Nintendo Switch 2 vs Nintendo Switch — biggest rumored upgrades

Nintendo Switch OLED held between two hands with one of the JoyCons being slid off
(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Nintendo Switch 2 rumor mill has been largely dominated by leaks and speculation surrounding the (currently unconfirmed) console's release date, but we've also heard a few murmurs as to how Nintendo’s next gaming machine will aim to upgrade from its predecessor, the enduringly popular Nintendo Switch

Here at Tom’s Guide, we love the Nintendo Switch (and in particular the premium Nintendo Switch OLED model). Its biggest strength is undoubtedly its flexibility. The Switch's unique design enables it to function as both a portable device and a home console. And you can't overlook its sizable library of seriously great games either. But there are definitely a few areas where we’d love to see some enhancements. 

A console capable of outputting a 4K resolution feels like a must now that the PS5 and Xbox Series X have arrived on the scene, and we also hope the Switch 2 — or whatever Nintendo’s next console is ultimately called — comes packing slightly more durable controllers as the current Joy-Cons just aren’t built to last in our experience. 

Once we have a clearer idea of what The Big N is working on next, the Nintendo Switch 2 vs Nintendo Switch comparison can be properly determined, but for now, these are the biggest rumored upgrades that have been tipped for Nintendo’s next-gen console. 

Upgrade #1 — Larger display  

Assuming that the Nintendo Switch 2 will also be a hybrid between a handheld and a home console (and rumors certainly indicate that will be the case ), one of the biggest upgrades Nintendo could make would be to the unit's display. 

The regular Switch packs a 6.2-inch panel, while the more expensive OLED model sports a slightly larger 7-inch screen. However, a recent comment from tipster NateTheHate has indicated that the Nintendo Switch 2 will bump the size of the display up further to 8 inches. This would be a pretty valuable upgrade in our books. This tip-off was given further legitimacy by Andy Robinson of VGC, who suggested that Nate’s information was “on the money” during a recent podcast.  

However, it’s not all good news when it comes to the rumors surrounding the Nintendo Switch 2’s display. A recent VGC report has claimed that the Switch 2 is set for a downgrade in a key area. The well-respected publication has suggested that Nintendo will revert back to an LCD panel in order to keep production costs down. 

This could result in the Nintendo Switch 2 launching with a more affordable price tag, but it would still be a disappointing downgrade in our books. The Switch OLED boasts a significantly more vibrant display compared to its LCD sibling. 

Switching back (pun intended) to an LCD display will definitely feel like a step back after becoming accustomed to the stunning Switch OLED, even if it resulted in an overall cheaper product. 

Upgrade #2 — Increased storage 

The Nintendo Switch launched in 2017 with 32GB of internal storage, and while Nintendo Switch OLED doubled the amount to 64GB in 2021, that’s still a relatively paltry amount considering the increasingly bloated file sizes of modern games. 

While the best Switch games don’t typically demand the same amount of storage space as games on rival platforms, there are still Switch games that can eat up more than 30GB, which makes an additional microSD card a practically essential Switch accessory. Not to mention, we expect the file size of Nintendo Switch 2 games to increase further. For this reason, we consider more internal storage to be a matter of near necessity rather than preference. 

Fortunately, it appears that Nintendo is on the same page in this regard. In the same video linked above, NateTheHate also reports that the Switch 2 will pack 512GB of onboard storage, which is a very big leap compared to its predecessor. However, we would still expect Nintendo to offer a way for users to increase storage capacity for users who want to install dozens of large games at the same time. 

Upgrade #3 — Backwards compatibility 

One of the biggest advantages that the Switch could have over its predecessor at launch would be backwards compatibility. For obvious reasons, the Nintendo Switch did not support Wii U games, which meant it took several months (arguably more than a year) for the system to build up a respectable library of must-play titles. However, if the Switch 2 is backwards compatible, early adopters will have access to hundreds of essential games from the get-go. 

Right now, we don’t have a clear idea of whether the Switch 2 will be backwards compatible or not. In fact, rumors have been rather contradictory on this front. Earlier this year, YouTuber ModernVintageGamer suggested that the feature would be very tricky for Nintendo to implement, and VGC’s most recent reporting is also unable to confirm (or deny) that Nintendo’s next console will support the current library of Switch games.  

On the flip side, during the Q&A portion of an investors call back in June, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa expressed a desire for a smooth transition between console generations. And noted that users would be able to transfer over their existing Nintendo Account between consoles. This could be a positive sign that backwards compability will be an included feature when the Nintendo Switch 2 does finally launch. 

If the Switch 2 lacks backwards compatbility features that would be a major blow and would require the console to hit the store shelves with a pretty spectacular launch lineup to tempt players to commit their cash on day one. However, considering that the gaming industry has started taking backwards compatbility more seriously this generation with both PS5 and Xbox Series X supporting the feature, we suspect that Nintendo will find a way to make it work. 

Upgrade #4 — New games  

Okay, so I'm cheating a little bit here because every new gaming console is naturally going to offer a selection of new games. This won't be an upgrade that is unique to the Nintendo Switch 2. However, a juicy rumor has popped up about a new entry in a popular franchise hitting the Switch 2 in its early lifecycle that's got me very hyped. 

A new report from a previously reliable source has suggested that Nintendo plans to release a new Mario Kart game in the second year of the Switch 2's lifecycle. It will reportedly be called Mario Kart X (a nod to it being the 10th game in the series), and the insider suggests it's the most expensive game Nintendo has ever made. Much as I love playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on my regular Switch to this day, I'm very intrigued to see what new additions to the long-running racing series the devs could make. 

The same report indicates that the Nintendo Switch 2 will launch with a new 3D Mario game as well. This could be a much-requested sequel to Mario Odyssey or it might be something completely new. However, this title could end up being a cross-gen game, as the Switch's flagship launch title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, was also released on the Nintendo Wii U back in 2017. 

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.