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What Can This $1200 Portable PC Tell Us About The 'Switch Pro'? – Nintendo Life

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We go hands-on with the Aya Neo 2021 Pro
Next year, the Switch will be five years old – a fact which makes the continued demand for the console all the more remarkable. Despite being powered by technology that, even back in 2017, could hardly be described as cutting-edge, the hybrid system has shifted over 90 million units worldwide and shows no signs of slowing down as we move into 2022.
Even so, Nintendo is savvy enough to know that continual hardware refreshes are a good way of maintaining momentum, and it has already iterated on the base Switch model twice (three times if you count the version with improved battery life). This year’s OLED model is perhaps the most significant enhancement, bringing with it a larger, super-bright display, improved audio and superior build quality. However, the one thing that many people were hoping for is absent: more power under the hood. In terms of processing prowess, it’s essentially the same deal as the 2017 original.
Depending on who you believe, we may well still see a ‘Switch Pro’ next year, but for the time being, the OLED Model is the best we’re going to get. However, there are other portable gaming systems on the market that boast more impressive specs than the Switch, one of which is the Aya Neo.
Originally crowdfunded in 2020, the Aya Neo is a Windows-based handheld PC that runs on AMD’s extremely well-reviewed Ryzen 4000 system-on-chip. This year, the system was rebooted in the form of the Aya Neo 2021 Pro, which replaces the AMD Ryzen 5 4500U chipset with the more powerful 4800U variant. The AMD Radeon GPU also gets a spec bump, packing 8 cores and a clock speed of up to 1.7GHz (compared to 6 cores in the original model and a clock speed of 1.5GHz). Now, PC hardware isn’t strictly our area of expertise, so we called upon Digital Foundry’s Richard Leadbetter to get the lowdown on this device. “It’s basically an established laptop processor with AMD Vega integrated graphics, running at a very low power threshold to give reasonable battery life,” he explains.
The Aya Neo 2021 Pro sports a very Switch-like design, with the various buttons and sticks being in familiar places, and is a close match to Nintendo’s console in terms of its overall dimensions. However, its controllers do not detach from the main unit – a key selling point for Switch – but you can play it on a TV or monitor using a dock which is sold separately. Wired connectivity and Bluetooth support allows for a wide array of optional accessories, such as controllers, mice and keyboards.
While the Aya Neo 2021 Pro shares a great many similarities with Switch from a design perspective, it’s not a complete match. The controls certainly feel familiar, with all of the usual commands in the same places you’d find them on Nintendo’s console – but there are a few exceptions. The four-button cluster on the left-hand side is a solid D-pad here, and it’s a good one, too, even if it does feel somewhat spongy at times. Below that are four additional buttons, the function of which varies depending on what game you’re playing or where you happen to be in the system’s UI – these are mirrored by another four buttons on the right-hand side of the system. In this cluster, one button is ‘Escape’ and is handy for getting out of certain applications, while another brings up the near-essential on-screen keyboard.
On the bottom edge of the Aya Neo 2021 Pro you’ll find the stereo speakers and a USB-C port, while on the top there’s a massive vent for the fan – as well as two more USB-C ports, a 3.5mm headphone socket, the volume controls and the power button. There are four shoulder triggers here, too, with LT and RT being analogue in nature, while LB and RB are smaller, digital buttons. On the back, there’s another massive vent for the beefy internal fan, which does a decent job of keeping things cool – however, it doesn’t totally negate heat build-up, and during some games, you’ll feel the rear of the Aya Neo 2021 Pro getting quite warm.
The console’s 7-inch, 1280×800-pixel H-IPS screen is decent enough when compared to the LCD panel on the original Switch – however, when set alongside the OLED screen on the newer iteration, it comes off looking second-best. While the overall design of the Aya Neo 2021 Pro calls to mind the Switch, it’s actually much thicker and heavier – an understandable consequence of having to cram all that cutting-edge technology into a portable frame. On the plus side, the ‘Retro Power’ design we’re reviewing here – which is based on the original 1989 Game Boy – looks lovely.
While it would be foolish to suggest that the Aya Neo 2021 Pro and Switch are in direct competition with one another, they’re arguably sharing the same space when it comes to many of the games they run. Valve’s popular digital storefront Steam is packed with AAA content and indie titles, and this can be used to populate the Aya Neo 2021 Pro’s 1TB of internal storage (other digital stores are supported, too).
A cursory glance shows there’s a lot of crossover with the Switch eShop; DOOM Eternal, Witcher 3, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Firewatch, Ace Attorney Trilogy, Hades, Stardew Valley, Subnautica, Hollow Knight, FIFA 22, Apex Legends… the list is almost endless, and we’ve not touched upon the many titles which aren’t on Switch, such as Forza Horizon 5, Cyberpunk 2077, Resident Evil Village, Devil May Cry V, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Halo Infinite and countless others.
Steam is one of the most popular digital storefronts in the world, and a massive boon with a device like the Aya Neo 2021 Pro – it’s also worth mentioning that Game Pass members can download many of the same titles available on Steam as part of their subscription, and Xbox Cloud Gaming is also supported – but the big catch is that you obviously don’t get the games that most people buy a Switch for: those made by Nintendo itself. That means no Zelda: Breath of the Wild, no Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, no Metroid Dread and no Animal Crossing: New Horizons (unless, of course, you feel like being very naughty indeed, which we wouldn’t condone for a second).
Speaking of naughtiness, it goes without saying that the Aya Neo 2021 Pro is an emulation powerhouse. It’s powerful enough to emulate consoles up to and including the PlayStation 2, and, via the versatile RetroArch application, offers a vibrant and deeply customisable platform for experiencing old games.
While there’s a degree of crossover when comparing the Aya Neo 2021 Pro and the Switch, things are very, very different when it comes to the user experience and interface. Switch has a streamlined and easy-to-parse UI which makes everything smooth and hassle-free (even if it lacks folders at the time of writing), but the Aya Neo 2021 Pro is a more unwieldy, complex beast; Windows 10 (which the unit ships with) is tricky to interact with and navigate using just the touch screen, and while there’s a ‘tablet’ mode baked into the OS, it’s still more complicated and fiddly than the Switch’s UI. The company behind the system has at least attempted to make it more friendly by including the ‘Aya Space’ application, which presents a gaming-focused UI that pulls together all of your installed games and allows you to easily tinker with settings such as throttling (or unleashing) the full power of the Ryzen hardware, or altering the speed of the internal fan.
Link the Aya Neo 2021 Pro to an external monitor via USB-C and you have a reasonably powerful desktop computer
Of course, with the increased complexity that a Windows-based handheld offers comes massively expanded opportunity for customisation, and because it’s a PC, you can connect a mouse and keyboard and use it like one. That makes the Aya Neo 2021 Pro an incredibly enticing prospect to people who want a device that covers gaming, media and PC-related functions. Link the Aya Neo 2021 Pro to an external monitor via USB-C and you have a reasonably powerful desktop computer, which means you can use it for all kinds of things – word processing, photo editing, media consumption and (as we’ve already mentioned) emulation.
The Aya Neo 2021 Pro is surprisingly quick to boot, with only a few seconds separating you from a complete switch-off system to the full desktop. The internal fan isn’t as loud as you might expect, although the default ‘wild’ setting is incredibly annoying, as it makes the fan fluctuate to the point where we were genuinely concerned that there might be a fault with it. Toggled to the ‘Saving’ mode in the Aya Space application, it’s less erratic and only really gets noisy when the system is doing some real heavy-lifting in terms of processing.
So, what’s it like to play on a handheld that’s capable of running the critically-maligned Cyberpunk 2077? Performance is actually surprisingly good, although it’s worth noting that when running in-game benchmark tests, many titles suggest the ‘medium’ or ‘low’ graphical settings to keep things ticking along smoothly. This isn’t much of an issue when you’re playing on a 1280×800 pixel screen, but you do miss out on some of the more eye-catching effects, such as shadows, advanced light and (of course) ray-tracing. Even so, we were impressed with how well a title with a reputation like Cyberpunk 2077’s runs on a device the size of a Switch, and even Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite were smooth and playable (again, largely due to the visuals being toned down). None of these titles hit a smooth 60fps, though – 30fps is the best you can reasonably hope for.
While the Switch itself can hardly boast the most impressive staying power, it effortlessly outperforms the Aya Neo 2021 Pro in terms of stamina
