Rumors of a Nintendo Switch 2 console have been circulating for some time now. Things have been heated ever since the launch of the Nintendo Switch OLED model, which wasn't exactly the Nintendo Switch Pro that we were waiting for. As the console is now in its sixth year of market availability, here's everything we're hoping for from the sequel system.
For as much as we love the innovations brought by the Nintendo Switch OLED, such as a vastly brighter and more vivid screen and double the internal storage, it didn't fix the console's biggest problem. The Nintendo Switch is a great system, there's little debate on that, but now so many years after its original 2017 release, it's really starting to show its age. That's why the Nintendo Switch 2 is needed so that Nintendo Switch games can run better with enhanced longevity.
Now, Nintendo has been a step behind the other console manufacturers in terms of hardware power, and it's been this way since the days of the Nintendo 64. In 2023, it's still just as true as the Nintendo Switch pales in comparison to what's possible from the PS5 and Xbox Series X. These consoles are capable of pumping out 4K visuals, so it stands to reason that we could see the Nintendo Switch 2 embrace the higher resolution, even if the likes of ray tracing is off the table.
Nintendo Switch 2: cut to the chase
- What is it? The successor to the Nintendo Switch console
- How much will it cost? TBA
- When will it release? TBA
Nintendo Switch 2: release date
The Nintendo Switch 2 has yet to be announced, but if we were to take an educated guess, it's looking like the successor to the Nintendo Switch could be announced sometime this year. That's because the Switch was released in 2017 after being announced in October 2016. As the Nintendo Switch is pushing six years old now, it would make sense given past trends to release a follow-up now.
Originally it was heavily rumored that the Nintendo Switch Pro was scheduled for release sometime in 2021. What resulted was the Nintendo Switch OLED model, which while sporting a flashier screen and minor improvements, contained the same hardware (the Tegra X1 chip) from the 2017 original model. This chip was actually first produced and released all the way back in 2015, meaning it's now close to eight years old.
Nintendo Switch Pro: price
We can estimate the price of the Nintendo Switch 2 by casting our minds back to the original console hardware launches as a reference. The Nintendo Switch carries an MSRP of $259.99 / £259.99 / AUD$435, with the newer Nintendo Switch OLED having a sticker price of $349.99 / £309.99 / AU$539.95. Given that the Nintendo Switch 2 should feature significantly improved hardware, as well as a better higher resolution screen, the asking price is likely to be higher, too.
We can look at the current market prices for the PS5 and Xbox Series X to work out an average. Those consoles sell for $499.99 / £479.99 / AU$799.95 and $499 / £449 / AU$749 respectively. Historically, Nintendo sells weaker but cheaper gaming hardware when compared to the competition, which would put the asking price for the Nintendo Switch 2 around $399.99 / £399.99 / AU$699.95 to keep the competitive edge. We'll be updating you with the official pricing information when a successor system is announced, which hopefully won't be too long.
Nintendo Switch 2: rumored specifications
There's been no end of rumors about what a Nintendo Switch 2 could offer, and most suggest it'll support 4K resolutions. A report by Bloomberg alleged that Nintendo is asking developers to make their Nintendo Switch games 4K-ready, adding weight to previous rumors that Nintendo has a resolution upgrade up its sleeve with a 4K-ready upgraded Switch console.
Bloomberg also claimed that 11 game studios had access to an official development kit that featured 4K support. Reportedly, the console was apparently shelved due to supply issues caused by the ongoing global semiconductor shortage, though it could still be released.
Nintendo, however, moved swiftly to deny these claims. In a post on Twitter, Nintendo said that Bloomberg's report "falsely claims that Nintendo is supply tools to drive game developers for a Nintendo Switch with 4K support" the company went on to say, "we have no plans for any new model other than Nintendo Switch OLED Model."
