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Nintendo Switch 2 (Nintendo Switch Pro) release date, specs, rumors and more

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Nintendo Switch is still the hottest console out there, but will Nintendo still be able to compete once the PS5 and Xbox Series X arrive this fall? That's where a Nintendo Switch 2 could come in. The next Nintendo Switch, which has sometimes been referred to as the Nintendo Switch Pro, could be a beefed-up version of Nintendo's beloved hybrid console with new features and improved internals.

Nintendo's next Switch likely won't deliver things like ray tracing or 8K gaming, but a more powerful Switch could help the company better compete with the next-gen consoles that are set to debut by the end of 2020. And some rumors have pegged the Switch 2 as sporting some truly wild features, including potential dual-screen support.

Nintendo hasn't confirmed the existence of a new Nintendo Switch model, but there's a fair amount of rumors and speculation that give an idea of what to expect from the company's next console. Here's everything we know about the Nintendo Switch 2 (or Nintendo Switch Pro), including its possible release date, specs and features.

Nintendo Switch 2 release date 

If Nintendo itself is to be believed, there won't be any new Switch hardware in 2020. In a financial note published in late January, the company wrote, "Please note that we have no plans to launch a new Nintendo Switch model during 2020."

The fabled Nintendo Switch Pro or Nintendo Switch 2 was previously rumored to launch by mid-2020, according to a supply chain report from Taiwanese news outlet Digitimes. Citing a Korean forum post, Metro claimed that the Switch Pro will launch towards the end of the year, which would have put it right up against both Sony’s PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X. 

There's no telling when we might hear of a Nintendo Switch 2 either, especially with E3 2020 cancelled. According to VentureBeat, Nintendo had a Nintendo Direct livestream planned for June during its usual E3 timeframe, but had to delay it due to development complications brought about by all staff having to work from home.

To help fill the E3 void, veteran gaming industry host Geoff Keighley will be hosting a series of livestreams from May to August as part of his Summer Game Fest series. While we expect some Nintendo Switch games to pop up here, we wouldn't hold our breath for new hardware. 

Looking at some historical numbers, the Switch was first revealed in the fall of 2016 with a March 2017 release, and was followed up by the September 2019 launch of the Nintendo Switch Lite. Perhaps we'll see the next Switch by 2021 to coincide with the system's four-year anniversary. 

Nintendo Switch 2 price 

Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite

(Image credit: Future)

While there’s no official price set for Nintendo’s next Switch, it seems safe to assume it’ll cost more than the $299 base model -- and certainly more than the $199 Nintendo Switch Lite. In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Japan-based games consultant Serkan Toto predicts that the Switch Pro will cost around $399.

Nintendo Switch 2 specs 

The Switch Pro’s rumored specs have varied based on different reports, with some claiming that the next Switch will be a modest upgrade and others hinting at a significant power boost for Nintendo’s console. A sketchy, now-deleted 4chan post (via Inverse) suggests some major changes, including a custom Nvidia Tegra Xavier processor, a 64GB SSD, 4K video support, and two USB-C ports. This post also claimed that the Switch Pro would be a TV-only console, and won’t be playable in portable mode.

However, a forum post on Korean website Clien (via TechRadar) suggests that the next Switch might not be a huge generational leap. The poster claims that Nintendo is working with Nvidia on a custom Tegra processor based on Nvidia’s Volta architecture, and won’t include the Tegra X1+ chip that many had expected the console to feature. As a result, 4K support may not be feasible for the Switch Pro.

The current Nintendo Switch packs a custom Nvidia Tegra X1 processor, a 6.2-inch, 720p display and 32GB of storage. In August 2019, the console saw a minor refresh, which bumped the battery life from an estimated 2.5 to 6.5 hours to 4.5 to 9 hours. In our own Switch battery tests, we found that the new model lasts nearly twice as long for games such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

But improved specs could just be the tip of the iceberg for the Nintendo Switch 2. A series of code found in the Switch's April 2020 firmware update reveals what could be support for a dual-screen console, suggesting that the next Nintendo Switch may be a two-display device. 