The massive catch here is that despite packing three 4100mAh batteries, the Aya Neo 2021 Pro’s stamina is disappointing. While the manufacturer advertises between 5 and 6 hours of play under certain settings, we found that a wildly optimistic figure, especially when playing anything even remotely demanding. The more realistic estimate, also given by the manufacturer, is “up to 140 minutes for demanding AAA gaming”, which matches up with our own real-world experience of using the system; two hours is about the best you can hope for when playing relatively recent games. Granted, you can tone down the power when playing less-demanding games, but it’s clear that while the Switch itself can hardly boast the most impressive staying power, it effortlessly outperforms the Aya Neo 2021 Pro in terms of stamina.
“It’s not really surprising that battery life is poor,” Leadbetter says when presented with this data, but adds that any machine promising this kind of power is going to be hamstrung when it comes to battery life. “I’m not expecting that much more from Valve’s upcoming Steam Deck. It has a 40Whr battery and the main chip gobbles up to 15Whr so once screen and storage are added to that, that’ll be around 20Whr from a 40Whr battery – which equals two hours. That’s why they’re talking about 30fps caps and what-not in the marketing materials to lower power consumption and extend battery life.”
As we’ve already discussed, the Aya Neo isn’t likely to challenge the Switch in terms of pure sales figures, and is clearly aimed at a much more niche sector of the market – but that doesn’t mean it can’t tell us some important things about what a future Switch revision could entail.
For example, it’s clear that, despite being a bit long in the tooth now, the Nvidia Tegra X1 chipset that powers the Switch was the right tech for the job back in 2017. Its mobile-focused nature has enabled Nintendo to create a platform that is lightweight, not too power-hungry and – when treated correctly – can deliver impressive visual results. In fact, one of the things that struck us most of all during our time with the Aya Neo 2021 Pro is that, for the most part, many of the games are visually comparable to their Switch counterparts. Sure, titles like Witcher 3 and DOOM Eternal look better, but there’s perhaps not the gulf one would expect when you consider the relative power of the silicon inside each system – especially when the Aya Neo 2021 Pro costs around $1200 compared to the Switch’s more modest $300 price tag ($200 for the Switch Lite). That fact alone will put it way out of reach for most casual players, let alone hardcore console gamers.
The balancing act struck by Nintendo is all about fine-tuning that ratio between power and stamina – something the creators of the Aya Neo 2021 Pro have arguably ignored in order to provide as much processing grunt as possible. While it offers incredible power on tap and effectively delivers a PC-style experience in the palm of your hand, that comes at a massive cost in terms of battery life; two hours simply isn’t going to be enough for a lot of players.
The biggest draw of a system like the Aya Neo 2021 Pro isn’t necessarily the raw power it provides, but the fact that it offers portable access to Steam, which is packed to bursting point with games. This does, of course, place the system in direct competition with the upcoming Steam Deck, which is also powered by AMD silicon and has the same resolution display. The catch? It’s around half the price of the Aya Neo 2021 Pro, which will most likely mean that it will cannibalise sales when it eventually arrives in early 2022 – and that’s before we even take into account the fact that the portable gaming PC landscape is already quite crowded, what with the GPD Win 3, Win MAX 2021 and ONEXPLAYER all available. “I would expect Steam Deck to be a fair bit better, as it is using a more modern AMD CPU core (albeit with four cores), more efficient RDNA 2 architecture and a remarkably wide memory interface – key to getting the most out of integrated graphics,” says Leadbetter.
Nintendo is very much focused on offering a mass-market product that appeals to the widest possible audience at the most agreeable price
Of course, it’s unlikely that the company behind the Aya Neo 2021 Pro expects its machine to have anything more than a niche following, and a successful crowdfunding campaign shows there’s an audience for this kind of device – even when alternatives like the Switch and Steam Deck exist. Nintendo – despite offering a machine that covers much of the same ground in terms of software – is almost certain to chart its own course with the Switch Pro, or Switch 2 – whichever comes first.
Its relationship with Nvidia has been incredibly profitable for both parties, and it’s unlikely that Nintendo would consider switching allegiances to another chipmaker unless the benefits were overwhelmingly obvious (Qualcomm may well try its hardest to tempt Nintendo and others with its recently-announced Snapdragon G3x developer kit, however). It’s also worth noting that Nintendo is very much focused on offering a mass-market product that appeals to the widest possible audience at the most agreeable price, which rules out any bold move into a technological arms race; the Kyoto firm hasn’t played that particular game since it opted to base the Wii on previous-gen technology.
While it’s tempting to hold up the Aya Neo 2021 Pro – and, indeed, the Steam Deck – as possible blueprints for a future Switch hardware refresh, Nintendo has always done things its own way. “Comparisons to the new Switch are going to be tricky,” says Leadbetter. “They’re very different. I think – as always – people hoping for a cutting-edge, super high-end Nintendo handheld will be disappointed, but if we are getting a generational leap in performance and some form of DLSS AI upscaling as rumours suggest, it should still be very impressive.”
The Aya Neo 2021 Pro unit used in this feature was supplied by the manufacturer.
About Damien McFerran
Damien McFerran
Damien has over a decade of professional writing experience under his belt, as well as a repulsively hairy belly. Rumours that he turned down a role in The Hobbit to work on Nintendo Life are, to the best of our knowledge, completely and utterly unfounded.
Comments (74)
sanderev
What can it tell us about a Switch Pro?
Nothing.
1. The Switch Pro doesn’t exist. Nor will it ever.
2. This device is not meant to compete with the Switch.
In any way.
3. It’s a PC.
4. It’s not a console.
5. It doesn’t "switch".
6. It’s about 4x the price of a Switch.
7. It’s about 6x the price of a Switch Lite.
8. Even then a decent highend gaming PC will still destroy it.
9. Even the Steam Deck will destroy this in sales alone.
10. Oh, and I forgot to mention that a PC is not a console.
GrailUK
Stuff like this is generic. Souless. Maybe even cynical. I mean, if a company’s head hasn’t been turned by the Switch’s success, they are tone deaf. Nintendo don’t make PCs. They have a philosophy for their hardware. I’m sure their next console will have more specs but I’m also sure they will expand on the philosophy of the Switch also. And the philosophy will dictate their games, not the specs. Contrary to what SONY and Micosoft developers tell you, it’s not specs that limit games, it’s imagination and creativity.
Like, the N64 didn’t have many 2D games. But it was designed for 3D worlds. The pad was designed around that. Nintendo and Rare’s games reflected that philosophy. They try to be creative, instead of others trying their damndest to formularise and milk.
So what does this tell us? Nothing. Sorry spec heads.
ReWane
4K Switch not happening any time soon cuz GameFreak is still learning how HD works.
contractcooker
@ReWane I laughed way too hard at this comment.
HIGHscores85
That it needs a d-pad for starters.
SwitchForce
They can imitate the Switch but don’t have the library to backup and that can be a issue when your trying to sell more games. And it’s not just for male but younger generations and older adults and some for disable people. It’s not just about making console it’s but the games that support it.
SwitchForce
@ReWane 4K Switch not happening any time soon cuz GameFreak is still learning how HD works.
What does that have to do with Nintendo making a 4K Switch to begin with anyway-nothing.
SPM
That the Switch should’ve had its right stick closer to the screen so it doesn’t get in the way of your thumb trying to reach B! (even more to the left than this other console)
And d-pad, of course.
Meteoroid
This is a really good article. Sure, this device has nothing to do with the Switch Pro, or the Switch 2, or whatever the next Switch is going to be, but it really does give perspective into the hardware business and what can be accomplished given a specific manufacturing budget for a console. Nintendo would be able to get the same specs for a little cheaper because they would order a LOT more units, but it wouldn’t be night and day by any means. Diminishing returns apply heavily on cutting edge tech. A system costing $600 wouldn’t be half as good as one costing $1200. That said, not many people would pay even $600 for a Nintendo console, so please don’t dream too big.
nhSnork
The "$1200" part tells us everything there is to know about Switch Pro. In case various GPD Wins (and even Switch OLED whose relatively inconsequential upgrades already put a $50 on top of the original price) fell on deaf ears, that is. SteamDeck seems like the exception proving the rule in this regard – and Valve’s comments all but admit that even a rich company like them priced the base model with their teeth and fists clenched. How many people seriously picture Nintendo going through the same pains even for a new gen console, let alone a hypothetical FOURTH iteration of the current one?
But no, Switch Pro is just delayed till 2022 where it will cost the same $400 as OLED (with OLED halving its price in shame while Mariko is slashed to $100 and Lites get bundled with Happy Meals), run RDR2 in 60 fps and make you cocktails.
munstahunta
The switch is a powerful portable console that convert in a underpowered home console , and with the release of the switch oled and switch lite you can see that nintendo is focusing more on the portable nature of the thing than the home console part , so I’ve lost faith that we will ever see a 4k model.
sanderev
