Nintendo announced a brand new model of the Switch on Tuesday — the Nintendo Switch OLED model — and it was kind of a letdown for everyone involved.
The system is only $50 more than the standard switch, but it arguably doesn’t add even $50 in value, since it failed to address many of the limitations that keep the Switch feeling outdated. So despite being brand new, I am not excited about or interested in buying this Switch.
Not only does the new black and white (or red and blue) toned Switch stick with the 720p screen when not docked, it is also only capable of 1080p when it is connected to the dock. So those who were hoping to play Nintendo games in the 21st century on their modern 4k resolution televisions will I guess have to continue waiting.
On top of that, the actual system will perform no better than the original Switch, so really this doesn't feel like much of an upgrade at all.
Many people took to Twitter to complain about the lack of 4k on the new Switch. The reaction was due in part to wide speculation that Nintendo's next Switch would support 4k, though those rumors were not based on any tangible communications from Nintendo itself. So many people tweeted about the lack of 4k that "4k" was briefly trending on the platform.
While some might argue that 4k isn’t necessary for gamers to enjoy Nintendo's games, the fact is that in 2021 4k is the standard expectation for living room gaming. If you go to a standard electronics store right now, you would be hard-pressed to find any 1080p televisions even if you wanted one.
Even in 2017, when the Switch was originally released, 4k was quickly becoming the standard, so the Switch in its docked mode has kind of felt outdated this whole time.
With all that being said, there were some notable improvements to the new system that might be worth it to someone out there. The most prominent change of course was the addition of the new OLED screen. With an OLED screen, the blacks will look richer and the switch screen should be a little more battery efficient as well. The screen is now 7 inches across, rather than the previous 6.3 inches.
Additionally, Ethernet will not be built into the Switch and it will have a wider and more adjustable kickstand, which are both nice, if underwhelming, quality of life improvements. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players are already thinking about the implications for online competitive play, assuming it will still be troublesome. This has made the announcement a bit dull for the competitive scene.
For those who are interested in picking up the new OLED model of the Switch, it will be available on October 8th, 2021.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.