The Nintendo Switch has been a huge success since its launch in 2017, selling over 84 million units worldwide.
Naturally, speculation about the release of the next iteration - which, for the purposes of this article we’re calling the “Switch 2” - has been rife in the gaming community.
While there have been no official announcements from Nintendo regarding the release of the Switch 2, it is not uncommon for gaming companies to release updated versions of their consoles, and rumours and leaks suggest that it is indeed in development.
So, based on industry trends and technological advancements, here are some possible expectations for a new Nintendo Switch console.
One of the main criticisms of the original Nintendo Switch was that its hardware was not powerful enough to run more demanding games.
So we can realistically expect the Switch 2 to have improved hardware that can handle more graphically-intensive games with ease, with rumours suggesting that it will have a more powerful CPU, GPU and RAM, which will enable it to run games in 4K resolution and with better frame rates.
The original Nintendo Switch was released in 2017 and was powered by an NVIDIA Tegra X1 chip, which was already outdated when the console was released. It’s likely that a new Nintendo Switch would feature a more powerful processor, potentially using the newer Tegra X2 or X3 chips. This would allow for better graphics, faster loading times and more advanced gameplay features.
Another area where the Switch could improve is in terms of storage. The current Switch only has 32GB of internal memory storage, which can quickly fill up with game downloads and saves. A new Switch could potentially feature more internal storage, or even support for external storage devices like SD cards or SSD hard-drives.
In addition, the Switch 2 could feature more RAM, which would further improve performance and allow for more complex games. It is also possible that the console could have a larger battery, which would extend the amount of time it can be used on a single charge.
The Switch 2 could have a new design that is slimmer, lighter and more portable than its predecessor.
Another expectation for the Switch 2 is that it will feature a higher-resolution screen. The current Switch has a 6.2-inch 720p screen, which is adequate but not as high-resolution as other modern devices.
A new Switch could utilise OLED technology - indeed, an updated version of the original Switch with a larger OLED screen was released in 2021 - which would provide better colours and contrast and be brighter and more vibrant than the original’s LCD screen.
It is also possible that the Switch 2 could feature more advanced controllers. The Joy-Con controllers that come with the current Switch are versatile and innovative, but they have also been criticised for their lack of durability and occasional connectivity issues.
A new Switch could potentially feature more reliable and advanced controllers, redesigned to improve their ergonomics and functionality, perhaps with more advanced haptic feedback or even built-in touchscreens.
Improved online services
One area where the Nintendo Switch has been lacking compared to other gaming consoles is online functionality. While the Switch does have online multiplayer capabilities, it is often considered less robust than other consoles like the PlayStation or Xbox.
A new Switch could potentially improve online functionality, perhaps even introducing features like cross-platform play or more advanced matchmaking.
Will it even be a Switch as we know it?
Nintendo have a reputation of playing by their own rules, and they’ve never been a company to rehash tired ideas, instead choosing to innovate on what has come before in an attempt to provide truly unique gameplay experiences.
So will their next console even be a ‘Switch’, in the sense of a console with the ability to seamlessly transition between handheld and docked modes, allowing players to take their games on the go or play on a larger screen at home?
In previous console generations, the answer to that question may have been up for debate. But with the existing Switch closing in on the crown of most successful games console in history, Nintendo will be reluctant to scrap the screen-switching premise completely and start again.
What’s more likely, is that a new Nintendo Switch would continue to deliver innovative gameplay experiences while building on the original Switch’s abilities, perhaps even incorporating virtual reality or augmented reality technology.
There have been rumours that Nintendo is developing a new VR headset that will work with the Switch, and whatever new hardware does come next, it will undoubtedly launch with new games that take advantage of improved hardware and new features.
When could the Switch 2 be released?
As I write this, we’re closing in on the six-year anniversary of the Nintendo Switch’s release.
In terms of games console life cycles, the Switch’s has been quite a lengthy one, and with some recent bigger titles struggling to run smoothly on the ageing hardware, many fans are wondering when their beloved machine might be getting an upgrade.
Besides The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom on 12 May, Nintendo’s home-grown, first-party release schedule for 2023 looks rather bare. Could it be that the company is gearing up to unveil a whole host of new games compatible with a new console later in the year?
Many are speculating that 2024 could be the year of the Switch 2... but could it even be with us be the end of 2023?!
That remains to be confirmed, of course, but whatever does come next, Nintendo would be smart to make the console backwards compatible with the original Nintendo Switch’s games, meaning owners will be able to play their favourite games on the new console, without having to buy them again.