Short answer: Maybe!
For a longer answer, though, let’s take a look at the latest rumors surrounding a supposed “Pro” version of Nintendo’s popular home console/handheld hybrid: the Switch. A recent report from Bloomberg suggests that several game developers have access to upgraded Switch development kits that include support for up to 4K resolution.
And while some game studios have responded to the article to dispute claims of having access to advanced developer kits, rumors persist about a 4K-capable Switch variant, with timelines pointing to a release late in 2022 at the earliest.
As for what all of this has to do with NVIDIA’s line of powerful streaming devices, we need to look at the Switch’s history.
A Link to the Past
Nintendo’s latest console launched back in March of 2017 and came packing NVIDIA’s Tegra X1 system-on-a-chip (SoC). That’s the same chip that powered the 2015- and 2017-era Shield TV devices running on Android TV.
In 2019, Nintendo released two more variants of the Switch: a new, portable-only Lite model and a slightly tweaked version of the original hardware. Both of those updates featured NVIDIA’s newer Tegra X1+ SoC, which offered energy-saving improvements thanks to a more efficient manufacturing process.
Sure enough, that same year, NVIDIA opted to spruce up its own hardware and release upgraded Shield TV models including a more portable, tube-shaped option and a new Pro device using the same box-like form factor of earlier versions.
And while Nintendo is releasing a new Switch variant this year, it’s expected to feature the same Tegra hardware of earlier models — the main upgrade here is an OLED-based display.
A Link Between Worlds
Given the similar upgrade patterns of Nintendo’s game console and NVIDIA’s line of streaming devices, it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine an upgraded Shield TV device popping up at some point if and when the so-called “Switch Pro” breaks cover.
As for what a new Shield TV could offer — that remains to be seen. When it comes to streaming services, feature support, and app performance, there’s not much the current Shield TV can’t do. But NVIDIA could certainly offer an upgraded model with even better performance and potentially improved energy efficiency.
Beyond that, more refined upscaling of non-4K content seems a safe bet, especially considering the current Shield TV’s use of AI upscaling and NVIDIA’s ongoing development of the tech for gaming purposes.
In any case, we’ll continue to keep an eye on Nintendo’s moves, as well as NVIDIA’s own plans for its streaming devices. If upgrades to both product lines are in the works, it’ll be interesting to see which one makes an official debut first.