Nintendo intends to announce the long-rumored 'Switch Pro' by July and will release the console in September or October this year, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
"People familiar with the matter" said the new console will cost more than the original Switch, which retails for $299, and could even be unveiled ahead of E3 2021 to let publishers and developers show off its capabilities.
It's claimed the refreshed Switch will replace the original model, which turned four this year, and will be sold alongside the $199 Switch Lite.
Recent reports have suggested the upgraded Switch will feature a larger 7-inch, 720p OLED panel manufactured by Samsung and support 4K graphics when docked. It's also been reported the device will boast a larger battery.
"An upgraded Switch can be extremely valuable in extending the lifecycle of the platform," said Bloomberg analyst Matthew Kanterman, commenting on the latest rumors. "Both Sony and Microsoft have had success with mid-cycle upgrades as a means to drive growth from live services and, as this becomes a greater driver for Nintendo, not fragmenting the user base across different platforms would be advantageous."
The new console will supposedly begin shipping in July. Production will then be ramped up before the holidays, although it's unclear how the widespread semiconductor shortages might affect Nintendo's plans -- with company president Shuntaro Furukawa recently suggesting tight supply and demand is causing some uncertainty in that regard.
The Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite have sold a combined 84.59 million units to-date, and are predicted to sell another 25.5 million units over the next 12 months. Curiously, 20 percent of last year's Switch sales went to households that already owned one, indicating there's plenty of appetite for multiple Switch devices among consumers.