15 New Features Coming to Nintendo’s “Switch Pro”

With news that two new Switch models are on the way, with a potential reveal at E3, one wonders what form the new Nintendo Switch model may end up taking.

Through several sources and evidence built up over the past year, here is what we now know about the Nintendo Switch Pro. In this article, we will attempt to differentiate between what we know as nearly certain, what is rumored at the moment, and what we can speculate with good confidence.

Switch Pro: What We Know

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the “Switch Pro” will launch as early as Summer 2019.

Under our list, find an explanation for each new feature and why we believe they are plausible additions:

  1. The Switch Pro will be revealed as early as E3 2019, and launch by this Fall (Wall Street Journal)
  2. The Switch Pro will be more powerful than the current Nintendo Switch (but not at the level of PS4 Pro or Xbox One X) (Wall Street Journal)
  3. The Switch Pro may use upgraded screens from Sharp. The screen will be brighter than the current model. (Wall Street Journal)
  4. The Switch Pro will have new features suited to core gamers (Wall Street Journal)
  5. The Switch Pro may have a thinner design and a new form factor (Wall Street Journal)
  6. The Switch Pro may offer upgraded WiFi and Bluetooth support (Nintendo job listing)
  7. The Switch Pro (and Switch Mini) may offer a new custom SoC, compared to the stock Tegra X1 chip in the current Switch (Nintendo job listing; Spawn Wave)
  8. The Switch Pro may replace the current Nintendo Switch entirely and remain around the same price point, as Nintendo seeks to move onto new SoC’s.
  9. The Switch Pro may have improved battery life (Wall Street Journal)
  10. The Nintendo Switch Pro may support USB Power Delivery for fast-charging (Nintendo job listing; viaSuperMetalDave64)
  11. The Switch Pro may support parallel and asynchronous video processing (Nintendo job listing)
  12. The Switch Pro may support spatial audio (Nintendo job listing; via SuperMetalDave64)
  13. The Switch Pro may have a new user interface (Nintendo job listing; via SuperMetalDave64)
  14. The Switch Pro will be marketed this time as a “portable first” vs. a “home console first” (Gamer Splash source)
  15. Nintendo’s internal teams pushed for more powerful hardware to utilize for upcoming games (Gamer Splash source)

Point 1: The WSJ report says Nintendo could launch the revised Switch as soon as Summer 2019, which would be roughly 2.5 years into the console’s lifecycle. With console lifespans averaging 5 to 6 years, that makes it perfect time for a mid-cycle refresh. Sony and Microsoft have both executed this strategy successfully without compromising compatibility of existing game libraries, so it’s a sensible move for Nintendo.

We also have heard from our source, as far back as 2016, back when the Switch was called the NX, that there would be more than two SKUs for the Switch, so this information has only become more credible with time.

Point 2: While the Switch has received several AAA third-party games like Fortnite, Doom, and Dark Souls, it still lacks the same amount of third-party support as “full consoles,” such as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

It’s been known ever since the Switch launched that the system has not had the power to keep up with many modern games. Take, for example, third-party titles like Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, or Resident Evil 2 coming to multiple competing platforms, but not to Switch.

Having a system at least as powerful as the base 2013 Xbox One would net the system much more third-party AAA support, which would therefore increase system sales for Nintendo and keep it afloat even when first-party hits are few and far between (as we saw in Nintendo’s 2018).

Point 3: According to the Wall Street Journal, the upcoming Switch revision will include a “brighter” screen. Personally, we think the Switch screen is bright enough indoors, but outdoors, it could use more brightness. The screen resolution could be bumped to 1080p in handheld mode too, if power allows.

Point 4: According to The Wall Street Journal, the Switch Pro will offer new features for “avid gamers” that are not available on the current Switch. We don’t know exactly what features will be added, but we speculate that Nintendo may enhance the controllers with analog triggers, as well as a headphone jack with better voice chat support – something gamers have wanted for a long time. Analog triggers in particular would be a great addition to the Switch, allowing full support for GameCube games directly on Switch controllers, as well as modern shooters and racing games.

Point 5: The Switch can definitely use smaller screen bezels, so having those would make the design look nicer. But beyond that, what else can we expect from the design? The Wall Street Journal has stated that the upcming model of Switch will be “thinner,” so take that as you may. They also state that a new form factor is possible and it will not “be a simple upgrade like from PS4 and PS4 Pro.” Take that as you may, but to us, we can speculate that there could be a new design tied to new features of the upgraded Switch model.

