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Nintendo Switch 2: All that we know about Nintendo’s new console

Nintendo Switch OLED Model, Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom edition

The Nintendo Switch already ranks as one of the best-selling video game consoles in history, but the release of a New Nintendo Switch or a Nintendo Switch 2 is an inevitability.

Nintendo hit a much-needed home run with the Switch after the epic struggles of the Wii U. The console has sold remarkably well and boasts a slew of high-quality exclusives, but its limited specs were immediately obvious. This has left fans wondering when a Nintendo Switch 2 or Switch Pro might be coming.

There have long been signs that something is in the works, and there are some key details out there about what a New Nintendo Switch might end up looking like and what might be included. Here’s what is known about the console and what fans can expect from the platform.

Is the Nintendo Switch 2 coming?

A Nintendo Switch 2 is coming. In July 2023, the company reportedly shipped devkits for a new piece of gaming hardware to multiple studios.

The next-gen Nintendo console will be a completely new platform and not a mid-generation update like the PlayStation 4 Pro or New Nintendo 3DS. This comes despite years of reports, rumors, and fan speculation regarding a “Nintendo Switch Pro.”

In 2021, Nintendo responded to a series of reports that a Nintendo Switch Pro was in development. The company categorically denied the reports, but worded this in a way that left the door open for a new console. No official news has come out regarding a Switch 2 but given the fact that the Nintendo Switch launched in 2017, it eventually became clear that a successor was more likely than an upgraded version.

As for when it might be revealed, insiders speculate that Nintendo could confirm a Nintendo Switch 2 in late 2023 or early 2024. Giant Bomb’s Jeff Grubb said in February 2022 that he heard chatter of a successor being revealed later in the year. Nintendo’s light list of major releases for Q4 2023 and Q1 2024 tracks with this.

Nintendo told shareholders that it had no intentions of releasing a new platform during its 2023-2024 fiscal year. The fiscal year ends March 31, 2024.

When will the Nintendo Switch 2 come out?

The Nintendo Switch 2 will come out in Q3 or Q4 2024.  

Nintendo has yet to confirm the existence of a new Switch console, but reports have circulated that studios received devkits for a Switch 2 in July 2023. This comes despite the fact that Nintendo increased production of new Switch units throughout the year. 

This isn’t necessarily unusual as sales for a console can remain strong for a long while after its successor is launched. With the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo produced new units until September 2020. This was more than a year after the handheld’s last major release in Western markets, Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth.

While Nintendo has acknowledged that Switch sales have slowed, the platform is still moving units and selling games. The enormous success of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a testament to that.

Nintendo has multiple major releases slated through the end of 2023, including Pikmin 4, the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet: Hidden Treasures of Area Zero DLC, and the Super Mario RPG remake. In 2024 it will release a remake of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, and Princess Peach: Showtime. Though the company has previously released new games for newly past-gen hardware, it will want to give its many major releases space to breathe.

Is Nintendo discontinuing the Switch?

Nintendo is not discontinuing production of the Nintendo Switch and likely won’t nix the console any time soon. Production of new Switch units continues and may continue for years to come.

For its successful pieces of gaming hardware, Nintendo maintained production long after the rollout of a successor. Even the Nintendo Wii U was in production until shortly before the Nintendo Switch was released.

With how successful the Nintendo Switch has been, odds are it will be handled in a similar way to the Nintendo 3DS. People will likely be able to purchase a brand-new Switch for years to come.

Will there be multiple Nintendo Switch 2 models?

Reports have stated that there will be multiple versions of the Nintendo Switch 2 at launch. This is unusual for Nintendo. While the company pioneered the idea of “refreshing” gaming hardware with new versions like the Game Boy Pocket and Nintendo DS Lite, it has never released multiple new iterations of gaming hardware at the same time or at launch.

xbox series x and s models

While this is a first for Nintendo, it’s a direction the whole gaming industry is moving in. The PlayStation 5 launched with two versions; one that had a disk drive and one that could only play digital games. The Xbox Series consoles went a step further, with the Series X having a disk drive and higher specs while the cheaper Series S had no disk drive and lower specs.

