Nintendo’s next-generation console is slowly starting to come into focus. The Switch successor is slated for release in the second half of 2024, according to a new report from VGC, citing anonymous development sources. Some “key partner studios” reportedly already have development kits for the device.
While details on Nintendo’s next-gen hardware are scant, it will reportedly be playable as a portable device, just like the Switch, and will support cartridge-based games. The system will reportedly feature an LCD screen, not an OLED screen, which aligns with reporting from Bloomberg that Sharp is manufacturing LCD screens for a “new gaming console.”
The latest report on what is colloquially known as “Switch 2” is in line with Nikkei Asia’s reporting from May, which said that a new Nintendo console is in the works and could be ready next year. VGC editor-in-chief Andy Robinson said in a video discussion supplementing his story that he expects “the floodgates are going to open” as more studios get their hands on Nintendo’s next-gen dev kits.
Nintendo has not formally announced its next console, and has effectively ruled out releasing one anytime prior to April 1, 2024. The company said earlier this year that it wants to bolster Switch sales with new games and add-on content. Nintendo’s current lineup includes new games and DLC for some of its biggest franchises, including Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Detective Pikachu Returns, a Super Mario RPG remake, WarioWare: Move It!, a new Princess Peach game, and a pair of add-ons for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet called The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero. Most of these games have 2023 release dates, but the Princess Peach game and a remake of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon are slated for 2024.
What has Nintendo said about its next-gen console?
In June, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa addressed the company’s next-gen hardware obliquely, saying that it hoped to provide a smooth transition from the Switch to a new platform. “As for the transition from Nintendo Switch to the next-generation machine,” Furukawa said in translated remarks at an investor meeting, “we want to do as much as possible in order to smoothly transition our customers, while utilizing the Nintendo Account.”
Nintendo is in the somewhat unenviable position of repeating its success with the Switch — which has sold more than 125 million units since launching in 2017 — with a new platform. Furukawa’s comments about Nintendo Accounts, which digital purchases are tied to, may have hinted at some level of backward compatibility. With more than 1 billion Switch games sold to date, backward compatibility for Switch 2 would seem to be crucial. But VGC reports that some third-party publishers have “expressed concern that legacy support for Switch games could negatively affect sales of next-gen titles.”
When does Nintendo Switch 2 come out?
Unlike with the original Switch, which dropped in March 2017, Nintendo appears to be aiming for a late summer or fall launch for its next-gen console. VGC reported that Nintendo hopes to ensure ample stock for the Switch successor to avoid shortages, especially around the crucial holiday shopping season.
For some historical context, Nintendo revealed the Wii U in June 2011 at that year’s E3, but didn’t release that console until 16 months later. For the Switch, Nintendo announced the system’s code name, NX, in 2015, but didn’t show off the console’s form factor and capabilities until October 2016. The Switch was ultimately released five months later. In other words, Nintendo’s official rollout of next-gen news might not happen for months — or even close to a year, if the system is launching after July 1.
Is Nintendo Switch 2 backward-compatible with the original Switch?
That’s still unclear. Nintendo has offered backward compatibility on multiple consoles (Wii, Wii U) and handhelds (Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3DS), but support for Switch games on its successor is not guaranteed.
VGC’s Andy Robinson reported that some publishers are supposedly skittish about launching games on a new console with a library of thousands of existing previous-generation titles as day-one competition. But Nintendo choosing not to carry over Switch owners’ libraries to a new console generation would certainly be a mark against the new system. Of course, there are technical hurdles to overcome, and Nintendo could find the engineering effort not feasible.
Plus, Nintendo has made a comfortably profitable business of rereleasing older games on new hardware. Wii U game Mario Kart 8 wound up being the Switch’s greatest success — Nintendo’s repackaged and expanded version of the kart racer has sold more than 53 million copies on Switch.
When will Nintendo reveal more about its next-gen console?
That’s almost impossible to say. But after events like September’s Tokyo Game Show, the company may begin talking more about the system. It’s possible Nintendo may not say anything until 2024, in an effort to maintain Switch hardware sales. But unlike in the Wii U era, Nintendo is not beholden to announcing its next system at events like E3 (which may not even happen in 2024 anyway).