Point 6: The Switch Pro may be getting improved WiFi and Bluetooth support, thanks to a recent job listing by Nintendo, calling for an engineer to work on new Bluetooth and WiFi protocols for upcoming hardware. WiFi 6 support is possible, which could improve the Switch’s WiFi connection speed and reliability, while also using less power. Improved Bluetooth support could add Bluetooth audio and controller support to Switch while also improving Joy-Con connectivity issues.

Point 7: Here’s a big one. We all know that the Nintendo Switch uses a near-stock Nvidia Tegra X1 SoC (the same one used in the Nvidia Shield TV). But rumor has it, the Switch Pro may be getting a new custom System on Chip (SoC). Nintendo’s job listings have suggested new SoC development for upcoming hardware, which indicates a new SoC is coming. Additionally, according to Spawn Wave, Nvidia and partners are tired of making Tegra X1 chips and are running out of the current allotment, so partners may be pushing Nintendo to come out with their custom Nvidia silicon sooner than later. This new Switch Pro and even the Switch Mini will likely use this new SoC, with the Switch Mini possibly receiving a downgraded version of it.

Point 8: Additionally, the current Nintendo Switch may be replaced with the Switch Pro at the current price point, as production on the current Tegra X1 chip ceases and Nintendo moves onto the new chips. The current Nintendo Switch hardware has been hacked endlessly due to the hardware-level flaw in the Tegra SoC that allows people to bypass the boot security and hack the system — so finally moving all Switch hardware onto a new SoC may solve Nintendo’s hacking problem with Switch.

Point 9: According to the Wall Street Journal, the Switch will see battery life improvements. Improvements to the WiFi chip and having a custom system on chip (SoC) can both increase battery life by operating with more efficiency, even while increasing the system’s performance. Moving to a smaller CPU die size in the new SoC will increase power efficiency, as well.

Point 10: According to a new job listing on Nintendo’s Japanese site, the Nintendo Switch Pro may support USB Power Delivery for fast-charging, similar to today’s modern USB-C Android devices. A new adapter is being developed with new technologies, and with fast-charging a possibility, charging your Switch up before leaving your home may be a much quicker and convenient process.

Point 11: According to a new job listing from Nintendo, the Swich may support parallel and asynchronous processing. This can enable GPU performance gains of 20% while not using much more power, and also increase performance of Switch ports. SuperMetalDave64 explains the concept in detail in his video.

Point 12: Improvements may also be in order for the Switch’s audio. While the Nintendo Switch currently supports 5.1 LPCM surround sound through AV receivers, a job listing from late 2018 suggests Nintendo is developing spatial audio for upcoming hardware. Spatial audio could support more VR titles for Nintendo in the future, as well as better 3D sound for headphones.

Point 13: Improvements may also be in order for the Switch’s UI. Switch’s UI has been barebones up until now, with features like themes and better friend online support lacking. Nintendo may be looking to change that, with a new job listing suggesting Nintendo may be adding a new design to the User Experience on Switch.

Point 14: In discussing with one of our sources, we have learned that the Switch Pro will be the most powerful console Nintendo has released, but Nintendo will market it as a portable console that can connect to your TV, rather than a home console that can be played on the go (current Switch marketing). The benefit of this approach is differentiating it from the current Switch while also capitalizing on the appeal of the mobile lifestyles of current consumers.

Point 15: Discussing with one of our sources has also revealed that Nintendo’s internal teams (especially Retro Studios) have been pushing for more power to utilize for their upcoming games. This would make sense for these studios to run their games with more cutting-edge visual effects and keep stable frame-rates, as well. For titles as demanding as Metroid Prime 4, this makes a lot of sense.

A New Switch is Coming.

Most of these rumors are based on real evidence and have good reasoning to support these things being plausible in an upcoming Switch revision. However, things always change fast, and while we hope all of these features make it into a Switch Pro, we will not know exactly what the Switch Pro will end up being until it is finally shown by Nintendo. One thing is for certain, though: a new, upgraded Switch and Switch “Mini” are both confirmed by multiple sources from around the world to be coming, and regardless of what comes out of it, we can’t be more excited.

Follow Gamer Splash on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for more exclusive content coming your way.

-Noah Sanchez, Gamer Splash

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Nintendo, You’re Doing Cloud Saves Wrong

Ever since the Nintendo Switch came out in March 2017, despite having many modern and lauded features, many have been quick to point out some of its flaws. From launch until today, there has been no cloud save feature for games on the system.