It's worth noting, though, that Bloomberg's report most notably corresponds with a recent report from the Economic Daily News (opens in new tab), which cited various hardware manufacturers responsible for the Switch’s flash storage and Joy-Con controllers and claimed that a more powerful Nintendo Switch console with upgraded interactivity and improved display quality could go into production.
Some rumors suggested we may see a mini-LED display replace the current LCD screen. According to a report from Taiwan’s Economic Daily News (opens in new tab), the still-rumored Switch Pro model could sport mini-LED screens supplied by Innolux, a well-known manufacturer in the field. The original Switch and Switch Lite consoles use an HD (720p) LCD screen, though the Switch OLED naturally uses an OLED option. If a new Switch console did have 4K capability, we imagine it'd be in docked mode, with handheld mode offering a slightly-boosted Full HD (1080p) display.
Elsewhere, a data miner known as SciresM has claimed (via Wccftech (opens in new tab)) that they have found a reference to a new Nintendo Switch model within the Switch’s latest firmware update, codenamed 'Aula'. Reportedly, this hardware uses the same chip as the Nintendo Switch Lite and 2019 Switch model, the Mariko (Tegra X1+) SoC. However, SciresM also claims that there are references to support a Realtek chip, a “4K UHD multimedia SoC”.
Rather than being within the Switch tablet, they think it “might be inside a new dock and not inside the tablet, though there’s no way to tell from the firmware code yet.” They also say that the tablet will have an improved OLED screen, though its resolution is still unclear. The claims of some 4K support do line up with the many other reports from the past year, which claim that an upgraded Switch capable of 4K is on the horizon.
More recently, we've seen further Nintendo Switch Pro rumors thanks to Nvidia. A leak posted to the r/GamingLeaksandRumours (opens in new tab) subreddit "confirms" the existence of the Tegra239 SoC (system on a chip). Reportedly, that's being designed specifically for an upcoming Nintendo Switch model, which could be for the Nintendo Switch 2.
Of course, there’s been no confirmation from Nintendo itself that a new Switch is on the cards, and, in fact, Doug Bowser has made comments very recently that suggest there might not be for some time. Seeing that we're now so far removed from the original release date of the Nintendo Switch, we're hoping that successor hardware in the Nintendo Switch 2 comes sooner rather than later.
Nintendo Switch Pro: news and rumors
Don't expect new Nintendo hardware this fiscal year
Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei has reported that Nintendo will not release any new hardware this fiscal year. Spotted by Bloomberg journalist Takashi Mochizuki on Twitter (opens in new tab), he advised that it's unclear if Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa was being interviewed or Nikkei’s own reporting. If true, that means we shouldn't expect a Nintendo Switch 2, or Nintendo Switch Pro model before March 2023.
Nintendo Switch OLED holds 4K secrets
With the Switch OLED's launch, some of the previous consoles' changes have started speculation that 4K capability could be hidden under our noses. For one, the console ships with an HDMI 2.0 cable – instead of the 1.4 standard used by the regular Switch – which should enable 4K passthrough from the dock or even HDR.
The Switch OLED dock contains a Realtek chip that could be 4K capable, which is new to this console – though it could be tied to other features like improved audio or Ethernet capability instead. While this isn't a 4K console just yet, it's possible that the dock could be used in some minimal upscaling capacity down the line or for a 4K Switch Pro when it eventually launches.
Standalone Joy-Con patent
A newly discovered patent (via VGC) suggests that Nintendo has considered some standalone Joy-Con controllers.
A newly-discovered Nintendo patent suggests that the company may be planning to release a new form of Joy-Con style controller.
Initially filed in May 2018 and registered in April 2020, the patent shows a highly similar controller shape, and layout to the existing Joy-Con found on the original Switch. However, it is slightly updated, and rather than being designed to slide onto a screen like the current Joy-Con, this controller appears to be a standalone device with no rails for sliding in sight.
While there isn’t much need for a standalone Joy-Con on the original Switch, they could be helpful with the more recent Nintendo Switch Lite, which has its controls permanently attached, as it would allow for more accessible multiplayer gaming. Given the recent rumors around the Nintendo Switch Pro, it’s also worth considering that the standalone Joy-Con has been designed with this new console in mind.
