The Nintendo Switch has launched six years ago, on March 3, 2017, to be more precise. The console was Nintendo’s all-or-nothing after a very controversial, disappointingly, Nintendo Wii U. The Japanese giant tried to repeat the success of the Nintendo Wii but ended up with a big problem. Then, in 2016, Nintendo announced its new approach – the best portable console ever. Since the days of the Game Boy, Nintendo has managed to be one of the best in the mobile console segment. It also scored high with the Nintendo DS and 3DS. Sony offered some competition with the PSP but ended up failing with the Vita. So, in 2017, Nintendo brought the best of both worlds – its best-ever portable console that could also work as a desktop console. Six years have passed and where is the Nintendo Switch 2?
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It’s time for a Nintendo Switch 2
Nintendo’s third-quarter earning reports reveal that the 3 Switch models have sold 8.2 million units between October 1 and December 31 in 2022. When combined with the total lifetime unit sales for the console, we have an impressive amount of 122.55 million. The Nintendo Switch proved to be a huge success and now figures as the third best-selling console in the history of video games. The portable console revamped the segment offering capable specs that could handle modern games. Its biggest differential was the possibility to play on the go without any issues.
You could easily play it on your TV, but the biggest deal was to take it elsewhere. Something that you will never do with your PS5 or Xbox Series. However, the years passed and now we have a new generation of consoles. After all those years, the Nintendo Switch’s hardware is lagging. Therefore, we believe that it’s damn about time for Nintendo to bring the Nintendo Switch 2.
Switch Lite, Switch OLED – still no Switch Pro, or Switch 2
The Nintendo Switch got a couple of updates since 2017, however, none with significant hardware upgrades. Ok, Ok, the Nintendo Switch OLED has a significant hardware upgrade as it ditches the LCD screen for a bigger and brighter OLED screen. However, it still performs like a regular Switch. Back in the last years, the rumors about a Switch Pro reached their peak, but instead, we got the Nintendo Switch OLED. It’s a better model, but still the same Switch from 2017.
The Nintendo Switch, Switch Lite, and OLED have the same performance from 2017. In these years, the console got a lot of interesting games, and Nintendo proved all its magic powers by bringing impressive titles like Zelda Breath of The Wild, Mario Odyssey, and Smash Bros. The console also got some third-party AAA titles, but this always depended on a certain goodwill from the developers. Some studios did everything possible to bring their games to the portable console.
The effort of some developers gave birth to impressive ports like CD Projekt’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. However, most of the studios decided to stick with the cloud-based solution, which is not the best approach and kills the console’s main appeal – portability. With the new generation going on, the disparity between new games and the Switch hardware is getting bigger. As a result, a Nintendo Switch 2 with revamped hardware could improve things.
We expect the Nintendo Switch 2 to offer full compatibility with the current games. When the Nintendo Wii came out, the first models offered native backward compatibility with the Game Cube. The Wii U could also handle Wii games without issue. For obvious reasons, the Switch can’t run Wii U games. But with the Nintendo Switch 2 bearing a similar architecture, we expect it to offer backward compatibility.
When the Nintendo Switch 2 will be released?
The rumors about a new Nintendo Switch with revamped hardware reached their peak in 2021. While everyone was expecting a Nintendo Switch Pro model that could handle 4K games through DLSS and could even bring ray-tracing, we got the Switch (OLED). The improved model was launched in October 2021, two years after the Nintendo Switch Lite. To those unaware, the Lite has the same hardware but is a portable-only model. The fact is that Nintendo launched the first model in 2017, the Lite in 2019, and the OLED in 2021. There is a two-year gap between all these models. So if a new Nintendo Switch 2 is coming anytime soon, we have some reasons to believe in a late 2023 announcement. But right now, this is speculation for most of the info sources.
Reports already show that Nintendo is secretly working on something
Back in 2021, right after the OLED launch, Tokyo-based games industry analyst Serkan Toto told Bloomberg that Nintendo may be in the advanced stages of development for a “real upgrade”. This particular model could launch together with, or shortly following Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. The game is set to launch in May this year, and there is a huge expectation for it. If Breath of The Wild was the game that put the Switch in the spotlight, Tears of the Kingdom can do the same for the Nintendo Switch 2. At the same time, it could serve as a last goodbye for the current model.
When talking about the OLED, the analyst said “This new Switch looks more like an interim model than a real upgrade to me”. He added: “This might just be a dummy upgrade until Breath of the Wild 2 (Now, we know it’s Tears of the Kingdom) is ready and the component shortage is over next year”.
More evidence came when the tech experts of Digital Foundry decided to share some of their tidbits. Talking about one of the game’s trailers, Digital Foundry’s tech editor Richard Leadbitter noted that “The leap in image quality compared to the first title is stark”. The video producer Alex Battaglia started to argue that the game’s footage was not taken from a Switch at all. He said “I honestly don’t think it is a Switch Footage. We’ve seen volumetric clouds very rarely on Switch, and these don’t break down super obviously. Camera cuts also have perfect anti-aliasing, which is rare on consoles like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. So it could be the next Switch (Nintendo Switch 2)”.
A big party for Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom?
The analyst believes that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of The Kingdom could serve as the perfect title for the Nintendo Switch 2. The first game reached both the Switch and the Nintendo Wii U. And now, its sequel, could reach both the newer and older generations. As a result, we can spot the differences and benefits of a new generation.
Worth noting that, right now, Nintendo’s moves are not much in line with a Nintendo Switch 2 launch. Back in 2023, Bloomberg reported an increase in the production of Switch. It was to anticipate the launch of the next Zelda title. This is not the move you expect for a company that plans to launch a new generation unless it’s ordering new hardware. But it seems more likely that Nintendo wants more Switch models ready for the game. As per Japanese Nikkei, Nintendo will not release new hardware this financial year. That means that the Nintendo Switch 2 won’t come until the end of March.
