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Nintendo Switch 2 rumors: Everything we know so far and what we want to see
Update, November 7, 2023 (02:40 PM ET): We’ve updated this Nintendo Switch 2 rumor hub with new statements from Shuntaro Furukawa on prominent online rumors.
Original article: Even if you love it and still use it daily, there’s no denying that the Nintendo Switch is getting old. Launched in 2017, the hybrid console celebrated its sixth birthday in March 2023, which means it’s getting close to retirement. With this in mind, one can’t help but wonder: where is the sequel, presumably called the Nintendo Switch 2?
Thankfully, there have been some rumors surrounding the sequel to Nintendo’s best-selling home console. We’ve rounded up the most trustworthy of them here. Towards the end of the article, we also have a few wishlist items — things we hope to see, but don’t have any evidence for quite yet.
Will there be a Nintendo Switch 2?
The Nintendo Switch is the company’s best-selling home console ever, with over 125 million units shipped to date. The only hardware Nintendo has released that has done better than the Switch is the Nintendo DS, which sold 154 million units. When you take this popularity into account, you can be relatively assured there will be a Nintendo Switch 2.
In a roundabout manner, the company has acknowledged new Switch-like hardware is on the way. As recently as June 27, 2023, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa confirmed that your current Nintendo Account would transfer to “the next-generation console.” This is notable because the Nintendo Account debuted with the Switch. That should mean all your information — and maybe even your Switch game library — should work on whatever comes next.
Unfortunately, whatever comes next is totally up in the air. On March 13, 2023, Nintendo’s head for the United States, Doug Bowser, discussed the success of the Switch and its possible sequel with the Associated Press. Here’s what he had to say:
As we enter the seventh year for the Nintendo Switch, sales are still strong. I think we still have a very, very strong lineup coming. As [Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa] said recently, we’re entering uncharted territory with the platform. It’s exciting to see that demand is still there. So nothing to announce on any future console or device, but we are still feeling very bullish about Nintendo Switch. I should be careful about what I personally would like to see [in a new Switch]. But what I can share is that one of the reasons that even going into year seven we feel very confident that the Switch can have a strong performance over the next few years is that it is still truly that unique device that you can play in a variety of ways, at home, on the go.
Bowser makes it very clear that the company is still hyper-focused on the original Switch. Remember, though, that this doesn’t necessarily negate the idea of a Nintendo Switch 2. The PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 have simultaneous support, a strategy that Nintendo could adopt, too (it’s done this before many times). In other words, it could simultaneously release games for the Switch and the Switch 2, with some games/features only working on the latest hardware. Eventually, it would phase out the original Switch and solely focus on the sequel.
Eurogamer reported on September 7 that Nintendo showcased the Switch 2 to developers behind closed doors at Gamescom. The outlet claimed that the firm showed a number of tech demos, including a higher resolution and frame rate version of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild. But it stressed that there was no hint that this game would be re-released.
It was also reported by VGC that Nintendo showed off Epic’s The Matrix Awakens Unreal Engine 5 tech demo, which was originally released to showcase the power of the PS5 and Xbox Series X. This doesn’t mean that the Switch 2 is as powerful as these consoles, however. The report says that the Switch 2 was relying on NVIDIA’s DLSS technology with advanced ray tracing enabled to upscale the resolution to the same level as current-gen consoles.
For the record, Shuntaro Furukawa shot down these rumors in November while speaking with the Japanese publication Mainichi. Specifically, Furukawa says the rumors are “inaccurate” and “untrue.” Take that as you will.
Will it be called ‘Nintendo Switch 2’ or something else?
Sony sticks to a reliable naming scheme for its consoles. The first PlayStation was followed up by a PlayStation 2. After that, we saw a PS3 and a PS4. Even today, the newest console is the Sony PlayStation 5. It’s all very logical and reliable.
