The Nintendo Switch has become the third best-selling gaming console of all-time, with almost 130 million units sold since its release in 2017. The console has revolutionised hybrid gaming with its ability to be played both at home or on the go.
As the console nears the end of its lifespan as Nintendo’s premier gaming device, speculation is increasing over the company’s next step.
While Nintendo has yet to offer any detail about its next version of the Switch, which will most likely be named the Switch 2, there are rumours circulating about what's in store after multiple leaks.
Here’s what we know so far about the Switch 2:
Design and games
The current Switch came after the disastrous Wii U, which launched in 2012. The Wii U had a similar design but was bulky and did not function well as a portable console.
The Switch, on the other hand, can be dismantled and reconfigured to suit different needs.
A recently leaked patent filed by Nintendo shows the supposed Switch 2. It looks very similar to the company’s previous portable consoles DS and the 3DS. The patent shows at least three screens, one on the outside and two on the inside once it is unfolded.
The design on the patent could indicate the direction the company takes with the Switch 2, being one that incorporates gameplay previously only available on the DS and 3DS.
The DS is one of Nintendo’s best-selling consoles, selling more than 154 million units since its release in 2004, followed by the 3DS which sold more than 75 million units after its release in 2011.
If the Switch 2 can play games from the already strong library of Switch games – as well as all the titles on the DS and 3DS – it would make it the strongest and most accessible console from the company yet.
The current Nintendo Switch is relatively weak in terms of graphics when compared to powerful consoles such as Sony's PlayStation 5 and Microsoft's Xbox, both of which can play games in 4K resolution. The Switch can only play games at 1080p which has been surpassed years ago by Nintendo’s competitors.
While the Switch may be weaker in that aspect, it has still sold more than its counterparts owing to its exclusive library of games as well as its hybrid gaming capabilities.
The Switch 2 will most likely not remain stagnant though, as reports claim that the console will play games in similar quality to Sony’s previous generation console, the PlayStation 4.
On paper, this is not a significant jump for Nintendo, but when comparing the strength and capabilities of the PlayStation 4 to that of the Switch, Sony’s console still has more to offer.
If the Switch 2 is indeed as strong a console as the PlayStation 4, this presents a good opportunity for Nintendo to showcase what they can do with an upgrade in graphics.
Nintendo have yet to make any official announcements on the Switch 2, so there’s little to go on in terms of a timeline.
While that is the case, there are indicators for when gamers can expect to see the new console.
There was speculation during the most recent Gamescom in August, that Nintendo was showing off the Switch 2 behind closed doors to some developers to demonstrate the console's capabilities.
With the patent leak, coupled with multiple industry rumours on the Switch 2, it’s hopeful to expect Nintendo to start announcing details on their new console in early 2024, with a release date slated for sometime later that year.