I’m as surprised as you are that we are over halfway through 2023 (eek) and Nintendo still hasn’t officially announced a successor to the now 7-year-old Nintendo Switch. Despite that, there has been plenty of rumour and speculation around the successor to a console that has sold over 125 million units.
For years there has been talk of a Switch Pro, a mid-generation update to the console, but unless Nintendo plans to keep the Switch until 2030 I think we are now past that point. Surely the next Nintendo hardware release will be a Switch 2 or perhaps something completely different? Here’s the latest.
Nintendo Switch 2 release date
This is one of the most hotly debated questions around the Switch 2, but there seem to be two camps: some believe we could see a 2023 release, while others are more convinced by 2024. Now we're in August and we've still not seen any evidence of a Switch 2, I'm definitely in the latter camp.
Those arguing the case for a 2023 launch include the UK government Competition and Market Authority who referred to an unnamed Nintendo device in reference to Microsoft’s proposed takeover of Activision Blizzard. Other sources point to Nintendo’s comparative silence on its Christmas release window as a sign it is readying a new console. However, it now seems as though 2023 will pass us by without a new console.
The evidence for 2024 seems to be stronger, especially considering we have heard so little from Nintendo itself about the Switch 2. One report claims that Nintendo President, Shuntaro Furukawa, hasn’t considered any new or upgraded hardware in financial reports until at least April 2024 – and with The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom, Pikmin 4 on shelves now and Mario Wonder coming in October - it would be a strange time to kill the Switch's momentum. Heck, it's even getting Red Dead Redemption.
Industry insiders also claim that some key developers have already got their hands on dev kits, but that a release in the latter part of 2024 looks most likely. A shame, but as Shigeru Miyamoto famously is quoted as saying "A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad." and the same can be said for consoles.
What we do know is that Nintendo has committed to avoiding any stock shortages of its next console which it hopes will also stop scalpers and prevent the scarcity of the likes of the PS5. This could make Christmas 2024 quite the event.
Nintendo Switch 2 design
In terms of the design of the Switch 2, there’s little so far to go on (the pictures in this article are just concepts). It's widely expected Nintendo will keep the portable console design but there are some features we would like to see and that we think Nintendo should definitely aim to implement. For starters, a 4K display is nearly essential at this point... although there is an argument against it for the sake of battery life. Personally, I'd give absolutely anything for a 4K Pokémon.
There has been talk that the new console could ditch the OLED display of the Switch OLED for an LCD screen instead, which would bring costs down but be a pretty significant downgrade.
Under the hood, the Switch is well behind the PS5 and Xbox Series X and a significant processing power boost needs to make its way to the Switch 2. For too long now Switch ports of third-party games have been a poor relation. Some reports have suggested the Switch's successor will be equivalent to a PS4 in power, which is worryingly behind the times. It does at least seem like it will have more internal memory than the stingy 64GB original Switch with up to 512GB of flash memory.
As for backward compatibility? There has been no word on that yet, but Nintendo has hinted that you will be able to use your Switch account on the Switch 2. Nintendo has had a pretty good record in the past for backward compatibility with the Wii, Wii U and 3DS all having it in some form although many classic games are now sold on the eShop instead.
With the likes of the Steam Deck, Asus ROG Ally and a possible Lenovo machine, Nintendo also has competition for portable gaming from some powerful and beautiful machines, so an increased battery life when not docked would be very welcome.
And the Joycons? Just lose the drifting please. Although that was partly fixed in the not-too-distant past.