Skip to main content

The Nintendo Switch OLED is unimpressive, but it’ll still sell out

Right now, Nintendo is in a wholly unique position. The Nintendo Switch has continued to sell ridiculously well since its 2017 release. Even with lower-performing specs, a limited (but growing) third-party title base, and issues with the hardware itself (looking at you, Joy-Con drift), players are still flocking to the system. Nintendo is winning with an underperforming console.

The only place to go from here is up then. Nintendo can make a new console that performs better, loads games faster, and displays them at a higher resolution. It would be the long-rumored, long-awaited Switch Pro that so many Switch owners have said they would purchase.

Except that’s not what we’re getting. At least not right now.

On Tuesday, July 6, Nintendo announced the Switch OLED, a hardware revision of the console that sadly doesn’t do all that much. The main difference is really in the model’s name, “OLED.” The Switch OLED sports an OLED screen, which is admittedly a sizable upgrade from the base Switch’s LCD monitor. However, at $350, you would have a hard time selling someone a console they already have by saying it has a better screen. The Switch OLED is underwhelming — but that’s because it’s not for me.

The Switch OLED isn’t built for people that read spec sheets. Nintendo didn’t make it for people that wonder if the Nvidia custom Tegra processor present in the OLED is the same as the one in the base Switch. And Nintendo certainly didn’t make it for people that really care about display resolutions, battery life, or any of the other specs that haven’t changed between the OLED and base Switch.


Rather, the Switch OLED, set to be released on October 8, is for families, children, and people that don’t already have a Switch. The console, on the outside, looks better than the original Switch in that it’s bigger. This holiday season, when a father, mother, or grandparent walks into a GameStop or goes online to buy a Switch for a kid, they’ll gravitate towards the one that came out in 2021, not 2017.

It’s also worth noting that the Switch OLED is a pretty great upgrade for portable players. With a larger screen and OLED display, which will assumedly be brighter than the base Switch’s LCD monitor, playing on the go will be better than ever. That is, as long as you don’t mind that the Switch OLED will be just a tad bit heavier.

If you’re going to rerelease a console to move some more product, it makes sense that the changes wouldn’t be sweeping. You just need to slap a new name on the box that stands out, and in this case, Nintendo went with something technical. “OLED” is a fancy anagram, something that, by itself, makes the console seem more impressive.

I’m personally disappointed by the thing altogether, but I’m not alone. The announcement was immediately met with a wave of criticism on social media. VGC editor Andy Robinson has said that, without hardware upgrades, the new Switch model is “incredibly disappointing.” Esports player Leffen has also brought up the OLED’s lack of performance upgrades, saying the console “is a lot worse than expected.”

But the Switch OLED isn’t supposed to impress games journalists or informed consumers that look through spec sheets, and it’s certainly not going to impress any esports players. It’s underwhelming because, if you’re like me, you know what Nintendo can do with the Switch. You’re just waiting for the company to actually do it.

Instead, the Switch OLED is for the average consumer, someone that doesn’t consume games media. It’s par for Nintendo’s course of not catering to “gamers,” and instead targeting, well, just about everyone else.

Editors' Recommendations

Otto Kratky
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Otto Kratky is a freelance writer with many homes. You can find his work at Digital Trends, GameSpot, and Gamepur. If he's…
Nintendo Switch loses an exclusive Square Enix game next month
A duel in the Wild West section of Live A Live.

Square Enix's beautiful HD-2D remake of Live A Live will no longer be a Nintendo Switch exclusive starting next month. The game comes out on PlayStation consoles and PCs on April 27.
Live A Live is a unique grid-based RPG with a fun narrative gimmick. Its story is split up into eight different sections set across eight different sections: Prehistory, The Middle Ages, Imperial China, Twilight of Edo Japan, The Wild West, Present Day, The Near Future, and The Distant Future. Each comes with its own protagonist and gameplay gimmicks before they all crescendo together in a final chapter.

On top of that, this remake of a 1994 SNES game also gives the experience an extreme visual facelift with the HD-2D visuals that make games like Octopath Traveler 2 shine. Digital Trends found the game charming, with George Yang saying Live A Live "has the hallmarks that make it a good entry in the genre" in his three-and-a-half star review of the title. 
In North America, Nintendo published the Switch version of Live A Live. Now that the game is coming to other platforms, though, Square Enix has taken back over. To promote the upcoming release, Square Enix has released a demo for Live A Live on PS4 and PS5 today, which lets players try some of the Twilight of Edo Japan, The Distant Future, and The Wild West sections of the game.
Live a Live is available now for Nintendo Switch and will be released for PC, PS4, and PS5 on April 27. PlayStation Plus members can currently preorder the game for a 20% discount as well.

Read more
As the 3DS eShop closes, devs reflect on a golden age of Nintendo indies
Best Nintendo 3DS games

The 3DS eShop is no longer allowing Nintendo fans to make new game purchases, marking the end of a long era of DS-branded handhelds. Not only that, but it's also sunsetting a vibrant indie community in the process. After helping smaller developers break through with WiiWare and DSiWare, the 3DS eShop was where indies really started to flourish on Nintendo consoles. Multiple games and developers built success stories on the platform, starting series that are still recognized in the eyes of Nintendo fans and stand as some of the 3DS’ most iconic games.

Within a year of the eShop's launch, WayForward's Mighty Switch Force provided one of the system's best 3D experiences, Renegade Kid's Mutant Mudd showed the potential of a platformer where players can hop between the foreground and background, and Hörberg Productions' Gunman Clive provided a short, sweet, and cheap throwback platformer experience with lots of styles. By 2014, Yacht Club Games' Shovel Knight had cemented itself as one of the best indie games of all time on the 3DS. Titles like that gave the 3DS a reputation as a haven for smaller developers. a platform where they could break out of a niche and connect with a larger audience.

Read more
You can still get a Thunder Shotgun in Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 2. Here’s how
Fortnite characters in a city.

Fortnite has received plenty of exciting new weapons in Chapter 4 Season 2, and in typical fashion, Epic has also vaulted some of last season's weapons to clean up the loot pool. Among the weapons vaulted for Season 2 is the Thunder Shotgun -- but weirdly, it can still be obtained, as it appears Epic possibly overlooked one NPC who drops it.

Anyone who wants to score the Thunder Shotgun in Season 2 can head over to Frenzy Fields and look for the NPC named Sunflower who walks around the farm. Simply eliminate her and pick up the weapon she drops. It's unclear if this is actually something Epic missed, or if the team just simply didn't want to bother changing up Sunflower's loot drops. Either way, it's currently the only way to obtain the Thunder Shotgun.

Read more