Whereas Xbox and PlayStation have had cloud saves since last generation, 2017’s Nintendo Switch had no such feature. When Nintendo finally announced that the paid Nintendo Switch Online subscription service would offer cloud saves, many gamers rejoiced. No more, many thought, would a gamer who lost his Nintendo Switch have to restart his 300-hour Breath of the Wild game save, from scratch. He would no longer have to grind his way back up to the top in Splatoon 2.

But today’s news that certain games would not support cloud saves came as a surprise. Whereas a rival system like the Xbox One saves every single game to the cloud universally, it appears Nintendo is allowing each developer to “opt-in” to whether they want to use cloud saves or not.

Here is the current list of games that do not support cloud saves:

Splatoon 2

Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee & Pikachu

FIFA 19

NBA 2K19

Dark Souls Remastered

Dead Cells

It’s worth noting that all of the multiplatform games on this list support cloud saves on Xbox and PlayStation. And this list is likely to grow.

Worse yet, Nintendo’s official reasoning behind the change is maddening and confusing, to say the least.

Per Game Informer, here is Nintendo’s response to the issue:

The vast majority of Nintendo Switch games will support Save Data Cloud backup. However, in certain games this feature would make it possible to, for example, regain items that had been traded to other players, or revert to a higher online multiplayer ranking that had been lost. To ensure fair play, Save Data Cloud backup may not be enabled for such games. To ensure that Save Data Cloud backups cannot be used to unfairly affect online multiplayer rankings, the feature will not be enabled in Splatoon 2.

Breaking this down, this response indicates a very important distinction in the way Nintendo is conceptualizing its cloud saving feature. Besides not being available at a system level for each game, Nintendo’s response makes it clear that players’ cloud saves will not be automatically synced to the cloud, like Xbox One’s system enforces. Per Nintendo’s words, this looks more and more like Nintendo will be instead implementing cloud saves with the same thought process as how it implements them on the NES Classic Edition; That is, Nintendo will give gamers different cloud saving “slots,” the same way as it does with offline single player games such as Breath of the Wild. Players can then choose to load up one of, potentially many, “cloud saves” from a cloud save list, the same way players can load up any normal offline save from their offline save list.

There are many reasons having multiple save files are beneficial for offline play in single-player games. Say you got stuck in a tough boss battle with low health and few items, making it near-impossible to get through it. What do you do? Bingo: fire up a previous save and stock up on items before you face that bad boy again. Or say you were near the end of a game and your character suddenly died, the game then forcing you to restart from far back. A save file closer to where you were before is helpful in this situation, as well.

However, there is a good reason online games, such as Splatoon, Halo, and Gran Turismo, don’t give you save slots (at least in the online portions). The reason is because all of the online data is stored in the cloud.

Now, from a certain perspective, Nintendo’s logic in their response is sound. If it is indeed possible to revert saves to alter online play, then it is a good call for Nintendo to not allow cloud saves on Switch.

The issue is that this situation is only possible in the first place, because Nintendo implemented an inferior cloud save model, where it gives players the option to revert players’ local saves to previous cloud saves created at an earlier time. In this case, as unfortunate as it is, Nintendo is making the right decision to thwart cheaters.

But why isn’t this an issue on Xbox One and PlayStation, and how are these platforms able to have cloud saves on each and every game without the same concerns Nintendo has? This is because these systems do not allow for reverting a current offline or online game save to a previous, specifically Online version. The only way Nintendo’s concern makes sense is if it is allowing players to revert their game saves to previous online game saves. So, it’s rather obvious this is the kind of system Nintendo intends to implement here.

This approach to cloud saves makes sense for single-player games such as Super Mario Odyssey or Breath of the Wild. However, it should not be a one-size-fits-all approach, because games that dare to have online components like Splatoon 2 and FIFA 19 become a victim to that decision, Nintendo putting online gaming fairness en masse over individual save data security.

It is also puzzling to me why, if Nintendo does want to stick with its cloud save data reversion feature, Nintendo can’t achieve the technical issue of allowing single-player save data in a game like Splatoon 2 to be reverted without affecting a player’s online rankings. This suggests that a player’s online data is tied to the offline game save data, when it should have been saved in the cloud all along. Now that we know this is the case, it’s another reason Nintendo has done things wrong here and is having to make this decision.

