Home » The OLED Switch is already a hit, so why is it so disappointing?

The OLED Switch is already a hit, so why is it so disappointing?

The Nintendo Switch OLED is finally out, but you might be struggling to find one. Pre-orders for the OLED Switch sold out a few weeks after its announcement in July, and now people are scrambling to find where to buy the OLED Switch.

Our review of the Nintendo Switch OLED is largely positive and a casual look at social media shows that the fans are also very excited. It looks like the Nintendo Switch OLED is a big hit, right off the bat.

Of course, there are several ways to define success. The OLED Switch could sell like hot cakes, but leave some customers disappointed. According to some game analysts, that’s actually a separate possibility.

Someday we’ll be able to look back at the OLED Switch sales numbers, critical reception and buyer response, and get a pretty good idea of ​​the overall system performance. So far, we’ve analyzed some data and asked experts to help us assess how the OLED Switch might do once it’s out in the wild.

Nintendo Switch OLED: run the numbers

Nintendo Switch

(Image credit: TechToSee’s Guide)

First, some general information about the Nintendo Switch: It launched on March 3, 2017, and has sold 89 million units worldwide since then. This makes it Nintendo’s best-selling console and its second most popular home console, just 10 million units away from the Wii. Nintendo has sold, on average, more than 56,000 Switchs every day since its launch.

The feature enhancements of the new OLED Switch over the original Switch hardware are minimal and not a compelling reason for existing users to upgrade in bulk.

Matthew Bailey, Omdia

The gaming public’s appetite for Switch consoles has yet to wane either. As recently as last Christmas, they were nearly impossible to find for weeks at a time.

The Switch OLED is the second major variant of the Switch, after the portable-only Switch Lite in 2019. (The base Switch model also got a slight battery refresh in 2019, but that’s not enough to consider it a separate version. Rather than a complete overhaul of the system, the OLED Switch is almost identical to the base Switch, except for a better screen, better kickstand, better speakers, and Ethernet port integrated in the dock. If you already own a Switch, you don’t need to run around and upgrade, but if you don’t, the OLED is the model to get.

“The biggest advantage of Nintendo Switch over other consoles is that it’s portable,” Newzoo’s analyst team told TechToSee’s Guide. Newzoo is an Amsterdam-based game analytics company providing data and consulting services to game developers and associated businesses. “The OLED Switch leverages this advantage by adding features that support high-fidelity gaming on the go. “

For the OLED Switch to be successful, it has to do (at least) one of three things: sell a lot of units, please critics, and delight fans. Professional reviews for the OLED Switch are already out there, and they are mostly positive. But tech reviews are also only a tiny fraction of potential OLED Switch owners. The real challenge is yet to come.

To that end, I asked Newzoo what kind of customers might want the OLED Switch. After all, Nintendo wouldn’t design the console without an audience in mind.

Who is the OLED Switch for?

“Adding a LAN port to the dock is interesting because it suggests that the OLED Switch is targeting intermediate and hardcore gamers to some extent,” analysts said. “It will be a welcome addition for fans of online multiplayer titles.”

At the same time, the Switch OLED is a more expensive version of a console that has already sold nearly 90 million units. Chances are, most people who want a Switch already have one and don’t need a second or third console.

“While some Switch owners will upgrade their consoles to the more premium version, it is unlikely to exceed the lifetime sales of the original model,” the Newzoo team told us.

Matthew Bailey, senior analyst at London-based tech analysis firm Omdia, had similar thoughts:

“We don’t expect the Nintendo Switch OLED model to have a significant impact on the market, nor on Nintendo’s overall trajectory,” he told TechToSee’s Guide. “New [model’s] The feature improvements over the original Switch hardware are minimal and not a compelling reason for existing users to upgrade in bulk.

“While Omdia expects some dedicated Nintendo fans to buy the new model at launch, sales will primarily cannibalize new sales of existing models, rather than generating mass levels of upgrade activity among. existing Switch owners. “

Limitations of the OLED switch

Nintendo switch you are

(Image credit: Avenir)

Generally speaking, the analysts we spoke to didn’t think the OLED Switch was going to turn the gaming world upside down, especially four years after the console’s lifespan began. There are three main reasons for this: Nintendo’s struggles in the Chinese market, and the general feeling that gamers were hoping for a more substantial upgrade.

As the OLED model doesn’t have major hardware upgrades (beyond the display), some fans are disappointed


While Switch sales in China may not have a direct bearing on the success of the OLED Switch, it’s still an example of how a premium console can be hard to sell in a world that wants less and less expensive gaming experiences.

“The importance of the Chinese market is increasing for Nintendo,” analysts said. “Previously, the hardware was only available in the gray market by importing from Hong Kong or Japan, but became available through retail channels after Tencent obtained the exclusive rights to launch the hardware in the Chinese market. .

“The Switch would have sold more than a million units (excluding gray market) in China in January 2021, leaving room for future growth. However, the limited number of software versions (due to regulation) and the relatively high initial price of the hardware, even more of a hindrance for the more expensive OLED model, will slow growth.

The OLED Switch has another potential hurdle, and it’s the same that fans and critics have pointed out since Nintendo first announced the device. At its core, the OLED Switch is still a four-year-old console that can’t deliver the same level of performance as a PS5, Xbox Series X, or gaming PC.

“As the OLED model doesn’t have major hardware upgrades (beyond the screen), some fans are disappointed with the new model,” the Newzoo team told us. “Gamers looking to have the same quality experience as the Xbox Series X / S or PlayStation 5 on the go will not be happy with the upgraded model. Instead of upgrading internal hardware, Nintendo is relying more on cloud gaming to deliver the latest processing-intensive titles to the Switch. “

We can already see Switch’s adoption of cloud gaming in action. A few days ago, Nintendo announced that the Kingdom Hearts series will arrive on Switch, but only in the form of cloud-gaming. It’s hard to reconcile the portable nature of the Switch with the powerful broadband connections that cloud gaming needs, even if you have a gorgeous OLED display and a better kickstand.

Change OLED perspective

Regardless of what happens with the Switch OLED, analysts expect the Switch family in general to continue to sell well, although perhaps not as well as in the past.

“We expect Nintendo to sell just under 24 million Switch units globally in 2021, which is a drop from 2020,” Bailey said. Lockdowns linked to the pandemic have created unusually high demand for the hybrid console, he argued, which declined in 2021.

“Even so,” he continued, “Switch sales volumes in 2021 will remain over 25% higher than pre-COVID levels, and Switch OLED will represent a decent amount of Nintendo’s hardware sales.”

As to whether fans will embrace the OLED Switch, we’ll have to wait at least a few weeks and see. Nintendo has been admirably outspoken about what the OLED Switch is and isn’t. But while fans are really waiting for a significant Switch upgrade, the OLED Switch is not what they were expecting. A hypothetical “Switch Pro” might be more to their liking – if it ever comes out.


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