@Meteoroid Nintendo is basically still a toy company. Sure they make video games and consoles, but they see them as digital toys.
And that what the Switch is. It’s just powerful enough to run the newest Nintendo games and (with some effort) third party titles. It’s a device that is meant to be enjoyed and accessible.
Nintendo will never make a console that is $1000+, and no not even Sony or Microsoft will go there. Where, if you are buying a PC – which is not a toy in any way – you really quickly arrive at $1000, even without inflated GPU prices.
Comparing a PC to a console, in any way, is just pointless. They are two completely different eco systems with pros and cons.
dimi
In 3-4 years maybe its possible to shrink something as strong as Xbox Series S to a handheld device. This way Switch 2 will be compatible or powerful enought to play all next gen titles. But i seriously doubt it
BloodNinja
This device is interesting, but what the Switch and the Aya are both teaching me is that these are not long-term systems. I owned an SNES, an NES, a Gameboy, and an N64 for decades. Meanwhile, I haven’t touched my Switch because it feels fragile. I also learned that in a few years, replacing the battery for it will be (for me) a difficult process.
So it’s teaching me that devices like this, while cute and have novelty, are not for a person like me who desires a low-maintenance and long lasting device.
To draw another parallel, in 10-15 years when I need to switch out a PC component, that process will be simple and painless because I won’t have to worry about an insanely small form factor relying on proprietary parts.
Just my two cents. I learned the hard way, with the Switch, sadly.
Meteoroid
@sanderev Your post doesn’t go against anything I said. This is still worthwhile as an article. If it even makes one person come back to reality from their bubble above the clouds, it’s useful. This system might be a different beast altogether, a portable PC versus a portable console, but it still gives insight into the cost of parts, design, and other details that go into any system.
Nintendo considering the Switch a toy or not is irrelevant to the conversation, as they are still operating in the same manufacturing market, and with a set manufacturing cost, even if it’s smaller because $1000+ is nowhere near viable for a console. As such, we need to be realistic as to what they can accomplish with a handheld that costs a maximum of $400 when it comes out.
illmatic20xx
@BloodNinja PC is always the best option. I honestly dont play on consoles often.
Astral-Grain
I like seeing competition in the portable gaming market besides just mobile. These competitors may fail, sure, but competition is what makes companies great.
If one company had a monopoly on portable gaming, they don’t have as much need to make their consumers happy because they’re the most affordable or most popular option. Competition lights a fire under the butts of companies who have been comfortable for too long. I think this is great.
AegisPrime
FYI gaming tablets are older than the Switch. Most of these focused more on being portable emulators, then glorified streaming machines, and now overly expensive handheld "pcs".
Comparing every single gaming tablet to the Switch is pretty boring.
Meteoroid
@GrailUK There really isn’t anything cynical about this. It’s just a portable PC. Would I buy it? No, but I think it has its place. It isn’t any more cynical than a Hewlett-Packard or Dell laptop.
BloodNinja
@illmatic20xx Indeed. There’s literally no compromise.
westman98
> I’m of the opinion that Switch Pro doesn’t exist and that we will get a full-on next-gen Switch 2 in 2023 when/if the chip shortage subsides.
> The Switch 2 won’t be priced at $1000+. In fact, its max price will likely be $400.
> The Switch 2 won’t be anywhere near as large or bulky as the Aya Neo or SteamDeck. It will likely be around the same size as the current Switch hybrid – maybe a little bit thicker for better heating.
> The Switch 2 will come with a dock and detachable controllers, none of which are included with the Aya Neo or SteamDeck.
> Most importantly, the Aya Neo is a PC – the Switch 2 will not be.
RasandeRose
It pretty much tells me that Im sticking to the 299USD Switch. It gives me all the games I need and good enough graphics and performance. I see no reason what so ever to pay 1299 for any console in the world…
Qwertyninty
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
SwissCheese
Now that tablets and mobiles are able to emulate up to psone and Dreamcast easily, some even managing Wii, 3ds and PS2 titles, I think it but a matter of time until switch, PS3 and 4 are emulatable on a mobile device, leaving the point and usability of devices such as those presented here highly in doubt to ever spread beyond a well off niche, able and willing to pay the prices asked…
PcTV
@sanderev NintendoLife has gotten pretty weird (to put it nicely) with their coverage of these non-Nintendo systems.
Dethmunk
Yep it tells you nothing about Switch Pro, because that will not be a thing. Unless Switch 2 is called Switch Pro. Next iteration will be Switch 2. Even then it’ll be the next iteration of current Switch tech, so don’t expect PS5 levels of power. I reckon you might get PS4(ish) power if that, although I wouldn’t hold your breath. May be double the onboard memory. Similar battery performance as current Switch OLED if the newer tech saves on power consumption enough. You may get 4k upscaling via the DLSS system, so that could be a nice plus. I think it’ll still be mainly 30fps gaming as that’s perfectly playable, but may be a few more 60fps titles than we have now.
Because beyond everything else for Nintendo the console has to be profitable, has to appeal to the most people and has to be as affordable as possible. Switch has proven that is possible without being top draw performance machine.
Steam deck and this new portable proves another thing. That huge tech specs mean nothing. It’s more expensive, heavier, less battery performance (because of the extra power) and no exclusive titles. Like every other pretender it’s D.O.A in terms of being a Switch killer. It’s a nice mini portable PC for those who can afford to have it. imo.
Spider-Kev
Switch Pro does NOT exist!
Switch Pro will NEVER exist!
Stop forcing this crap!
WiltonRoots
Digital Foundry did a vid a while back about what it would take to try and cram the equivalent of a PS4 into something like a Switch. It’s just not practical unless you want to carry around a paving slab that could heat a room up for 45 mins before the battery dies. It won’t stop people being disappointed with what the Switch can do in here though.
FishyS
If I had a portable device which cost $1200 I’d be afraid to actually use it the way I use Switch where it could get damaged or stolen.
1ofUs
I will never buy this. Never. Even if it’s a buck. This will never be in my hands. The controllers hurt my hands if i just look at them. It’s like the 3DS XL all over again
NEStalgia
Alternate but equally significant titles for this article:
What Can This $1200 Portable PC Tell Us About ‘Sasquatch’?
What Can This $1200 Portable PC Tell Us About the ‘Lochness Monster’?
What Can This $1200 Portable PC Tell Us About ‘Chupacabras’?
What Can This $1200 Portable PC Tell Us About ‘Deep Down’?
What Can This $1200 Portable PC Tell Us About the Mother 3 English localization’?
Murkyelm
a new nintendo console will happen, just not in near future may not even be a ‘switch’ as new ideas come out, nintendo is known to, ignoring the wii U, make very different consoles every generation, and even then the wii U sharing the same name, still having major differences.
so what makes this, a non nintendo, non console PC make it so the ‘switch pro’ will exist. At all.
Not that this makes it so a switch pro will never exist tho just means that there is a lower possibility of a true pro model than people are saying
johnvboy
Hopefully Nintendo have learned not to make hardware that looks as ugly as sin, and the biggest lesson not to listen to core obsessives on how to market the Switch going forward, as they rarely have a clue as to what motivates the wider buying public.
What is even more ironic is the article pretty much answers it’s own questions, as the Switch is a very popular console that is still in big demand, despite not being one of these powerful portable P.C’s, which in a way winds up the core obsessives no end, as how dare a low powered hybrid console be a successful as it has and continues to be,
johnvboy
@Spider-Kev,
It’s continued click bate in the guise of rumor and speculation articles, but you can’t blame them with some of the people on here.
mereel
Without detachable (and more importantly, replaceable) controllers, this will never have the functionality, versatility and consumer friendliness of the Switch.
clianvXAi
The switch is great as it is for the indies, 2d games and exclusive games. The problem is almost all AAA ports have significant decrease in performance, especially in handheld. If they still want to have those games in catalogue they really need to come with a good hardware.
johnvboy
@BloodNinja,
Which console is long term?, whatever that means in the first place, I always thought a good five to six years from a device was more than enough, just my opinion though, as these devices are hardly poor value for money.
marnelljm
You guys just can’t let this “Switch Pro” nonsense be, can you?
Repeat after me – It. Is. Never. Going. To. Happen.
Jonnyl
I found this really interesting – bravo NintendoLife, more of this please. I’m not going to run out and get one but its tempting to buy a portable that can run xbox games; I’m still undecided about buying an xbox even though I have a switch and a PS5.. something about Forza and gamepass. Lots of negative comments on here which I disagree with.
OldPierre77
Is this “$1200 portable PC” coming with BoTW 2? Pokémon Legends: Arceus? Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope? No? Then why would I even care about all its under-the-hood power?