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Nintendo says it’s coming in the next 77 years
As for Nintendo, it seems that the company’s latest investor note points to a new console launching in 20XX. Yeah, if we are up to speculating, then we can reduce the launch window for the next 77 years. Well, this is not to hint at the launch date, but it at least indicates new hardware is coming.
Possible Price of the Nintendo Switch 2
Of course, it’s not possible to point to the right price right now. But the regular model costs $299 and the OLED version costs $349. It all depends on what the Nintendo Switch 2 will have in tow. Will it bring a 4K-capable GPU? Will it get an OLED display? There are new features? If all these boxes are ticked, we can believe in a price hike. Moreover, the situation is different from 2017. It’s practically impossible to hit the former $299 price tag with new-gen hardware.
The Nintendo Switch 2 rumors gained traction earlier this year after a period of silence. The fact is that in 2021, we were getting a lot of leaks pointing to a new launch. However, the OLED model came and it was completely different. While the leaks have diminished in the past year, we still have the older leaks that did not come to fruition.
Older reports from Bloomberg claim that Nintendo “has looked into including more computing power and 4K high-definition graphics”. It quotes several anonymous third-party game developers who claim that “Nintendo has asked them to make their games 4K-ready”. Why? When the current models do not support 4K we assume that Nintendo is preparing the ground for a future release. In 2021, a Bloomberg report also pointed out that at least 11 game companies “ranging from large publishers to small studios” already had 4K Switch dev kits.
The Nintendo Switch OLED had some hints of 4K support. The console’s dock came with HDMI 2.0 offering 4K support. But we don’t think the console will ever get this unless some kind of DLSS tech comes in motion. The fact is that the Nvidia Tegra X1 chip is aging. It has 4K@60fps support, but when you take in mind the demanding Switch games, this is impossible. You could easily play with 4K resolution… at 5-20 fps. So it needs newer hardware.
The processing power for 4K could come from a new NVIDIA chip. After all these successful years, we expect Nintendo and Nvidia to stand with their partnership. The company may adopt a new chip that has DLSS support. It would do wonders for the Switch hardware. After all, the DLSS could deliver higher resolutions without sacrificing much of the GPU’s power. We don’t expect the Switch 2 to have the same graphical capabilities as a PS5 or Xbox Series X. However, thanks to the DLSS tech it may get a high resolution with a smooth frame rate. There is evidence from Nvidia code that points to an API named “nvn2” – This is big because the current Switch is named “NVN”.
A new Tegra chipset
The leak also references T234 – Tegra234. It’s the code for NVIDIA’s Orin System-on-Chip. There is also a reference for T239 which could be, in theory, a custom version of that chip. The leaks point to an 8-core chip, and that’s all. But we expect it to be a far upgrade over the Tegra K1.
The Nintendo Switch 2 may also bring other improvements in terms of design and features. We expect a bigger battery to handle the portable games, but the joy-cons may also bring upgrades. A patent in Japan, filed by Nintendo, indicates a pressure point for the Joy-Cons. The patent indicates a bend point for the new Joy-con. It could improve ergonomics after a long period of play. Of course, there is no confirmation. Patents are filed to keep intellectual property, but that doesn’t mean they will end up as final products.
5G Network support?
The Nintendo Switch is a portable console, but you still need to rely on Wi-Fi networks for internet connectivity. With the advent of 5G, it would be the perfect time for Nintendo to add cellular data to the console. Some rumors indicate that Nintendo could switch to a Qualcomm Snapdragon Gx chipset, but honestly, I can’t see this coming. However, the company could still bring one of Qualcomm’s 5G chips to the overall package. 5G would allow the Nintendo Switch 2 to play cloud-based games on the go without any issues. Of course, this is just speculation, but 5G could be a game-changer for this portable console.
Seriously Nintendo, it’s time for the Switch 2
Time is ticking and the Nintendo Switch already has a lot of issues to keep up with. Don’t get me wrong, it still runs its games without issue. But when we look at the future, we see it lagging behind the competition. Many new games are coming and the Switch can’t keep up with the PS5 and Xbox Series X. T
The console is still getting some AAA titles like Hogwarts Legacy. However, the development of such games usually takes longer than on other platforms. There are more rounds of optimizations and downgrades for some games to run on Switch. Also, for each AAA game that still reaches Switch, there is a long list of AAA titles that will never come. Of course, the Switch has some unique games that will never reach other platforms. However, just imagine if it was also capable of handling games like Dead Space Remake or Resident Evil 4 Remake. It could sell even more than the current model.
Also, there are some bold promises from Microsoft regarding Switch. Seeking support for its Activision deal, Microsoft confirmed COD on the Switch platform for the next few years. Will the games run natively or is Gamepass coming to Switch? Only time will tell, but seeing the Nintendo Switch 2 coming with the promise of Call of Duty games and the Gamepass portfolio would be massive.
The PS4 and Xbox One are saying goodbye, will the Switch keep up with the PS5 and Xbox Series X?
Right now, Nintendo keeps a low profile and everything is open to speculation. We have expectations for a Nintendo Switch 2 later this year. However, we will still need to wait. One thing is known, the current model is on life-support eagerly waiting for an upgrade. In 2023, the PS4 is saying goodbye and we expect the games to become more demanding. Switch players deserve something capable of running modern games without a lot of reverse engineering. Therefore, it’s damn about time for the Nintendo Switch 2.