Nintendo Switch OLED Reveal is Dividing Fans

The Nintendo Switch OLED is dividing Nintendo fans and inspiring a surprising number of PlayStation Vita memes.

Nintendo Switch OLED
Photo: Nintendo

While you’d think that the long-awaited debut of the new Nintendo Switch would be cause for nearly universal celebration among Nintendo fans, the Nintendo Switch OLED is already proving to be incredibly divisive.

In case you missed its surprise reveal earlier today, the Nintendo Switch OLED is an upgraded version of the “base” Nintendo Switch that’s currently scheduled to be released on October 8 for $349.99. As you probably gathered from the name, the console’s headline feature is its new OLED screen which is not only 0.8 inches larger than the base Switch screen but will offer improved picture contrast. The Switch OLED also features expanded internal storage, a new LAN port built into its dock, better speakers, and a wider (and much more versatile) stand.

While the Nintendo Switch OLED includes some of the improvements that many Nintendo fans have been asking for (most notably that improved screen), it’s also missing several of the features that fans expected to see in the next Nintendo Switch upgrade. As we mentioned elsewhere, said “missing” features include improved Joy-Con controllers, 4K output, better battery life, new internal components for improved performance, and enhanced resolution options for the built-in screen (which the new OLED screen doesn’t technically feature despite its other improvements).

Granted, expectations for some of those features were certainly raised by a series of rumors regarding a device commonly known as the Nintendo Switch Pro (which may or may not actually exist), but in the minds of some Nintendo fans, the Switch OLED is missing many of the upgrades they have been asking for since the Switch launched. Furthermore, the Switch OLED’s price (which is only $50 less than the price of the Digital Edition of the PS5 and $50 more than the price of the Xbox Series S) would seemingly suggest that it offers something closer to “next-gen” performance.

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Given the expectations for the new Nintendo Switch that so many people were working with, it’s hardly a surprise that some of the initial reactions to the Nintendo Switch OLED were…less than enthusiastic.

As you probably gathered, the main complaint about the Nintendo Switch OLED at the moment is that it just doesn’t do enough to justify the price tag. While there seems to be some agreement that the new OLED screen is nice (even if it doesn’t offer significantly enhanced resolution), there are just some fans who aren’t willing to spend quite that much on a new screen, especially since Nintendo may still release a new Nintendo Switch down the road with an even better screen and other performance upgrades. Others are simply pointing out that the OLED’s improvements largely benefit handheld Switch players, which kind of leaves everyone else in the cold.

Mind you, not everyone is disappointed with the Nintendo Switch OLED. In fact, some fans say that the Nintendo Switch OLED offers pretty much exactly what they’re looking for at the moment.

Interestingly, there are also some fans who support the Nintendo Switch OLED largely because they’re not tempted to buy it. That may sound like a joke argument, but that’s not always the case. Between those who know manufacturing and shipping new hardware is incredibly difficult at the moment, those who enjoy Nintendo’s incremental upgrade strategy (which the company has used for their handheld devices for years), and fans who don’t want to feel forced to buy a more powerful Nintendo console, there’s actually a compelling argument to be made that the OLED is the most practical hardware upgrade option Nintendo can release at this time.

That’s the interesting thing about the Switch OLED discourse. No, you don’t “need” to buy one to continue enjoying the Nintendo Switch, but this is seemingly the optimal version of the console that is, again, potentially being released as a kind of placeholder for a much more advanced Nintendo Switch that may be coming down the road. There certainly seems to be many gamers who are eager to upgrade their Switch, but were hoping for something more substantial than the OLED and are currently unsure whether or not this is as good as Switch upgrades are going to get for the foreseeable future.

Not everyone who is talking about the Nintendo Switch OLED at the moment is arguing about the new console, though. Actually, a surprising amount of people were quick to point out that the PlayStation Vita kind of beat the Nintendo Switch OLED to the punch in terms of offering a handheld-focused gaming device with a viable OLED screen.

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While it remains to be seen whether or not Nintendo is pushing their luck with the design of the Nintendo Switch OLED and its ability to entice existing Switch owners as well as hold-outs, it’s very much worth noting that the OLED may prove to be little more than a blip on the radar. After all, the Nintendo Switch is already an incredibly successful console that may very well ultimately outsell both the Xbox Series X/S and PS5.