(BTW, everyone know that Switch Pro was a device invented by the media for the sake of writing about a more powerful switch, which was clear from the very beginning it will not, and will not, be unveiled by Nintendo for the next couple of years. Nintendo produces games, not meaningless specs — but media love to write a lot about (even made-up) high specs devices 🤷🏽‍♂️
faint
@sanderev Nintendo is definitely gonna stick with the switch model. Maybe it will be a Switch2 instead of Pro, but it’s definitely going to happen.
Giancarlothomaz
how long you gonna insist with this Switch Pro, this is getting ridiculous and anoying, Switch Pro is not real, next gen Switch is his sucessor coming in 2023.
Savage_Joe
@SwitchForce "They can imitate the Switch but don’t have the library to backup and that can be a issue when your trying to sell more games."
So, the entire pc library and emulation of old games, including Nintendo’s, is not enough for ya? 😂
NinChocolate
Year after year, the Internet believes it can make a better console than Nintendo. A drone of a narrative about processing power. But just a lot of sqwaking that if actually implemented, would render an unbalanced experience and ruin the design of usability.
Vexx234
Yeesh, I’m glad a nintendo fanatic. Defending a billion dollar corporation so vigorously would be depressing.
Anyways interesting article! Good read!
Curbie
Nintendo sells on brand power, not computing power. This has never been more true than with the Switch. Unless someone just sidles up with a brand on par with Mario or Pokemon, they aren’t a Switch killer. Seems likely a bunch of imitators who think power is everything are going to compete with themselves and lose ultimately to the Steam deck while Nintendo continues on their merry way.
Mountain_Man
So the Switch Pro is going to cost over $1000. Got it.
SwissCheese
@OldPierre77
you could yuzu those games, but that would be within a legal grey area and beside the point you re making
GoshJosh
@SwissCheese Ah yes! The endless beauty of PC!
ChakraStomps
grab your portable on the go and then… run windows updates on the whole train ride..
BloodNinja
@johnvboy I named consoles that I thought are long-term in my OP…
@OldPierre77 Yuzu
ChromaticDracula
What has it taught me? The analog sticks look identical. In fact, the form-factor is identical too… They also tried to copy the Gameboy color scheme. These guys are closet Nintendo fans. I’d be flattered if I were them.
Anyway, I’ll take my Switch, thank you. Call me a fan-boy but watching Nintendo take all pieces of yesteryear and make one single piece of hardware that does it all is just awesome. All we needed perhaps are those analog shoulder buttons back.
Have fun with your Specs, folks.
Mountain_Man
By the way, who thinks Omicron would make a great name for a video game console?
OldPierre77
@BloodNinja @SwissCheese Yeah, but who has time for that, really? I mean — searching how to, setting stuff, finding ways to be “gray” (and setting a dubious moral example for youngsters in the process😛) — when sometimes we barely have 30 minutes a day to read about gaming, let alone playing something 😃
*I’m not judging/criticizing anyone; I’m just saying that I have very little gaming time nowadays. The more free time, the more joy and power to people.
johnvboy
@Vexx234,
No defense needed, the Switch has delivered exactly what it promised from day one, it’s only the core minorities that refused to believe it’s power when initially leaked/revealed, then have deluded themselves ever since.
Not sure what Nintendo being a billion dollar company has to do with anything, as they have always wanted to create a console with the widest possible appeal.
roboshort
> Despite being powered by technology that, even back in 2017, could hardly be described as cutting-edge
The Tegra X1 was only two years old when the Switch dropped. It wasn’t really new tech but it wasn’t old either as this statement implies.
OldPierre77
@Mountain_Man Would obviously not sell in France 😅
The-Chosen-one
Lol what i hate about these handhelds is the controls i played one at my brothers house, the DPad scks and the thumstick felt like a cheap controller from AliExpress (Alibaba)
Thats why only the steam deck is on my pre order list for a hybrid pc/handheld.
Next to my OG switch.
Vexx234
@johnvboy Cool, but every time an article comes up talking about these portable handhelds you got people rushing to defend "well it can’t compete with the switch" "nintnedo has first exclusives". So yeah cool but the thing is no one is after Nintendo or out to outdo the switch. People are being negative for the silliest of reasons.
BloodNinja
@OldPierre77 It’s pretty easy to set up. Took me under three minutes. You literally install yuzu and then drag and drop a game onto it. The only setup required is a controller and MAYBE graphics settings, if you need to lower things to adjust for performance. Couldn’t be easier.
I feel you on that, though! Been working 50-60 hours/week for a while! Can’t complain though, I love my job
SwissCheese
@OldPierre77
Totally know what you mean. Lemuroid is as far as I could ever manage, not even thinking about finikin with retroarch, dolphin, citra and the like. Would like to, but hardly have the time…
Gamer_Zeus
@Vexx234 this happens because even to this day there is a loud vocal community of gamers outside of the Nintendo fanbase that has continously shat on Nintendo and anything they ever do, with a large majority of them (albeit a small community to begin with) actively demanding that Nintendo goes 3rd party everytime Nintendo get a good game that won’t be on other platforms.
Examples of instances such as this have happened even as recently as March this year when Nintendo got MH Rise and a vocal minority of PS users were all up in arms over it being exclusive on the Switch.
This all has the side effect of making a small minority of Nintendo fans very insecure about anything that might threaten their precious company that probably has no idea of their existence.
It’s all a bit silly really but unfortunately Nintendo have kind of created that situation themselves by being so hit and miss with their hardware.
SwissCheese
@BloodNinja
Feel you and your long working hours…
Nowadays I spend more time on reading about gaming in between meetings, than I would possibly have to actually play, with two kids and all…
NotSoCryptic
Already threw down for a steamdeck. Switch is nice and I don’t care if Nintendo updates it so long as I can get their latest games when I want them. That being said they don’t make their money that way and if my actions are any indication others could be taking the same route for better versions of their favorite games on the go on Steamdeck instead. Which means money going to valve and not nintendo through licensing.
I’m sure Nintendo can survive on that model, but even their titles fatigue after awhile and their relevance will be reduced if I spend more time toting a steamdeck around with me to play Halo, Overwatch, CP2077, RE8, Horizon, and a variety of other games instead of buying them on their system because they aren’t there and can’t be or just simply have inferior versions (Witcher, Overwatch, etc).
johnvboy
@Vexx234,
They are just stating the obvious as these devices will always be niche, as they appeal to a more core crowd, and the way the article are always worded always seems to downplay the Switch in some way or other, so it works both ways.
Damo
@Jonnyl You’re very welcome. It was a fun piece to write, because systems like this offer a potential view on where Nintendo could go with its next console – but they also show exactly what Nintendo got right with the current Switch. The balance between power and stamina, for me, is what makes the Switch so appealing.
BloodNinja
@SwissCheese Wow, I can only imagine. Raising kids is very time and energy extensive. Keep raising them well, make sure they understand the classics…Mario, Zelda, Metroid! LOL
Vexx234
@johnvboy Stating the obvious doesn’t change the fact it’s petty and ridiculous. Again there is no point in stating it because none of these devices are trying to compete. People who bringing that up are just being petty.
Also, if you get the idea these articles which are just taking an interest in a device outside of the switch as some sort dig then that’s a personal problem. Why would a website dedicated to everything nintendo related spend it’s time throwing shade? Again, if that’s what people getting out these articles (half of which probably didn’t read anything past the headline) then that’s a personal issue.
HedgehogEngine
Fun distraction but the only thing the next iteration of the Switch will have in common with this is that it is a portable computing device. It is too late now for a Switch Pro, what we could see is enhanced retrocompatibility, at best, on certain titles with the next generation. Comparing x86 designs with ARM-based designs is a no-go, especially on power efficiency. Plus, let’s not forget this device must make money on its own while Nintendo only has to break even.
HalBailman
The only lesson from the Neo is that the Switch got everything right. The Neo is like anything from the PC world: over priced and over complicated and over indulgent. Fine if you get the commensurate enjoyment and value from it. Most people won’t. For this price, you’re better off with an actual PC and get a Switch as your portable system.
PS: There won’t be a Switch Pro. 😛
Gwynbleidd
This just shows the obvious: you can surely have something much better than the Switch, trouble is that its price would end up on having an amount of zeroes you might not expect.
IGN_Commenter
The price, battery life and even aesthetics aren’t that bad. It’s the thought of dealing with Windows 10 on a mobile device – not to mention the cheap and soon-to-be-unsupported launcher and config app – that make me cringe.
Rika_Yoshitake
The sooner you people realize what it takes to power a "powerful console" the faster you’ll realize that it’s simply not feasible to have 8 hours of battery life and the graphics of a ps5 in your pocket…
but alas keep going with dumb pipe dreams of a Switch Pro…
Zeldawakening
This article does not give the switch’s game library enough credit
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Anbernic may be developing a Windows handheld gaming PC – Liliputing

