No sooner was Nintendo’s Switch out the door in 2017 than we began to hear rumours of a more powerful ‘Pro’ revision. Setting sales records month after month so put paid to those rumours for a while, but it now appears as if Nintendo is readying a reveal for the Switch Pro this year, and it could reportedly be using Nvidia’s AI-powered DLSS technology to boost resolutions and frame rates.
That’s according to the latest scoop from Bloomberg, who claim the Nintendo Switch Pro is barrelling towards a 2021 release and will feature an updated Nvidia graphics processing chipset with RTX features.
Of the three main pillars of the console world, Nintendo’s Switch is the only one which makes use of Nvidia hardware (both the PS5 and Xbox Series use custom AMD RDNA2 chips), putting Nintendo in the enviable position of utilising Deep Learning Super Sampling in its diminutive console.
As those of you familiar with DLSS will be aware, DLSS would allow the Nintendo Switch Pro to render at lower resolutions before using AI-powered sampling to upscale the image up to a maximum of 4K resolution. 720p frame rates at 4K resolution would make the Switch Pro quite a graphics powerhouse.
DLSS support will need to be added manually to Switch games, making this a feature which would only be beneficial to game releases going forward, unless developers choose to revisit past titles and give them an update. Being a hardware feature, DLSS will also only be compatible with the upcoming Switch Pro, not the current Nintendo Switch.
In order to gain the full benefits of DLSS it looks as if you’ll need to dock the Switch Pro up to a native 4K TV or monitor, with the handheld screen allegedly weighing in at just 720p resolution, the exact same as the current Switch.
After the abysmal failure of the Wii U, Nintendo has hit a home run with the Switch and climbed to more than 80 million consoles sold just 4 years after launch. Rather than cut this generation short, Nintendo looks to be capitalising on the Switch’s success with the Switch Pro, looking to extend the lifespan of the console significantly through DLSS support.
On the PC front, DLSS appears to be gaining even more widespread traction lately with the introduction of a DLSS plugin for Unreal Engine 4, allowing developers to bolt in the AI upscaling tech and bolster performance. Some people aren’t overly happy about the situation, however, with many of you fine folks suggesting developers could be using DLSS as a crutch to mask poor optimisation. Whatever your thoughts there, a little handheld like the Switch could certainly stand to benefit from across-the-board performance boosts.
Would a 4K Switch tempt you to pick up Nintendo's console? Could DLSS be a killer app for Nintendo up against the raw firepower of the PS5 and Xbox Series X? Let us know your thoughts!