This situation also makes me wonder why Nintendo can’t just make sure that once a console is connected to the internet, it adopts a system like Xbox One’s, where instead of giving the player the option to revert to a previous online save, the system automatically synchronizes the player’s latest game save, whether offline or online, and overwrites the older one.

Nintendo could simply choose to implement this auto-synchronization function for online games and preserve the cloud save function, and if it wants, it can use revertable cloud saves for games such as Breath of the Wild. There’s no reason why the Switch cannot use two different cloud save systems for two very different kind of games, when that framework can allow the benefit of cloud saves to games such as Splatoon 2. Implementing this approach would work, and gamers would benefit.

Not implementing this approach signals to me that Nintendo’s current game save system is out of date, and thus incompatible with this set-up, or Nintendo wants to keep everything simple for gamers and would rather have the same exact cloud save functions across every game. However, the victims of this decision, then, are online multiplayer games.

Nintendo has dug themselves into a pretty large hole here. But they can solve this.

If they simply adopt a universal auto-synchronization system like Xbox One’s, or even do this for only games with online multiplayer, then precious save data for games like Splatoon 2 would be able to be safely backed up to the cloud, and gamers could finally rejoice at the feeling that their save data will be safe, no matter what happens to their Switch.

As it stands now, though, it looks like cloud saves will be a neat feature to have for offline Nintendo Switch games, but a gamer who happens to lose or damage his Nintendo Switch will still have to start from scratch for a game like Splatoon 2.

Nintendo still has time to fix this. If not when the service launches, then any time after. But as of now, fans of online games on Nintendo’s system will still have to be subject to uncertainty regarding their save data. And in 2018, that is not acceptable.

Mega Man 30th Anniversary Panel at Comic Con 2018 – Exclusive

The producers of the Mega Man series hosted a panel on all things Mega Man at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend. Get an exclusive look at concept art, new gameplay, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 & 2, as well as Mega Man 11.

 

For more on Mega Man, Comic-Con, and everything gaming, be sure to follow Gamer Splash.

-Noah Sanchez, Gamer Splash

Resident Evil 2 Panel Recording – Comic Con 2018 Exclusive

Gamer Splash was on hand to record a large portion of the Resident Evil 2 panel at this past weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con. Check out a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Resident Evil 2 remake, including never-before-seen concept art.

Check out the full clip below:

Follow Gamer Splash for more exclusives from Comic-Con and future gaming events.

-Noah Sanchez, Gamer Splash

Spyro Reignited Trilogy – Exclusive New Details, Footage, and Concept Art

This past weekend at Comic-Con 2018, the developers of the original Spyro game, Insomniac Games, Toys For Bob, the developers of the Reignited Trilogy, Tom Kenny, the voice of Spyro, and Stewart Copeland, Spyro’s original composer, held a panel to discuss the development of the original Spyro and how it was redesigned for modern audiences.

Several interesting details, photos, and video clips were shared showing a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the original games and the changes made for the Reignited Trilogy.

Check out the details below:

Here is a look behind the scenes at how the levels and art were designed for the original game and re-designed for the Reignited Trilogy:

Check out some of the concept art behind the original game and Spyro’s design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A short clip of Spyro’s animation:

Tom Kenny re-enacting some lines from the game:

A cutscene from the original Spyro game showing Tom Kenny’s performance as Spyro:

An exclusive look at a new cutscene from the game:

Last is a full discussion of the original music behind Spyro and how it was brought to life for the Reignited Trilogy, with original composer Stewart Copeland and music remixer Stephan Vankov:

Some photos of Stewart and Stephan meeting in Stewart’s studio:

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Members of the audience were also treated to a special poster:

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For a recap of more highlights and details from the panel, including changes in gameplay and menu design, check out VTNVIVI’s recap video:

Follow Gamer Splash for more exclusives from Comic-Con and future gaming events.

-Noah Sanchez, Gamer Splash

thatgamecompany Panel at WonderCon 2018

I was excited to be able to attend a panel featuring one of the great developers that continues to inspires me and countless others with their beautiful games. This company brought games like Journey to life, which touched many people across the world. I knew this panel would be special, so I decided to record it.

You know them from Flow, Flower, and Journey. You saw their upcoming game, Sky, at Apple’s iPhone press conference 2017.

Now go behind the curtain and learn the inside stories on how thatgamecompany came to be and crafted some of your favorite indie games of the generation!

I also got to chat with the developers after, and learned that Sky may come to more platforms after iOS. They were also willing to give me career advice and share some of their own story, which was very helpful for me.