Nintendo doesn’t go this route. In fact, since the launch of the original Nintendo Entertainment System in 1983, there has never been a “2” in a Nintendo console’s name. That includes handheld consoles as well. So, the likelihood of a sequel to the Switch landing with the official name of Nintendo Switch 2 is relatively low.
However, the Nintendo Switch is unlike anything the company has done before. Its ability to act as both a home console and a handheld sets it apart from Nintendo’s historical roster, and its runaway success has created some serious brand recognition for the word “Switch.” It’s possible the company could keep things simple and call the sequel a Switch 2. We think this won’t happen, though, and Nintendo will do something else. Some possible names could be Super Nintendo Switch, New Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Pro, or something really off the beaten path.
When might the Nintendo Switch 2 release date be?
So, when is the Nintendo Switch 2 coming out? Nintendo hasn’t confirmed that a Switch 2 is even in the planning stages. As such, it’s impossible to determine when it could launch a sequel to the original Switch.
The original Switch launched on March 3, 2017. About 2.5 years later, the Nintendo Switch Lite launched on September 20, 2019. Less than two years after that, the Nintendo Switch OLED Model launched on July 6, 2021. Clearly, Nintendo launched new Switch hardware every two years, give or take. One would’ve assumed that 2023 would be the next big year, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
During an earnings call discussing the fiscal year ending March 2023, executives confirmed there would be no new Switch hardware in the next fiscal year. That means Nintendo will not launch a Switch 2 until after March 2024. Of course, Nintendo is incredibly secretive, so this could be deflection. It wouldn’t be the first time the company said it would/wouldn’t do something and then went back on that statement.
However, a more recent rumor stemming from VGC also supports the idea of a 2024 launch for the Nintendo Switch 2. This information comes in tandem with sources suggesting that developer kits have been sent to key partner studios. If that’s true, a 2023 launch is out of the question.
Eurogamer corroborated claims of a 2024 launch, asserting that the console will launch in the latter part of the year. It added, however, that Nintendo wanted to launch the Switch 2 “as soon as possible.”
In October 2023, it was discovered that the original Switch launch trailer Nintendo posted on its YouTube channel was taken down, suggesting some news could be imminent. The company has done this before to clear the way for a release-related announcement for previous consoles. But it’s more likely that the video was taken down for a music licensing issue.
What features and specs could the Nintendo Switch 2 have?
We don’t expect Nintendo to reinvent the wheel with a Switch sequel. The original Switch is a massive hit and a cultural touchstone. Nintendo hopefully won’t mess with this success. As with the jump from the Nintendo DS to the Nintendo 3DS, we expect the company to keep the core of what the Switch is and make it better rather than wildly revamping things as it tried to do from the Wii to the Wii U.
A new design?
The above patent images were filed by Nintendo in November 2022 and first spotted by GameRant. They appear to show a 3DS-inspired design for a handheld console. Like a 3DS, it has two displays — an upper and a lower. Additionally, there is an exterior display, which would undoubtedly be a unique addition to a gaming handheld.
Additionally, the patent shows the two halves of the console separating. This would also be a very unique design element. But why? Why would having two halves make any sense? Maybe for two-player games? It’s unclear from the limited amount of information we have thus far.
However, don’t assume that this patent image references the design for the Nintendo Switch 2. Companies patent things all the time “just in case,” with only a tiny number ever making it to the final product stage. The only thing that suggests this patent could be Switch-related is the timing. If Nintendo filed this in late 2022, that would make it right around the time the company probably started finalizing plans for the Switch sequel.
For now, though, we assume that the Switch 2 will look nearly identical to the original Switch.
Whenever Nintendo switches (pun intended) to a new console, those consoles tend to have their own account systems. So unlike PlayStation and Xbox, where players carry their accounts over from generation to generation, Nintendo players typically have to create a new account. But that won’t be the case for the Switch’s successor.
