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Nintendo Switch 2 will be as powerful as a PlayStation 4, per court documents

Obviously, this would still put the Switch 2 behind a PS5, but that doesn't matter.

Published onSeptember 18, 2023

Nintendo Switch Header 12
Curtis Joe / Android Authority
  • Court documents confirm that the Nintendo Switch 2 could be roughly as powerful as a PS4 or Xbox One.
  • The documents come from the ongoing Activision-Microsoft trial.
  • Chris Schnakenberg, head of Activision’s platform strategy and partner relations, is the person who made the PS4/XBO comparison.

At this point, we are relatively sure we will see a Nintendo Switch 2 launch in 2024. It probably will have a different name (I have high hopes for Nintendo to go with “Super Nintendo Switch”), but a next-gen hybrid console from Nintendo is almost certainly on the way.

But what can we expect from the new console regarding power and performance? Thanks to Activision (via The Verge), we may have a decent idea. Microsoft wants to buy Activision, but regulators are nervous about competition, so the courts are currently mulling it over. This deliberation has resulted in many heavily redacted Activision emails going public. One of them features Chris Schnakenberg — head of Activision’s platform strategy and partner relations — delivering a briefing of the “Switch NG” (Switch next generation) to Activision executives, including CEO Bobby Kotick. In this document, Schnakenberg explains that the Switch 2 is close to “Gen8 platforms in terms of performance” and that Activision could “make something compelling” given its “previous offerings on PS4/Xbox One.”

In other words, Schnakenberg is comparing the Nintendo Switch 2’s performance with that of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. He is then encouraging Activision executives to seriously consider creating games for it based on the company’s previous successes on those consoles.

This summary was based on Schnakenberg having a direct briefing with Nintendo in late 2022, so he would know better than most folks what Nintendo is brewing. Kotick would then use this document as a brief to prepare for a meeting with Nintendo CEO and president Shuntaro Furukawa on December 15, 2022. So yeah, we can probably trust this intel.

Nintendo Switch 2: Does it matter that it’s a generation behind?

The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One came out nearly ten years ago in 2013. They have since both been superseded by the PS5 and Xbox Series X, respectively. In 2024, this would put the Switch 2 way behind current-gen consoles.

However, this likely is of little concern to Nintendo. Remember that the hybrid nature of the Switch is one of the main reasons it became so popular, and there’s no way Nintendo could cram PS5-level power into a svelte handheld. Also, the Switch itself was a generation behind when it launched over six years ago, and it’s still chugging along fine. In the end, graphical power just isn’t that important to Nintendo.

What will be great about this uptick in performance will be the ability for third-party publishers to port modern games to the Nintendo Switch 2. Right now, the Nintendo Switch port of Mortal Kombat 1 is being lambasted by critics for being a complete disaster, mostly due to developer NetherRealm needing to “dumb down” the game significantly for it to work on the Switch’s hardware. Given that the PS4 is still an active console supporting 2023 AAA titles, the Switch 2 could make this problem a thing of the past — for at least a few years after it launches, anyway.

Besides, Nintendo always has its library to lean on. You’re only ever going to be able to play Mario, Zelda, Pokémon, Donkey Kong, and Metroid games on Nintendo consoles, so how graphically powerful the Switch 2 is likely isn’t going to matter for sales.

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