Watch their presentation below!

All in all, it was a great experience, and just a slice of my WonderCon experience. Stay tuned to the blog for more content coming soon!

EMX Brings Music and Gaming Together Under One Roof

Hey everyone!

This past Saturday, I got the opportunity to go to a very cool event called Food Fight. The event was organized by a group called eSports Music X (EMX), Dim Mak, and Foodbeast.  The event was hosted at the eSports Arena in Santa Ana, California. The event ran from 6pm all the way until 12am and it was free!

This event is interesting, because it is a fusion event, combining not just one, but three things people love: food and drink, music, and gaming.

I figure, if both mediums offer entertainment, especially with music being in games, and even gaming music being popular, there must be a big market crossover for people to come to an event like this. And I was right.

First off, the eSports Arena is a pretty chill venue. The venue regularly offers local competitions for gaming, and even held a large 250-person Super Smash Bros. tournament, drawing public and drawing some of the biggest competitive names to the scene.

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There was a pretty cool food truck outside offering tricked out burgers and tacos, but only one.

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Stepping into the event, we were greeted by an employee. You walk in, and the first thing you notice is a dark and clubby vibe. Right as you walk in, you feel the energy, with electronic music pounding, and people all around.

The first thing in front of you when you walk in is a bar. For some, catching a drink is the first thing they’d want to do to start enjoying the rest of what is on offer.

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The event was also being livestreamed on Twitch, so you could see fancy recording equipment stationed everywhere. I was told that the venue also had a fancy production studio on-site, where the livestream broadcast production and editing was being handled by the team involved.

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As you delve in further, you find videogame stations, designed for playing with two people at each station. There is an arcade machine setup on an Xbox One up front, where players can use real arcade sticks and buttons to play the hot new fighting game, Dragonball FighterZ. On the right, there was another gaming station for people to play Xbox games with normal controllers. This also suited two people and came pre-loaded with many games, such as Dragonball FighterZ and Halo: The Master Chief Collection. There was a also a Wii U station for people to play two-player matches in Smash Bros.

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Though the event was not full, it was decently populated. It was interesting seeing the younger demographic come in with their friends, watching them enjoy the bar and music, but then also going to have fun with some rounds of DragonBall with their friends.

Going around a curve, you come to the main stage of the venue. There is a DJ playing electronic music, and groups of people crowding in front to party and enjoy the music. The DJ’s were provided by Dim Mak, which is Steve Aoki’s record label. Pretty good music back there.

There was also an upstairs area, which you could view the party from above from. This area also hosted several small standing tables where people could play cards or board games at.

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There was also a lounge area with a large couch and a large screen TV, and Wii U, pre-loaded with a copy of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, for a group to play.

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Having arrived at around 9pm and attempting to go back up the stairs for more photos, I found the security had closed off the second floor. Must have not gotten too much traffic up there.

Overall, the event was fun, and it goes to show how just like with fusion food, fusion parties with gaming and music can be just as exciting. And just like music can be at events, gaming can be social as well. I believe combining two of entertainment’s most accessible and energetic mediums at an event like this is something truly unique. For me, as both an avid gamer and musician, it brings two of my biggest entertainment and creative passions into one event.

Some things that I would choose to improve about the event, are as follows:

First off, I believe the marketing for the event could be better. Even though I keep up with the latest news in gaming and music, I would not have known about this event if not for my friend telling me. More advertising and local marketing can definitely be done for future events.

Also, another thing to improve is to offer more gaming stations, more food options, and more activities to do around the area. I’d also recommend having a photo booth at the event for partygoers and their friends to come. Personally, I came around 9pm and was ready to leave at 11. I suppose staying for the DJ’s music is fine if you’re at a club, but for one-off events like this, most people aren’t enticed enough to stay the full six hours. After a while, people will get tired of playing games with pounding electronic music in the background, or they’ll likely be tired of listening to the DJ for six hours. However, for a short burst of a couple hours, this event is definitely something cool.

I’m looking forward to more events from EMX, and seeing their events continue to grow and get better. It’s definitely something unique, and for being in its first few rounds, it’s off to a great start. What they’re doing is cool, and I fully recommend everyone who’s interested in gaming or electronic music to check out one of their events.

For updates, check out EMX’s social media:

https://www.facebook.com/emxmusic/?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser

https://twitter.com/EMX_Music?s=09

Till next time,

Noah Sanchez