Nintendo of America boss Doug Bowser spoke with Inverse about the Switch’s future in October. While he didn’t confirm or deny the existence of a Switch 2, Bowser did talk about making the transition easier by allowing accounts to carry over to whatever comes next.
“Well, first, I can’t comment — or I won’t comment, I should say — on the rumors that are out there,” Bowser told the publication. “But one thing we’ve done with the Switch to help with that communication and transition is the formation of the Nintendo Account.” He then said that the new overarching Nintendo Account would “allow us to communicate with our players if and when we make a transition to a new platform, to help ease that process or transition.”
As for why Nintendo is embracing this change of approach, Bowser stated:
“Our goal is to minimize the dip you typically see in the last year of one cycle and the beginning of another. I can’t speak to the possible features of a new platform, but the Nintendo Account is a strong basis for having that communication as we make the transition.”
So, it appears whenever the Switch 2 — or whatever the next console is — comes out, you’ll still have the same account as you did with the original Switch.
A better processor
Inevitably, the Nintendo Switch 2 would need to be more powerful than the original. The need for better CPU/GPU performance is painfully evident for Switch games like Pokémon Scarlet/Violet, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, and even The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. These titles sap so much from the Switch’s meager processor that dropped frames, glitches, and even outright crashes are common.
As such, we are confident Nintendo would include an upgraded processor with a Switch sequel. The system on a chip (SoC) in the Switch is based on the Tegra X1, which NVIDIA launched in 2015. We’d expect Nintendo to repeat this strategy for the Switch 2 and base its next-gen SoC on another, newer NVIDIA product. Keeping hardware similar would make backward compatibility easier and prevent third-party developers from needing to adapt to a new architecture.
The Switch sequel will almost certainly get a better processor with backward compatibility.
Nintendo would also need to finely balance performance with power consumption due to the ostensibly portable nature of the Switch 2. Then again, it can’t afford to go too conservative as it did with the Wii U, as a lack of horsepower was one of the reasons why it became the firm’s worst-selling home console.
Thankfully, a rumor suggests Nintendo could answer all our prayers in this regard. Unfortunately, the rumor stems from a shaky source — 4chan — so take it all with a huge grain of salt. Regardless, the rumor states that Nintendo and NVIDIA could be working on the next Switch’s processor, tentatively known as T239. Allegedly, this processor is capable of 4K output using HDMI 2.1. It would support backward compatibility with the original Switch’s library and could even upscale those games.
Most interestingly, though, is the rumor that the T239 can be programmed by game developers to be either better for performance or battery life. In other words, a developer could choose to sap every ounce of power from the chip for a graphically demanding game (which would churn through battery life) or tone things down for processing and make battery life the focus. This would make a lot of sense as some Switch games really need a processing boost, while others don’t. That ability to choose would be a killer feature.
Most recently, we’ve heard that the performance of the Nintendo Switch 2 could be on par with a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. This comes from an Activision employee with direct knowledge of Nintendo’s plans, which came to light through heavily redacted documents unearthed for the Activision-Microsoft litigation. This makes us feel pretty confident that the Switch 2 will be much more powerful than the original.
Other possible Nintendo Switch 2 specs
Outside of the SoC, we’d expect the Switch 2 to come with the same or better specs as the original Switch. Note that we’re not saying the Switch OLED here. It doesn’t look like there will be total parity between that model and the Switch 2.
For example, there is some evidence that Nintendo could skip the OLED panel in 2024. According to Bloomberg, Sharp is working on LCD panels for an upcoming “gaming console.” Sharp makes the LCD panels for the current Switch and Switch Lite, so it’s very possible these LCDs are for a Switch 2. If so, the Switch 2 could be more like the original Switch than the Switch OLED. Of course, Sharp could be working on a wholly different gaming console, so this one is up in the air. But VGC’s sources, in the report mentioned earlier, back this up by saying Nintendo may opt for an LCD panel to save on costs.
