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Did Nintendo just confirm it has nothing good left for 2024?

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The Nintendo Switch’s release calendar suggests that 2024 is going to be a tough year for Nintendo fans and the company basically admitted as much by withdrawing from Gamescom 2024.

Gamescom 2024 is possibly the biggest video game trade show in the world right now. The decline of E3 left a void in the calendar and the German expo has been actively looking to fill it. While the biggest sign of E3’s decline was the withdrawal of major publishers and hardware manufacturers from the show floor, Gamescom 2023 boasted a lineup that included Xbox, Ubisoft, Activision, and Epic Games, who showed off many of the biggest games of 2023 and early 2024.

Nintendo was among the first to bow out of E3 but it maintained a strong presence at Gamescom for years after, even appearing in the online version of the event in 2020 to show off Pokemon Legends: Arceus and Splatoon 3. In 2023, Nintendo had a stage at the event that included stations for both first-party titles such as Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and third-party games like Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown.

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But judging from a statement from Nintendo to Games Wirtschaft, the company will be bowing out of Gamescom 2024 entirely. That doesn’t bode well for Nintendo fans, and serves as a likely indication that the company simply doesn’t have anything to show off.

Why won’t Nintendo be at Gamescom 2024?

Nintendo didn’t explain why it will bow out of Gamescom 2024.

“After careful consideration, we decided not to participate in Cologne. Instead, players will be able to try out Nintendo Switch games as part of other events across Germany,” Nintendo UK said in a statement.

Nintendo walking away from Gamescom 2024 makes sense in the context of the void in Nintendo’s release calendar.

Nintendo has just three major first-party releases penned in for 2024 including Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, and Endless Ocean Luminous, all of which are ports of games from past platforms. There are two other officially confirmed games in Pokemon Legends Z-A and Metroid Prime 4. Pokemon Legends Z-A is pegged for a 2025 release, while there’s no release window of any kind yet for Metroid Prime 4.

The hope for Nintendo fans was that one of these games would be officially previewed at Gamescom 2024. If not, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time remake that series head Eiji Aonuma was oddly coy about, or the long-rumored Earthbound revival might have been featured. Unfortunately, none of that seems to be on the table.

Nintendo Switch has near-empty slate of games in 2024 as Switch 2 looms

With major releases likely on hold until the release of the Nintendo Switch 2, the only notable confirmed original Switch games are third-party, multi-platform releases.

The best-case scenario for Nintendo fans would be a Nintendo Switch 2 reveal during the summer. The console is reportedly slated for a March 2025 release and its official announcement will likely come in 2024 alongside the reveal of several new games. That, unfortunately, does little to change what’s on tap for 2024.

Barring a major curveball from Nintendo, the most realistic possibilities for surprise additions to this year’s release calendar are more ports and remasters for games like Metroid Prime 2 and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. There could also be some splashy additions to the Nintendo Switch Online game catalog, like the first two generations of Pokemon games for the Game Boy or SimCity for the SNES.

But as it stands, the only major releases for the Nintendo Switch in 2024 are third-party games such as Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, Shin Megami Tensei 5 Vengeance, and Little Nightmares 3. When it comes to first-party exclusives, the door might have closed with Princess Peach: Showtime.

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Written by Steven Rondina

Steven Rondina has been playing video games since he was a toddler and appreciates every genre out there. He has earned the platinum trophy in every Soulsborne game, is regularly Master Ball-ranked on the competitive Pokemon ladder, and has spent thousands of hours missing shots on Dust 2. His work has previously been featured by Bleacher Report and The Washington Post, and he was an Assistant Editor at WIN.gg. You can follow him on Twitter / X at @srondina.

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