In the last few days I've heard rumours that the next Nintendo Direct could be this month, with a possible Nintendo Switch 2 teaser being discussed. Personally I think that's too soon, despite some tipsters suggesting a March 2024 reveal is on the cards, but the more we get to know the better in my view.
Rumours of a Nintendo Switch 2 have been rife for years now. The Nintendo Switch Pro never came to bear, suggesting that Nintendo's Switch console sequel will be the next step in the Japanese gaming company's hardware line-up. I'm hopeful it'll get a 2024 release still – but would only want that to happen if it's well and truly ready.
So the more I've been thinking about Nintendo's next console, the more I've been mulling over some must-have features that would make the so-called Nintendo Switch 2 a must-buy on its launch day... which could be as soon as September. Here are five top features that I think are essential.
1. Lots more power
It kind of goes without saying: the Nintendo Switch 2 needs to be more powerful than the current Switch hardware. Now I'm not expecting to have a portable PlayStation 5 equivalent in the palm of my hand, as that just won't be feasible, but we need something approaching Xbox Series S levels of wallop to ensure developers can do a lot more with this hardware.
Nintendo has often been behind the curve when it comes to sheer hardware grunt, but that's never affected the company's ability to produce astounding games – and that, for me, is the most fundamentally important factor a games console can offer its players. So, sure, the Switch 2 will probably be less powerful than current-gen hardware, but I'm okay with that.
Current rumours suggest there's going to be 12GB RAM, which quadruples what the original Switch possesses. The processor relationship is thought to remain with Nvidia, upgrading the current Tegra X1 in the Switch to a new T239 chip (which may arrive with a more fun-sounding marketing name too). Given that's built around Nvidia's RTX series hardware, it ought to be a capable pipeline to step-up the console's gaming potential – and surely without compromising its handheld potential too.
2. A bigger display
Now that Sony has revealed its PlayStation Portable handheld – which is like an extension of PS5 play just on a handheld screen-slash-device – for me that's set more of a benchmark in terms of what size is acceptable for people. And, at 8-inches across the diagonal, that's the scale I'd really want to see for the Switch 2 too.
However, rumours currently can't agree on whether or not this will be the case: some suggest 8-inch, others say a 7-inch panel that's more in line with the current Switch hardware. It's suggested it'll be LCD rather than OLED, too, to keep the hardware costs down and the price point more appealing. I can see why Nintendo would take that approach: that provides an opportunity mid-lifecycle for an upgraded machine, just as the Nintendo Switch OLED did for the original Switch.
I really do hope an 8-inch display will be on the cards, as that'll mean a slightly larger console, which in turn means a bigger footprint for yet more battery, yet more cooling potential, and therefore greater longevity per charge – a common complaint of the original Switch being its battery life. Oh and Full HD 1080p resolution this time too please, rather than this 720p business!
3. Better controllers
When the original Switch launched a number of people complained about 'drift' associated with the Joy-Con controllers. It became such a big deal that a class auction lawsuit was raised in California. That didn't come to anything, but made something very clear: Nintendo's fans were dead serious about wanting the best. Nintendo did then issue various updates to rectify the issue.
What I think is an absolute must for the Switch 2 on its launch day is an assurance that its controllers will be spot on. I'm not just talking about drift issues either: I want the Switch 2's controllers to be that little bit larger (logical if the new display is 8-inches), to be more ergonomically designed, to just feel better in use.
It's also worth pointing out at this stage that when Nintendo went down the 'sequel' route progressing from its Wii console to the Wii U launch all the way back in 2012 it was... well, a disaster. It could therefore be a major mistake to call any brand new console by the 'Switch' name at all. So while a 'Switch 2' may resemble the original, I think it needs to stand apart in a number of ways – the controllers being one factor around that, in addition to the naming consideration.
4. An all-new Mario launch title
When a new console arrives the number one factor that's going to sell it to me, to you, to anyone really, is the reveal of a major exclusive first-party title that you're not going to be able to play anywhere else. Many hardware launches have missed this on day one in recent times, however, and with the original Switch still selling very well I think this is a must-have for the console's sequel.
What game that will be is anyone's guess at this moment in time. My two pence? Super Mario Galaxy 3 (please, please, please!). I feel that Mario is a guarantee for any new Nintendo hardware – I also find it hard to process that Super Mario Odyssey launch in 2017, so more than six years ago now! – and a new game for the Switch 2 just has to happen.
5. Backwards compatibility
With the above said, however, I do think the Switch 2 would massively benefit from backwards-compatibility so players can continue to play current Switch titles. I'd hope the addition of more power and more RAM would mean a better experience of those titles – less of the judder in the otherwise excellent Link's Awakening would be most welcome, for example.
However, backwards compatibility would mean one other thing: maintaining the cartridge slot. That does make me scratch my head a little because these small-capacity and expensive-to-produce carts are like the antithesis of where gaming is headed: towards cloud-based play and digital-only downloading.
I'm a total advocate for buying games as physical media, giving you greater control in their onward use and/or sale should a title not be for you or you're done with it and won't go back. And I can't imagine that the Switch 2 would utilise a new form of media in today's market – it just wouldn't be cost effective. But, go on Nintendo, be kind and make sure the Switch 2 will play all the original Switch games, too, as your fans will appreciate it.