With the launch of the seemingly quite impressive Steam Deck, as well as an Nvidia leak that supposedly includes an “NVN2” folder (NVN being the graphics API specifically made for the original Switch), talk of the Switch 2 (or Super Switch, Switch Pro, New Switch XL or whatever crazy combination Nintendo will use to name the hybrid console’s successor) has started up again. It’s a rumour/prediction that we’ve seen for several years now and you’re probably tired of hearing about it. Interestingly, just before the OLED launched last year everyone was pretty much sure Nintendo was about to announce a new, more powerful console. And yet, as is Nintendo’s custom – they went in a different direction; Providing only a slightly updated console with a bolder, brighter screen and some quality of life design improvements. Not the big upgrade many had imagined.
So, how far away are we from getting a Switch 2? Will we even be getting a Switch 2?
Nintendo does what – everyone else – do(es)n’t!
Well, first we have Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa’s statement from February saying the Switch was only ‘mid-way through it’s life cycle’. Of course, this remark must be taken with a pinch of salt. You’re likely not going to say your console is ‘on it’s way out’ before you’re good and ready to announce the new one – especially when you’re talking to investors. However, the ‘mid-way’ comment does make it seem like the current Switch has some legs yet. And this year’s packed release calendar still includes a new Kirby game, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe DLC (which will run until the end of 2023), Mario Strikers: Battle League, Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp, Nintendo Switch Sports not to mention new mainline Pokémon games, Splatoon 3 and (apparently) the Breath of the Wild sequel too! Plus, you probably wouldn’t want to send out a new console too soon after the OLED – so as not to anger early adopters. So, I wouldn’t expect anything this year.
So, does that mean there’s no chance for a Switch 2? Well, no.
There’s no doubt design or at least planning for a new system began almost as soon as the Switch hit store shelves. So, the questions are: How far in the development cycle is the new console? And what kind of console can we expect?
This first question a tricky one – especially given COVID-related delays and the continued success of the Switch. However, the second I think is a little more straightforward. Yes, Nintendo often likes to mix things up. In fact, their creativity and willingness to try something ‘a little different’ is what gave the world the GameCube, the Wii and even the Switch. However, rather than flex their oddball ingenuity on some brand new hardware idea (and possibly land up with another Wii U) I suspect this time we’ll see a more conventional upgrade; A more processing & graphically powerful Switch – with the creativity coming more from interesting software and peripherals like LABO and Ring Fit Adventure. In fact, if they go this route and produce a console with the ability to play current Switch titles, they basically kill two birds with one stone : One, maintain their currently huge audience (we all know how good Nintendo is at getting us to buy their consoles/software multiple times (see the DS and 3DS)). And two, make it a little easier for all those third-party developers to port PS5, Series X gen games to the Switch.
Super Switch – not super soon
That being said, we all know Nintendo stopped competing directly with Sony & Microsoft a long time ago. For ages, their hardware has struggled to match up with anything the PlayStation and Xbox’s consoles could do in terms of tech specs. And yet, Nintendo’s loyal fan base, string of great first-party titles and obviously different market segment means that even 5 years into it’s lifecycle the Switch is still selling fantastically well. And, at least for now (possibly until the Steam Deck becomes more ubiquitous), their hybrid console continues to feel unique and relevant.
Nintendo therefore probably has some time to decide what their options are and I wouldn’t be surprised if any new console is only announced sometime in 2023, with the launch even a the year later.
What do you think? Will we be seeing the Switch 2 anytime soon?
A version of this features was first written for nag.co.za