The Switch OLED is better than a Switch Pro (for Nintendo)

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The Nintendo Switch OLED Edition is a solid upgrade to one of the most popular and successful consoles ever. The obvious benefits are the larger, sharper screen in handheld mode. But the device also feels more premium thanks to minor improvements to the manufacturing process. I’m glad I ordered one in advance. This is how I will play Nintendo Switch games in the future.

But just as much as I like Switch OLED, Nintendo probably likes it even more. While fans asked for a switch with upgraded internal hardware, Nintendo went with something much easier and cheaper to produce, which it could also sell for $ 350 instead of the original Switch’s $ 300. And that price is the key.

Basically, this is the same switch that Nintendo has been selling us since 2017. It has the same Nvidia Tegra X1 processor (though it moved to a new, more efficient process in 2019). It also uses the same, often problematic Joy-con gamepads. Nintendo made some knick-knacks and tucks for the form factor, but what’s really new here is the larger OLED screen. Not coincidentally, the cost of OLED screens has plummeted in the last many years.

And while we should not dismiss the screen – it’s really better – the OLED model is a better illustration of Nintendo’s business savvy than its skill as a hardware company.

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Switch has been selling all other console platforms in the United States for the past two years. With OLED, Nintendo is stoking and exploiting that demand. A new hardware model makes hardcore fans show up to buy the system for the second (or more) time. It should keep the switch’s sales high during the holidays.

But more importantly – Nintendo pulled up a price increase.

Thanks for letting us pay you more money, Nintendo

Sony and Microsoft are both selling every single PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X that they can produce. It creates a market for scalpers and arbitrage sellers to make money selling these systems at a higher price. And while people are willing to pay more for consoles, the extra money does not go to Sony and Microsoft.

However, Nintendo is now getting the extra money. The company acknowledged that with inflation and high demand for gaming products, it would probably get away with raising the price of the Switch. All it takes to do that is a basic system update. And that’s exactly what it delivered in Switch OLED. By reusing most of the same, low-priced components in the switch and adding a buzzwordy feature like an OLED screen (also a low-priced component), Nintendo is likely to be able to dampen its profit margin.

Nintendo has not told investors that it expects a higher profit margin due to OLED. But it is something that is likely to save for a future earnings report.

And as Nintendo withdraws this price-raising maneuver, the conversation between gamers on social media does not hang on “greedy” Nintendo. People seem impressed with the OLED and Metroid Dread that were launched next door.

Sony and Microsoft, meanwhile, are probably kicking themselves for pricing their hardware so low.

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