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Media & Entertainment

Nintendo ups its Switch game with big OLED screen

New model comes after a banner year when pandemic fueled play-at-home demand

The new version of the Nintendo Switch features an OLED screen capable of displaying vivid colors.

OSAKA -- Nintendo announced Tuesday an improved Switch game system with a larger, better screen and more internal memory than the current versions.

The so-called OLED model of the Switch is due out Oct. 8. It boasts a 7-inch screen, up from the 6.2-inch LCD of the original Switch. But thanks to the new model's smaller bezel, both systems are roughly the same size.

In Japan, the OLED model will carry a suggested retail price of 37,980 yen ($342) -- roughly 20% higher than the original's.

A wired Ethernet port has been added to the TV-mode dock for more stable online play. The OLED model comes with 64 gigabytes of internal memory, double the original Switch's 32GB.

The new offering stands to lengthen the Switch family's life cycle. The original Switch hit the market in March 2017, while the smaller Switch Lite launched in September 2019. Both models will remain available.

Cumulative sales of all Switch models reached 84.59 million units as of March 31. They logged record-breaking unit sales of 28.83 million units that fiscal year, thanks to stay-at-home demand during the pandemic.

Nintendo forecasts Switch sales to drop 12% to 25.5 million units in the current fiscal year, but the new model could prompt an upward revision. The Kyoto-based company has told multiple parts suppliers of plans to produce a record 30 million units this fiscal year.

But the global semiconductor shortage remains a concern. Adding a third version of the Switch will likely make stable supplies of chips even more of a challenge to secure.

The shortage means that Nintendo is not in a position to make all the products it wants, and uncertainty surrounding production plans is greater than in past years, President Shuntaro Furukawa said on an earnings call this May.

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