Following reports that Nintendo plans to release the successor to the Switch in 2024, news has emerged that the console was shown to developers behind closed doors at the Gamescom convention in Germany in August.
U.K. newshounds Eurogamer and VGC report that developers were shown tech demos demonstrating the system’s capabilities at the show. According to their sources, one of these demos was an enhanced version of the Switch launch game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, running at higher frame rate and resolution than the original. (There was apparently no suggestion the game would be reissued for the new console.)
One source also told VGC that Nintendo showed Epic’s The Matrix Awakens tech demo running on hardware targeting the new console’s specs. Crucially, this demo is built on Unreal Engine 5, which is expected to become the industry standard game engine over the next couple of years. This demo was said to run using Nvidia’s DLSS technology, which uses an algorithm to upscale the output resolution of an image, enabling better performance at high resolutions. Ray-tracing was apparently in effect, and the resulting visuals were comparable to those of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, the source said.
The timing of the demos lines up with what is currently known about Nintendo’s plans for the console currently known as Switch 2. Recent reports said that key development partners already have development kits, and that Nintendo is targeting a late 2024 launch for the machine — although Eurogamer said it had heard that “Nintendo is keen to launch the system sooner if possible.”
In short, it’s likely not that far away. But Nintendo has said little on the record, beyond saying it does not expect it to launch new hardware before April 2024 — and executives remain tight-lipped. When IGN asked Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser to pinpoint where we currently are in the Switch’s life cycle, he replied curtly, “We are where you said we were. And I’ll leave it at that. Nothing to talk about there.” (The IGN journalist had noted the Switch is seven years old and Bowser replied, “I’ve stopped counting years.”)
Any further details on the new console remain thin on the ground, but it is said to support cartridge games and be playable as a portable device, just like the Switch. It’s not known if it will offer backwards compatibility.