If this proves true, it’s unclear what the differences will be between the two models. Speculation is that it will be similar to the PlayStation 5 approach with one able to accept cartridges while the other can only play digital games. Backwards compatibility has also been the subject of discussion, with questions swirling about whether one, both, or neither will be able to play games from the original Nintendo Switch.

How much will the Nintendo Switch 2 cost?

The Nintendo Switch 2 will reportedly cost $400 or $450 at launch, depending on which version is purchased.

While the specs and capabilities of the new Nintendo Switch are unconfirmed, estimates put it on similar footing with the Steam Deck. The Steam Deck is a portable gaming PC produced by Steam developer Valve which has specs that are roughly comparable to a PlayStation 4 with handheld gaming capabilities. There are three models of Steam Deck which start at $400, though each model has identical specs.

The Switch successor could potentially be cheaper or more expensive than this, however. The Xbox Series S boasts significantly higher specs than what the Switch 2’s estimates, but costs just $300. The Switch 2 is also expected to have a much better form factor than the Steam Deck alongside a variety of features that could allow it to perform better than either of these competitors.

Leaks based on SKUs suggest that there will be two versions of the Switch 2 with prices starting at $400. Plans could change from Nintendo, but this price point is realistic given the state of the industry and prices of competitors.

What are the Nintendo Switch 2’s specs?

The Nintendo Switch’s specs are set to be comparable to the PlayStation 4.

Nintendo wound up as part of the FTC lawsuit against Microsoft for its acquisition of World of Warcraft, Candy Crush, and Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard. Activision and Nintendo agreed to a 10-year partnership that will see Call of Duty games produced for Nintendo consoles. Prior to this deal, the last Call of Duty game on a Nintendo platform was Call of Duty: Ghosts for the Wii U.

Internal documents and emails that were submitted to the courts were leaked online. This included estimated specs for the Nintendo Switch 2, which were discussed by key figures in Activision Blizzard. The exact details were not included but those within the company expressed excitement regarding the new console and indicated confidence in their ability to create compelling games due to the stronger hardware.

There have also been unconfirmed reports of the Switch 2 having built-in deep learning super sampling capabilities. DLSS allows games to render graphics at a lower resolution that is upscaled using AI, which in turn provides better performance without a drop in visual fidelity. In theory, this could allow games on the Switch 2 to have graphics comparable to their PS5 or Xbox Series X/S counterparts despite having comparatively weaker hardware.

Is the Nintendo Switch 2 as strong as PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S?

The Nintendo Switch 2 will not have specs that are comparable to the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S consoles

The Nintendo Switch had specs comparable to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 despite launching after the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. That is set to be the case once again with the Nintendo Switch 2 being equivalent to the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One despite competing against their successors, the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.

ps5 slim original size differences
The PS5 Slim and original PS5 models.

The Switch 2 will reportedly be able to make up the difference to some degree through other means. Multiple leakers have stated that the Switch 2 will have DLSS functionality that will improve its graphical performance in a way that keeps it from feeling as outdated as the Switch throughout its lifespan. This has not been confirmed by Nintendo.

What features will the Nintendo Switch 2 have?

Improved hardware capable of DLSS, 4K or 8K support, and better Bluetooth are among the improvements that are potentially in store for a Nintendo Switch successor.

Though the Nintendo Switch has been a smash hit, the console has long been underwhelming from a technical standpoint. The Switch was in between the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in terms of its GPU and processing power, but is considerably weaker than the current-gen PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles. Games like Pokemon Scarlet and Violet struggled to offer a current-generation experience on the Nintendo Switch’s limited hardware.

Alongside the low specs, the Nintendo Switch has a number of other technical shortcomings that prevent it from taking advantage of many modern electronics.

The Nintendo Switch’s WiFi chip has the same speed whether it is connected to a 5.0 GHz or 2.4 GHz router, and its memory card reader can’t take advantage of the extra speed afforded by U3 memory cards, meaning there’s no reason to have anything better than a U1. It also struggles to use more than one Bluetooth device at a time. Both of these ought to be remedied in the next Nintendo Switch iteration.

