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Games: Nintendo upgrades the Switch - at last

Neil McGreevy

SAY it ain't Pro, Nintendo. The long-rumoured upgrade to the world's favourite handheld has finally been revealed – but it isn't the all-singing Switch Pro dreamt up by the internet's most fanciful corners.

With a spectacularly boring name, the 'Nintendo Switch OLED model' will launch on October 8 alongside Metroid Dread – the most anticipated game in the console's line-up. Despite its larger OLED screen, 64GB of storage, an adjustable stand and improved speakers, the new kid is essentially the same Switch we've been enjoying since 2017 - though this hasn't stopped Nintendo slapping a premium price tag on its facelifted four-year-old.

Those of us who can't get enough of those organic light-emitting diodes can expect to pay an eye-watering £309.99 for the privilege. Simply put, with OLED, each pixel is illuminated individually rather than the old LCD's backlight, with its light spill and dark areas. Whites are whiter, blacks are blacker and it's easier on the juice for an improved battery life.

More than 85 million Switch consoles have been sold since launch, and when Animal Crossing became an emblem of gaming in the Covid era, Nintendo eked $4.4 billion out of the pandemic – coffers sure to swell further with the OLED model. Available in both white and neon red/blue colours, the new Switch – like the original – can be played on the go or docked to a TV.

While the screen boasts the same resolution, it's now an impressive seven-incher - up from the current model's 6.2. There's no 4K bump when playing on a TV, as had been rumoured, though it should at least sound sweeter, thanks to the promise of enhanced audio, while an adjustable stand means tabletop play won't require a neck like a bendy straw.

Nintendo has a grand tradition of milking their hardware until it resembles a spent airbag. The 21st century has given us the Nintendo DS, DSi, DS Lite, DS XL, 2DS, 2DS XL, 3DS, 3DS XL, New 2DS and New 3DS, but the newest addition to the Switch family has been a long time coming.

Unfortunately, the OLED model is a very whelming prospect - like slapping some lipstick on Granny, it's a bare minimum burnishing for a console in its twilight.

Worse still, it comes with the same dodgy Joy-Con controllers that have been scuppering gamers since the machine first drew breath.

Essentially the same console that came out four-and-a-half years ago - only costing more now than it did then - the OLED model is £30 more expensive than the original Switch, and over £100 more than the handheld-only Switch Lite. Hell, the Xbox Series S is 60 quid cheaper while a PS5 Digital – if you can find one – only hurts £50 more.

While it's unlikely we'll get the fabled Switch Pro at this point, Nintendo fans hoping for a more meaningful upgrade to their favourite toy will have to continue waiting for Godot.

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