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Liliputing
Anbernic is a Chinese company that makes handheld gaming devices, most of which are powered by Android or Linux software and designed for retro gaming. But it looks like the company may be developing its first handheld gaming PC that runs Windows.
That could make the new device an option for gamers looking to play modern PC games, although the new model will also probably be Anbernic’s most expensive system to date – most of the company’s current devices tend to sell for between $50 and $250.

Anbernic hasn’t officially announced the new Windows handheld, but a set of pictures included in a recent patent application make it pretty clear that the device is designed to run Windows.
Like many handheld game consoles, it has a display surrounded by dual analog sticks, a D-Pad, action buttons, start and select keys, and four shoulder buttons/triggers. There’s also a home key on one side, and a Windows key on the other, which will likely function as a Start Key.
On the left side of the device there’s also a switch that lets you toggle between game controller and mouse modes, a feature we’ve seen on some other Windows-powered handhelds, which makes Windows a little easier to navigate on devices without a mouse or physical keyboard. This will most likely let you move a cursor with an analog stick while using action buttons for left and right-click actions.
Other features appear to include a USB Type-A port, what may be a USB Type-C port, stereo speakers, and a 3.5mm headphone jack as well as what looks like a microphone.
There’s no word on the specs or pricing, but it seems like a safe bet that a Windows-powered handheld will have a more expensive processor than most of Anbernic’s systems to date, which will drive up the price tag accordingly.
If and when Anbernic’s Windows-powered handheld comes to market, it will join an increasingly crowded space that’s currently dominated by small Chinese companies like GPD, One Netbook, and AYA as well as the upcoming Valve Steam Deck (which will ship with the Linux-based Steam OS, but which has all the hardware necessary for Windows gaming if anyone feels the urge to replace the operating system).
via DroiX, Taki Udon, and /r/Anbernic
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What are they trying to patent? Buttons and switches where your hand will be gripping and more prone to accidentally activating (ie. bad idea)?
Also, if their handheld looks like this, how are they expecting to compete with the other Chinese handhelds (let alone the Steam Deck)? Price? The bar handhelds are all pretty much the same with different tweaks here and there.
At this rate, I feel like whatever part of the market the Deck isn’t able to capture will just be shared equally among the rest of these small companies.
Now more manufacturers in the game, waiting for Alienware and Razer to join this party, they had UFO and Switchblade concepts in the past
I feel a tiny bit sorry for GPD – after years of being the “only game in town”, now they have competitors coming out of the woodwork!
Still, it seems like good news for everyone else!
If it’s pocketable, then I’d get it. Otherwise, if I’m getting a non-pocketable slab/bar PC handheld, then it’s only the Steam Deck for me.
Judging from the USB Type-A port, this thing’s pretty large. It’s not any more pocketable than the other slabs so pass. The Steam Deck it is.
Waiting for a hologram of Roseanne Barr to explain the meaning of the device’s name to me.
🙂 Close enough to Ambergris
🙂 Close enough to Ambergris
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Media campaigns praised for 'making a difference' – Arab News

