Nintendo Switch Pro rumors have been reignited as an Nvidia employee seems to have confirmed the existence of the chip allegedly powering the device.
No official announcement of the Nintendo Switch Pro has been made as of yet. But an Nvidia leak posted to the r/GamingLeaksandRumours (opens in new tab) subreddit seems to all but confirm the Tegra239 SoC (system on a chip) is real, by way of an email from an Nvidia employee.
The Tegra239 has been rumored to exist since last year. Twitter tech leaker kopite7kimi originally brought the chip to light (opens in new tab) in June 2021, when they suggested the next-generation Nintendo Switch would be powered by a “customized” Tegra234.
This also lines up with information found in the Nvidia leak from March this year, which made reference to ‘NVN2’ (likely the successor to the Switch’s NVN graphics API) as well as specific mention of the T239 chip.
A big boost?
There’s no doubt that the Nintendo Switch’s Tegra X1 chip is an ageing piece of hardware, and certainly isn’t the best fit for large-scale games like Xenoblade Chronicles 3 or the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
Commenters in the Reddit thread are largely in agreement that the Tegra239 would be similarly powerful to the PS4. That probably isn’t the generational leap you’d be hoping for, but I imagine it’s more palatable for third-party developers and publishers, who might then find it easier to port their games to the Switch Pro without relying on cloud-based versions.
For my money, it points to the Switch Pro being a mid-gen upgrade rather than a new console outright. Not unlike the PS4 Pro or Xbox One X. I think this would be the right move for Nintendo, and lines up with comments made by president Shuntaro Furukawa earlier this year that the Switch is in the middle of its lifecycle.
A potential Switch Pro may still struggle to output 4K resolutions, then, but the rumors suggest it’ll have some tricks up its sleeve to make up for that. That NVN2 leak from earlier in the year makes reference to Nvidia’s DLSS upscaling tech, which leverages AI to boost resolutions and framerates without impacting overall performance.
I’m cautiously optimistic about the Nintendo Switch Pro’s existence now. And let’s face it, Nintendo’s going to need more powerful hardware for its big hitters like Zelda and Metroid Prime 4. And hey, we might even see the Switch Pro launch alongside Tears of the Kingdom, as Twilight Princess did with the Wii, and Breath of the Wild did for the Switch.