Dataminers have been coursing through Nintendo's firmware version 10.0.0 for information on new Switch consoles and have apparently identified codenames for the upcoming devices.
According to JershJopstin on Resetera (opens in new tab), there are five identified codenames for Nintendo Switch models: Icosa, Copper, Hoag, Iowa, and Calcio. Here's a breakdown of what we know about their codenames so far (thanks, TweakTown (opens in new tab)):
- Icosa - Switch released at launch - nx-abca2 - 20nm Tegra X1 -
- Iowa - revised Switch - nx-abca2 - 16nm Tegra X1 and 'Mariko' chip
- Hoag - the Switch Lite - nx-abcc - 16nm Tegra X1 and Mariko chip
- Copper - unconfirmed- nx-abcb
- Calcio - unconfirmed - nx-abcb - 16nm Tegra X1 and Mariko chip
While Iow, Hoag and Icosa have already released, Copper and Calcio have not been confirmed to be in development.
According to JershJopstin, Copper appears to be a non-mobile device due to its lack of battery and charging services and the HDMI services it seems to have, which would typically be handled by a Switch docking station. Meanwhile, according to another rumor, Calcio will apparently be a docked-only, more traditional console.
Nah, and official devs don’t know anything yet (at least indies). Nintendo has these archives that contain a bunch of settings for specific hardware types + there’s some configuration in various sysmodules. Nintendo often adds some or all of that before the hardware releases heh.March 2, 2020
In addition, JershJopstin has suggested that this Calcio console could be digital-only due to its apparent lack of support for game cards and the new naming form factor. However, these rumors should be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism until we get confirmation from Nintendo.
Nintendo isn't worried about the next console generation
2020 wasn't the year of a new Nintendo Switch console, but it was the year that Sony and Microsoft launched the next generation of consoles: the PS5 and Xbox Series X. Nintendo, however, isn't worried about catching up.
Talking to investors during a Japanese Q&A (via VGC), Nintendo's president Shuntaro Furukawa said that while the gaming landscape will change, the company doesn't think the release of these next-gen consoles will have a significant impact on its own fortunes.
“We do not believe that the business trends of other companies will have a significant impact on our business,” Furukawa told investors, explaining that the reason Nintendo is so confident that the PS5 and Xbox Series X won't pose huge competition is that the Nintendo Switch targets a different audience.
While this doesn't tell us much about any specific new console plans Nintendo has, it does suggest that the company isn't feeling any hurry or pressure from its supposed competitors to release, or even announce, a Nintendo Switch Pro in the immediate future.
AR and VR support
VR and AR support for the Switch never looked likely, with the MD of Nintendo France (opens in new tab) citing a lack of mainstream appeal for the technology back in 2018, but the Labo VR Kit shows Nintendo has changed its mind about the viability of VR.
The Switch doesn't have the high resolution of most VR gaming rigs, so we could see an advanced model with 2K or 4K resolution to improve those close-up VR experiences. However, given the VR Kit is still focused mainly on children, we'd be surprised to see a visual overhaul simply for this one peripheral.
Could it support 4K?
While Sony and Microsoft push at the 4K market, there isn’t really any big reason for Nintendo, the company that staunchly sets itself apart from other hardware producers, to follow suit.
In the same interview (opens in new tab) where he dismissed VR, Nintendo France General Manager Philippe Lavoué also brushed off 4K saying that the technology has “not been adopted by the majority” and it would, therefore, be too early for Nintendo to jump in.
Nintendo didn’t enter the HD console market until 2012 when it released the Wii U. This was around four years after Sony and Microsoft and when more than 75% of US households had HD displays in their home. However, Miyamoto (opens in new tab) had said he wished Nintendo had jumped to HD sooner than this, saying that the display technology became popular around three years before Nintendo expected it to.