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https://arab.news/zk3mw
DUBAI: Media campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands have been praised for their effectiveness, insight and innovation as part of marketing intelligence firm WARC’s 2021 media awards.
The global awards program, now in its sixth year, rewards communications planning that has made a positive impact on business results. The awards examine the insight, strategy and analytics that influence effective media investment.
This year, the awards saw 56 campaigns win across diverse markets and product categories for global brands including adidas, L’Oreal, McDonald’s, Nespresso and TikTok, and local brands such as Change The Ref in the US, Claro in Chile, NHS England, Omroep Zwart in the Netherlands and Yili in China.
Four juries — one for each category — made up of of experts from both the agency and client-side awarded four grand prix trophies, 10 golds, 17 silvers, 25 bronzes and 12 special awards for specific areas of excellence.
Overall, the UK led with eight wins. China, Germany, the US and Vietnam won four awards each, followed by Canada, which scored three wins. India, Malaysia and New Zealand, each won two awards, and Chile, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Netherlands, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Sri Lanka, Turkey and the UAE each won one award.
In the effective channel integration category, PHD Canada won the grand prix and path-to-purchase award for “Vacation Intervention,” which saw Air Transat convince 75,000 workers not to lose their unused vacation days, with nearly 50 percent of reservations coming from new clients.
“Travel brands tend to be very lower-funnel and promo-led, especially in the lead-up to big holiday seasons. ‘Vacation Intervention’ went the other way with a strong insight, a very interesting central idea and a multi-channel campaign that was fun, topical and successful,” said jury member Ronnie Thomas, group director of global business development Publicis Groupe.
The POE award, which looks at how a strategy successfully linked paid, owned and earned media, and a gold went to FP7 McCann Dubai for “A Dad’s Job” for Home Center. The effective cross-channel measurement award and a silver went to MediaCom’s global campaign “PS5 — 2020’s biggest entertainment launch” for gaming console Sony PlayStation.  
Havas Sports & Entertainment won the grand prix for French welfare association L’Enfant Bleu in the effective use of tech category.
The winning campaign “Undercover Avatar” saw the agency create an in-game confidante to enable children to speak out about abuse. The activity generated 700 million media impressions and resulted in the French government working on solutions that will turn video games into a new way to identify abused children.
“Leveraging a native behavior (and interest) in a smart way — a really powerful way to do things purposefully different,” said judge Luca Vergano, vice president of strategy at Elephant.
The initiative also won two special awards: Most scalable idea and platform pioneer.
MullenLowe US won the special award, the early adopter, and a gold for “Ring King” for Burger King.
In the effective use of partnerships and sponsorships category, McCann Paris and FP7 McCann Dubai won the grand prix and effective native award for Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation for “The Bread Exam.”
The nonprofit collaborated with a traditional baker to create a bread-making video demonstrating how to self-examine. The campaign reached 112 million people, and in nine months increased awareness by 83 percent and screenings by 41 percent.
“They identified breast cancer as something that is difficult to talk about in culture, but managed to make it part of the conversation through the topic of bread making, something that is an integral part of the culture,” said judge Faisal Alani, head of partnerships at eBay.
“They tackled the problem in an incredibly thoughtful way; it really warmed my heart.”
COPA90 won two special swards — the collaboration with an influencer award for Budweiser’s “Messi X Budweiser 644,” and the successful sponsorship award for “Music Keeps Us Playing” for Pepsi and Pepsi MAX, as well as a silver and bronze, respectively.
In the best use of data category, the grand prix and personalization award went to FCB New Zealand for “Personalizing Danger,” a campaign for Water Safety New Zealand. By combining historical, real-time and future data, the agency built a predictive model to reduce deaths of young men from drowning. The campaign reached 95 percent of its target audience and achieved zero deaths. 
“Other entrants are just gathering data. But to actually save lives? If only one life is saved, it’s already a success. This is data put to good use,” said judge Kathrin Jesse, chief strategy officer and partner at Wirz Group, Switzerland.
The data-driven insight award was given to MullenLowe US for Burger King’s “Delay Your Way,” which also won a gold, and the attribution award went to Ekimetrics for “Using Advanced Analytics to Market Profitability in a Pandemic” for hospitality brand Accor, which also won a bronze. 
ISTANBUL: A Turkish court has acquitted German journalist Mesale Tolu after years on trial for terror-related charges.
“After 4 years, 8 months and 20 days: Acquitted of both charges!” Tolu tweeted after her acquittal. She was accused of engaging in terror propaganda and being a member of a banned left-wing group — the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party.
Tolu, 38, was placed in pre-trial detention for eight months in 2017. She was later released but was barred from leaving Turkey until August 2018. She lives in Germany.
Before her arrest, Tolu worked as a translator and journalist for the Turkish ETHA news agency.
German-Turkish relations were tense at the time of Tolu’s arrest, when eight other German or German-Turkish citizens were imprisoned. Berlin considered the arrests to be politically motivated.
Reporters Without Borders ranks Turkey at 153 out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index of 2021. At least 34 media employees are currently behind bars, according to Turkey’s Journalists Union.
BEIRUT: Hate-filled, misogynist, and racist tweets have targeted a Sudanese TV anchor following a report on her show that criticized the Lebanese government, including Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
The fury targeting Dalia Ahmad came after she described the country’s long-reigning party officials as crocodiles during her show “Fashet Khalq” on Lebanon’s Al-Jadeed news channel. 
#DogBreedImprovement was trending in Lebanon in Arabic after vicious tweets sent out by Hezbollah loyalist accounts attacked Ahmad and the color of her skin.
“You’d be sitting under the safety of God when a black dog comes and starts barking, you want to hit it but then it appears not to be a dog but a black female dog from Sudan,” read a tweet from a profile featuring a photo of the slain Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.
 