Perhaps most importantly, the Nintendo Switch has a maximum resolution of 1080p when docked, which isn’t ideal when 4K TVs have become the norm and 8K TVs are becoming commonplace. Even if the Switch 2 can’t match the specs of modern consoles, Nintendo shouldn’t do the same thing it did with the HD-free Nintendo Wii.

Will the Nintendo Switch 2 be backwards compatible?

It is unknown whether the Nintendo Switch 2 will be backwards compatible with the original Switch.

Nintendo has a generally positive history when it comes to backwards compatibility for its gaming platforms. The Nintendo Wii was able to play Gamecube games, the DS had a second cartridge slot for Game Boy Advance games, and the 3DS could play both 3DS and DS games. The Nintendo Switch was the first Nintendo platform since the Gamecube to have no compatibility with games from previous hardware.

The Nintendo DS Lite’s Game Boy Advance cartridge slot.

According to reports and leaks, not all versions of the Nintendo Switch 2 will have backwards compatibility. There are reports that some will but it’s possible that some Switch 2 models may not have backwards compatibility available and whether backwards compatibility might be limited to just digital copies of games.

Should you get the Switch 2 digital version?

A digital-only Nintendo Switch 2 is likely a strong value proposition for those who just don’t bother with physical games anymore

While a large chunk of the gaming populace bristles at the notion of not owning physical copies of games, a sizable segment of the gaming population just doesn’t bother with them anymore. That’s especially understandable on Nintendo Switch, where games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Splatoon 3 are well-suited for short sessions such that regular cartridge swapping could be a hassle.

The digital-only PS5 has no disk drive, only playing games downloaded through the PlayStation Store.

Gamers who don’t worry about having an actual cartridge or disk for their games can probably just pick up the digital version and save themselves a bit of money. The “probably” stems from uncertainty regarding backwards compatibility on the Nintendo Switch 2. It’s possible that this won’t be supported on both versions of the console and those who already have a large digital library will want to wait for confirmation on this before committing to a pre-order.

Will there be a Nintendo Switch Pro?

There will not be a Nintendo Switch Pro. The company is instead pivoting to a brand new piece of portable gaming hardware.

nintendo switch family of consoles

While mid-generation console upgrades have become the norm thanks to the New Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation 4 Pro, the Nintendo Switch never received one. Nintendo released the Nintendo Switch Lite and the Switch OLED Model, but neither of these had greater processing power or extra control options. The Switch Lite was smaller and lighter weight thanks to the removal of a docked mode, while the OLED Model had a bigger and better screen for those who played it as a handheld.

Nintendo has been vehement that it will not be releasing a “Switch Pro” or “Switch Plus” with improved hardware. Instead, Nintendo fans will have to wait for a totally new console in 2024.

Will there be Pokemon games on the Nintendo Switch 2?

Pokemon, Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and other major Nintendo franchises will all see releases on the Switch 2.

It is unknown what games will be included on the Nintendo Switch 2 at launch. Fans can reasonably expect all major Nintendo franchises to end up on the platform at some point, Pokemon included.

pokemon scarlet and violet hisuian arcanine
Pokemon Violet on the Nintendo Switch.

Pokemon could be in line to be one of the first major franchises to appear on the console, though. Mainline Pokemon games have essentially come out on an annual basis, except for years when DLC is released. Those titles have almost always dropped in November.

This could mean that a Pokemon game is available at launch for the Nintendo Switch 2 or comes out very early in its lifespan. This is far from guaranteed, however. Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon came out on the 3DS after the Switch’s release. The Pokemon Company acts independently of Nintendo on some level, so it may want to publish games on platforms with a larger installed user base.
Regardless, it’s highly likely that a new Pokemon game will come out around the same time as the reported Switch 2 release dates. Precedent suggests that it will be something based on Pokemon Black and White. Until then, players will need to keep themselves busy filling out the Pokedex for the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet DLC.

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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.

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