To supplement its lack of lower compared to Sony and Microsoft’s consoles, it’s possible Nintendo could turn to NVIDIA’s DLSS upscaling technology. As mentioned earlier, Nintendo showed off a demo to developers where DLSS was used to help a game perform to the level of the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Unfortunately, with zero confirmation from Nintendo that a Switch 2 is even in the pipeline, we don’t have many other rumored features to discuss. Head down further into this article for our wishlist features.
What could the Nintendo Switch 2 price be?
One reason for the runaway success of the original Switch is its price. At $299, it is significantly less expensive than a PlayStation 5 and the same price as an Xbox Series S. However, that does not mean the Switch 2 would be priced similarly.
If Nintendo does keep the original Switch in production when it launches a follow-up console — which is very possible considering Nintendo’s official statements on its continuing support for the original Switch — it could easily justify charging more for the Switch 2. For example, Nintendo could price a Switch 2 at $399. That’s still $100 less than an Xbox Series X and the same price as the original digital-only version of the PlayStation 5 (the slimmed-down version of the digital PS5 is getting a price increase). The success of the Switch has perhaps earned Nintendo the right to charge more, especially if it sees a ton of spec upgrades.
If you think about it, that hypothetical $399 price would make a lot of sense. On the low end, you’d have the Switch Lite at $199. The original Switch would remain at $299, and the Switch OLED Model would be an upsell at its current price of $349. The Switch 2 could top the list as the newest and best model. Of course, Nintendo could make the Switch 2 feel more premium by eliminating the original Switch and dropping the Switch OLED Model to $299, too.
Regardless, we do not expect the Switch 2 to cost the same as the original at launch since both products will likely exist simultaneously. We might see price drops for existing Switch models, but the Switch 2 is going to be better and more powerful, so there’s a good chance it will be more expensive.
Nintendo Switch 2: What we want to see
A performance-boosting dock
The Switch’s dock is incredibly simplistic. Really, it’s just a plastic box with an HDMI adapter attached. The Switch OLED model slightly increases complexity by incorporating an Ethernet port, but it’s still just an adapter box. We’d love to see the Nintendo Switch 2 have a dock that also increases the power of the Switch itself.
The dock could act the same way as an eGPU, boosting the graphical abilities of the Switch when it’s connected. This could allow for higher refresh rates, higher resolutions (4K please!), better audio, etc., when playing the Switch 2 on your television. When you take it out of the dock to use it in handheld mode, the performance would drop — but it wouldn’t matter on that tiny screen. Obviously, this would increase the cost of the Switch 2 significantly, but it would make the console so much better. Even if this is a “Dock Pro” that’s sold separately, we’d love to see Nintendo do this.
Support for higher refresh rates
Whether playing on your TV or in handheld mode, all three current Switch models are capped at 60Hz. The Xbox Series X/S and the PlayStation 5 — both three years old at this point — support higher refresh rates. Even budget Android smartphones have 90Hz displays nowadays, so Nintendo needs to get with the times. We’d love to see 90Hz in handheld mode and 120Hz when docked. This would make the Switch 2 more of a modern console and would make it more future-proof. It would also help differentiate the Switch 2 and the original Switch models, as well as give it a leg up over Valve’s 60Hz-capped Steam Deck when not docked.
Without a doubt, the weakest aspect of the original Switch is the Joy-Con controllers. The rumble tech is cool, and the multiple control options are neat, but the stubby sticks, questionable ergonomics, and cheap, tiny buttons leave much to be desired when using the Switch on the go. Nintendo probably isn’t going to reinvent the wheel with a Switch 2, so the sequel console will probably have Joy-Con that are very similar in design to the originals. But there’s a ton of room for improvement there. Besides, Nintendo would need to avoid the “Joy-Con drift” debacle that still pervades to this day with Switch hardware. Once again, this could also be a simple differentiator for why the Switch 2 is more expensive than other Switch models.
Have any Nintendo Switch 2 leaks to share with us? Send us a tip, and we’ll check it out.