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Nintendo Switch developers say they already have 4K dev kits

4K Switch model could arrive in 2022, Bloomberg reports

A photo of the Nintendo Switch (OLED Model) with the Switch logo
The Nintendo Switch (OLED Model) slated to launch in October
Photo: Michael McWhertor/Polygon
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

A new Nintendo Switch — a modest upgrade on the original called the Nintendo Switch OLED model — will be released in October, but it’s not the 4K upgrade that many players were expecting. Bloomberg reported Wednesday, however, that developers making Nintendo Switch games were surprised, too: They’d been working on a Nintendo Switch developer’s kit that supports 4K graphics.

Bloomberg reported that developers at at least 11 game companies have been working on games using a 4K Nintendo Switch kit, at both big studios and small. Nintendo told Bloomberg its information is “inaccurate,” but did not expand further.

Reports of an upgraded Nintendo Switch model that supports 4K graphics has been circulating for a while; Bloomberg said in May that the hardware launching this October would output in 4K resolution when docked. Nintendo reportedly changed the design due to “component shortages” stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Bloomberg, and Nintendo changed its design only after handing out the 4K-capable kits to developers working on new games.

Development kits are often distributed to video game developers well ahead of launch. These special consoles feature development tools necessary in creating games.

Developers working on Nintendo Switch games told Bloomberg they expect their 4K Switch games will be out sometime in 2022 — “during or after the second half of next year.” Bloomberg reported that a 4K Nintendo Switch is not expected out until 2022 “at the earliest.”

Update: On Twitter, Nintendo responded to Bloomberg’s report, saying the publication “falsely claims” that the company is providing developers with tools to make 4K Switch games. The company added, “we have no plans for any new model other than Nintendo Switch – OLED Model, which will launch on October 8, 2021.”

Developer Zynga also denied an element of the report, telling Kotaku in a statement, “Zynga does not have a 4K developer kit from Nintendo.” Zynga is currently developing Star Wars: Hunters for Nintendo Switch.

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