بتكون قاعد بأمان الله بيجي كلب أسود بصير ينبح بتقوم بدك تضربو بيطلع مش كلب بيطلع كلبة سودا من السودان#تحسين_نسل_الكلب
 
“May God curse the sperm that settled in the womb of the mother of those who offend you, Mr. Nasrallah #DogBreedImprovement,” read another tweet in Arabic. The account’s profile has the word Hezbollah in Arabic with a yellow heart next to it.
 
لعنَ الله النُّطفةَ التي إستقّرت في رَحِمِ أمِّ من يُسئ إليك سيدي نصرالله.#تحسين_نسل_الكلب pic.twitter.com/6rNLfxiIYK
 
Another tweet read: “Without #hizbollah Dalia Ahmed would have been offered for sale in the slave market, along with her ilk, by ISIS.”  
“Never in my life have I bullied or criticized the creation of our Lord, but this despicable woman, because her heart and tongue are so black they are reflecting on her ugly and malicious face,” read a tweet from @KassemHala555, which had a black smiley face emoji at the end and two images of Ahmad.
 
انا بحياتي ما تنمرت ولا بقبل انتقد خلقة ربنا ..

بس هيدي الحقيرة من كتر سواد قلبها ولسانها عاكس على وجها المقرق والخبيث …#تحسين_نسل_الكلب pic.twitter.com/fDRwpPX8TK
 
“By God, by God, whoever wants to attack the Al-Sayyed (Nasrallah), I want to wipe the ground with them and curse those who gave birth to them,” read another tweet from @KassemHala555, whose profile features the Lebanese and Iranian flags. This tweet had an image of Ahmad with the face of a dog photoshopped over hers.
 
والله والله يلي بدو يتطاول على السيد بدي امسح الأرض فيه والعن يلي خلفو ..#تحسين_نسل_الكلب pic.twitter.com/zxxEh0eGX1
 
Journalists loyal to Hezbollah and media representatives also chimed in. Journalist Hosein Mortada, who has more than 494,000 followers, tweeted a picture of Ahmad with the comment: “There are breeds that don’t improve because their genes are unclean from the start.”

His tweet is no longer visible because, according to the platform, it “violated the Twitter Rules.”
There were some who came to the defense of Ahmad, including Emmy-nominated director and writer Lucien Bourjeily who tweeted: “My dears: ‘crocodiles’ is a very nice description. Your leaders are corrupt, scammers, and criminals, and an entire society is being destroyed at their hands! How many are you after defending those who impoverished you, plundered you, and destroyed your lives?”
 
