the Switch Pro has been rumored nearly as long as the standard Switch has been available. While early on those rumors were often paired with reports of a handheld-only Switch Lite, the Switch Lite is a console that eventually materialized while the Switch Pro hasn’t yet. In a GamesIndustry round up encompassing 2021 predictions from a number of industry analysts, Kantan Games’ Dr. Serkan Toto predicts that we’ll see Nintendo launch a “beefed-up 4K device” during its next financial year.
One thing to note is that even though GamesIndustry categorizes Toto’s prediction as commentary on the Switch Pro, Toto himself refrains from calling the device the Switch Pro. “Yes, I know, I know,” Toto said (referencing the fact that he predicted we’d see a Switch Pro in 2020). “I predict a beefed-up 4K device is coming during Nintendo’s next financial year. And let it be said: ‘Switch’ is just a word.”
Piers Harding-Rolls from Ampere Analysis makes a similar prediction, telling GamesIndustry, “Last year I was unconvinced there would be a new flagship model Switch in 2020, but it makes more commercial sense to release an updated version in 2021. I currently have an updated version of the Switch in my forecasts for 2021.” Like Toto, Harding-Rolls doesn’t call this new console the Switch Pro.
Both Harding-Rolls and Toto think that the Switch family will be 2021’s best-selling console, a sentiment that’s mirrored by NPD’s Mat Piscatella – though, notably, Piscatella thinks that the Switch will achieve bestseller status through “content and promotional efforts rather than the release of a new iterative model.”
So, at least a couple of industry analysts are convinced that Nintendo will launch a souped up Switch this year, but regardless, the expectation seems to be that the Switch and Nintendo will have a big year anyway. It does seem like we hear this prediction year in and year out, so whether or not 2021 will finally be the year these Switch Pro predictions will come true is anything but certain. We’ll keep you updated as we move through 2021.