As you may or may not have noticed, here at Nintendo Life we've tried to be pretty darn picky in the past couple of weeks about what we report regarding the 'next' Switch, or 'Switch Pro' as people insist on calling it. 'Pro' tip, that PlayStation-style branding is very unlikely from modern-day Nintendo, but this scribe is very happy to be proven wrong.
We covered a Bloomberg report - a reputable and traditionally trusted outlet behind a paywall, no less - that repeated a lot of previous rumours but added the wrinkle that it was expected to be revealed prior to E3; time is running out for that. We've ignored numerous loose rumours and unsubstantiated images on social media since then, referring to store listings, easily faked inventory screens and more besides.
As the days have passed the idea has fallen back a little, and the focus is really on what games Nintendo will bring to its E3 Direct next week. But Warhorse Studios prompted a bit of light-hearted chat with its tweet confirming a Kingdom Come: Deliverance port, below (bigger version of the image is at the top):
This is 99.9999% likely to be a bit of a Photoshop error, with the studio forgetting to account for the system's bezel when layering its artwork over the screen. It's the same old Switch unit in terms of its shell and every other aspect, it's just missing the bezel. In fact, we did an extremely similar bit of manipulation - deliberately in our case - for an article way back in January 2020 asking what features you'd like in Switch Pro. You can see the image we did below and the striking similarity to the Warhorse Studios one, in terms of the simple technique / mistake that can make the screen look bigger.
But it does make us wonder, what if recent rumours have repeated errors from older 'Pro' speculation? There was talk of new hardware as long as two years ago, but what did emerge in the real world was the 'Mariko' Switch - pretty much the same system as far as the consumer is concerned, but with a more efficient iteration of the Tegra GPU. Aside from tiny margins it was clocked to have the same performance as original models, but it has much better battery life; it was an unheralded revision, and it's easy to see how mis-interpreted or mischievous sources led to reports of a 'new' Switch back then, when the eventual reality was less exciting.
Now, considering the path Nintendo took with 3DS, albeit in quicker succession, what if the reports around Switch systems being prepped with larger 7-inch screens are accurate, but the rest of the same-old rumours around boosted specifications are - like in past rounds of speculation - fanciful and incorrect? What if we get Switch XL, which is exactly the same in capabilities but with a bigger screen? You can easily theoretically fit a 7-inch screen on the existing shell, and there'd no doubt be some tweaks to accommodate it in the construction. But if everything else remained pretty much the same, it would mean Nintendo would continue its current manufacturing processes with very minor adjustments. Granted it wouldn't be a massive change in screen size, but the system has always had way too much bezel, we'd happily get rid of it.
Considering the substantial issues around parts in the technology industry, this would allow Nintendo to give people a system with a high quality and bigger screen, and still manage its existing processes and chip supplies. It's certainly a practical option, preserving bigger hardware revisions or new hardware for less volatile times.
It's fun to think over, anyway, though we suspect those pinning hopes on a more powerful Switch would react unfavourably. If Nintendo is plotting new hardware soon it will have finalised plans months ago due to the complex logistics of hardware manufacturing, especially this year. We'll find out eventually!