في مين عم يدافع بشراسة وعنصرية عن زعيمه لأن الاعلامية #داليا_أحمد وصفت ما يسمى ب “زعماء” ب تماسيح.
اعزائي: “تماسيح” وصف كتير لطيف.
زعمائكم فاسدين،نصابين،ومجرمين وفي مجتمع باكمله عم يتدمر على ايديهم!
والكم عين بعد تدافعوا عن يلي فقروكم، نهبوكم، ودمروا حياتكم؟ #كلن_يعني_كلن مورطين pic.twitter.com/I43tFI8c1D
 
Hezbollah and its loyalists have a record of harassing and attacking female journalists.
In January of last year, Alhurra news anchor Layal Alekhtiar received death threats and was subjected to harassment online after tweeting a video of the unveiling of a Soleimani statue and a line from the Qur’an that said: “What are these statues to which you are so devoted?”
In October 2020, independent journalist Luna Safwan was targeted by Hezbollah in an online abuse campaign after her tweet criticizing the party was carried by an Israeli news channel and she was accused of cooperating with Israel. 
Lebanese journalist Maryam Seif Eddine, known for her staunch criticism of Hezbollah despite being Shiite, received death threats from the group while her mother and brother were physically assaulted, with her sibling being left with a broken nose. Party loyalists had targeted her family home in Burj El-Barajneh, in the Hezbollah-dominated southern suburbs of Beirut.
Before that, as the country witnessed mass protests in 2019, former LBC news anchor and Shiite journalist Dima Sadek was subjected to harassment by the group after her phone was stolen from her during a demonstration. The harassment, she said, was followed by insulting and threatening phone calls to her mother, who suffered a stroke as a result of the stress.
MTV reporter Nawal Berry, also a Shiite, suffered violent attacks by supporters of Hezbollah and its allies while covering the early days of the protests. Loyalists smashed her team’s camera, snatched the microphone she was holding, spat on her, and kicked her in the leg.
 
DUBAI: With more than 200 streaming providers around the globe the number of platforms is proliferating, according to Flixed.
And while the coronavirus pandemic has spurred unprecedented growth in viewership the gradual return to normality has seen a churn in subscribers for many streaming companies.
Netflix, which remains the world leader in the streaming space, last year commanded a 21 percent share of the US subscription video-on-demand market, but with competition increasing, it has been experiencing a slowdown, data analytics firm GlobalData said.
The company’s share of US revenue from subscription streaming video was forecast to shrink to 30.8 percent by the end of 2021, from nearly 50 percent in 2018, according to market researcher eMarketer.
Francesca Gregory, associate analyst in thematic research at GlobalData, said: “Netflix experienced a slow start to 2021, following a light slate of content as pandemic production problems came to the fore.
“Although fresh content in its third quarter boosted subscribers to 214 million, competing platforms are experiencing explosive growth.”
By November, Disney+ had racked up 118 million subscribers, and Amazon Prime had 175 million.
“As the number of streaming platforms increases, and the market approaches peak fragmentation, SVOD platforms will use content portfolios to differentiate themselves,” Gregory added.
For example, Amazon has committed $1 billion to its “The Lord of the Rings” even before an episode has aired, while Netflix was forecast to spend more on original programming than ever before. By 2025, 46.5 percent of its projected $18.92 billion budget will go toward original content, compared with 37.8 percent in 2020, eMarketer said.
Besides content portfolios, companies will have to explore alternative revenue sources.
Gregory said: “We have already started to see Netflix branching out to different areas, with the launch of Netflix Games in November 2021 and a co-streaming partnership with Twitch. I wouldn’t be surprised if the company looked to experiment with more gaming streaming platforms in the future.”
She pointed out that as competition increased during 2022, “reaching different audiences will continue to be a key strategy. Companies that fail to secure a market niche will have a limited shelf life in the crowded SVOD market.”
GAZA CITY: In a Gaza TV studio of the ruling Islamist armed movement Hamas, a set features Israeli flags, Hebrew documents and a portrait of Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism.
The make-believe office of enemy state Israel’s security service is being used to shoot a “pro-resistance” television series on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It is Hamas’s answer to Israeli hit shows such as the special forces drama “Fauda” that have gained millions of viewers on platforms such as Netflix, HBO and Apple TV+.
“Fauda,” which in Arabic means chaos, portrays a military unit led by commander Doron Kavillio that launches raids inside Palestinian territories.
Admitting to having watched “Fauda,” though, is not a good idea in Gaza, the Palestinian coastal enclave blockaded by Israel, said local director Mohammed Soraya.
To watch any Israeli TV series means supporting the “normalization” of relations with the Jewish state, argued Soraya, who is directing Hamas’s own TV series on the conflict.
He charged that such shows “support the Zionist occupation” because their plots “criminalize the Palestinian people,” speaking with AFP in the Gaza City studio.
“We want to flip the equation, to show the Palestinian point of view, to broadcast a drama about the spirit of our resistance.”
Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and the European Union. The Islamist group controls the Gaza Strip, an impoverished territory of 2.3 million people.
It also runs the Al-Aqsa channel, and has been investing in series inspired by Hollywood, and by Turkish soap operas that are popular across the Middle East.
The series now in production, “Qabdat Al-Ahrar” (Fist of the Free), revisits a 2018 Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip that resulted in the deaths of seven Hamas fighters and an Israeli officer.
The protagonists are the fighters of Hamas, which has fought four wars against the Jewish state since 2008.
Budgets are meagre, actors’ salaries are low, sets are basic and deadlines are tight, with the production team expected to deliver some 30 episodes by April, in time for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
While Israeli series often feature actors from the country’s Arab-Israeli minority, productions in Gaza do not use any Israeli actors.
This forces studios to recruit local actors to play Israelis — a job that, the performers say, can expose them to real-world hostility and danger.
One of them is Jawad Harouda, aged in his early sixties and with a husky voice, who portrays the head of Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security service in the new TV series.
To get into character, Harouda said he “soaked up the script,” but added that being too convincing can lead to trouble.
“Some women look at me and pray that I die,” he said, leaning back in his boss’s chair in the fake Shin Bet office.
“I’m happy when people insult me. It means I’ve succeeded … The actor is a chameleon, he must be able to act out all colors.”
In Gaza productions, Israeli characters speak in Arabic. And, at the request of the Hamas mufti, or Islamic jurist, women wear their headscarves even if they play Jewish characters.

“In one series, I played a Jewish woman,” said one actress, Kamila Fadel, who added that she may have been just a little too convincing for her own good.
“After the series was broadcast, a woman tried to strangle me,” she recounted.
“She told me: ‘I hate you, you are hurting us so much’. On another day a 13-year-old boy threw a stone at my head thinking I was Jewish… This means I played my part well.”
Not everyone is a fan of the Hamas productions, which are firmly focused on the conflict.
“There is no love” in the dramas, argued Palestinian director and critic Jamal Abu Alqumsan, who expressed regret that the rare local productions served primarily as a “tool of resistance.”
Abu Alqumsan said the potential for such productions to tell Palestinians’ stories was huge, but the challenges were many.
“In Gaza, we live under a blockade, it’s a unique situation in the world,” he said, speaking in his art gallery, which he hopes to turn into a small film library.
“So we need producers to invest in quality series and tell the rest of the world our story. We have good actors, they just need good directors and means.”
For now, Abu Alqumsan said he was unsure of the impact such shows would have.
“TV dramas are a weapon, but in the face of Israel, local productions are of a low level,” he said.

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