This wouldn't be a first for Nintendo given the company's popular Nintendo DS and 3DS handhelds, but we'd be curious to see how dual-screen support would play into the Switch ecosystem. Perhaps you'll be able to play in handheld mode while beaming certain content to your TV, similar to how the Wii U operated.

There are also some recent mobile GPU breakthroughs that point to a promising future for upcoming handheld consoles such as the Switch 2. Samsung and AMD are expected to be working on a new Exynos 1000 chip with AMD graphics built-in, which could give the Switch 2 a massive power boost if Nintendo decides to opt for that CPU over the aging Tegra X1 found in the current Switch.

Nintendo Switch 2 features

If Nintendo does make another Switch-like console, it seems safe to assume that it'll once again allow you to play in TV, tabletop and handheld modes. But some recent Nintendo patents hint at some other interesting features that could either make their way to the new console or serve as a complementary device. 

Nintendo recently patented a unique health-tracking device, which would be able to track your sleep, monitor your mood via microphones and sensors, and even change the odor of a room. Interestingly, the patented device has its own dock (much like the Switch), and seems designed to work with health-related games a la Ring Fit Adventure. It's too early to tell whether such a device will even come to market, but it will be interesting to see if Nintendo ups its fitness-tracking game in time for the next Switch console.

What we want from the Nintendo Switch 2

New Nintendo Switch

(Image credit: Future)

If the Nintendo Switch 2 or Nintendo Switch Pro does become a reality, there are a handful of features we’d love to see that could make it a compelling high-end option for Nintendo fans. 

  • 1080p handheld gameplay: The Switch’s 6.2-inch screen is limited to 720p in handheld mode, meaning you can’t experience titles like Super Mario Odyssey and Pokémon Sword and Shield in their full glory. The ability to game on the go in 1080p would be a big reason to upgrade to a Switch Pro — if the console can muster 60fps at 1080p, even better. 
  • 4K or 1440p support for TV mode. Considering that 4K consoles are out there and that the PS5 and Xbox Series X will support 8K content, it’d be nice to see the Switch Pro get a resolution bump. The new console would likely need a beefy new dock to support 4K or even 2560 x 1440 resolutions, but just imagine how glorious it would be to play Breath of the Wild in 4K.  
  • Better ergonomics. We recently got our hands on Alienware’s Concept UFO, which is a Switch-like portable gaming PC that features standard controller-sized buttons, triggers and grips. If Nintendo can devise new Joy-Cons that are bigger and more ergonomic without being too massive, the Switch Pro could be the most comfortable way to play on the go.  
  • True Bluetooth support. While the current Switch features Bluetooth 4.1 for connecting wirelessly to Joy-Cons and Pro Controllers, you can’t pair other Bluetooth gadgets (like headphones) to the console without an adapter. Nintendo, I just want to be able to pair my AirPods to my Switch without any extra fuss — make it happen!  

Why we want a Nintendo Switch 2

The Nintendo Switch is an absolute joy of a system backed by some of the finest games Nintendo has ever released. But its hardware is starting to show its limitations more than three years after release, largely when it comes to ports of major third-party games.

Kotaku's Ethan Gach recently got his hands on the new Switch port of The Outer Worlds, which reportedly "looks so bad on Switch I'm tempted to tell even people who have no other means of playing it to stay away." Based on Gach's screenshots, the port looks incredibly blurry, and suffers from framerate drops. Gamers have had similar issues with ports such as Pillars of Eternity and Wasteland 2.

While Nintendo games such as Breath of the Wild and Animal Crossing: New Horizons are optimized to look and run great on Switch, the console seems to be running into a AAA games problem. And that could prove especially challenging for Nintendo, especially with a new crop of third-party games built for PS5 and Xbox Series X that may be more graphically demanding than ever.

Nintendo doesn't necessarily need a system as powerful as Sony's and Microsoft's upcoming console (the Switch has done just fine against PS4 and Xbox One), but a significant power boost could make the company's hybrid console even more appealing for fans of big third-party franchises.

The Nintendo Switch 2 games we want

While third-party developers have done an admirable job bringing major AAA titles to Nintendo Switch, they sometimes come with too many compromises to be truly playable. As such, many of the biggest third-party games of this year and beyond aren't currently slated for Nintendo Switch, but could make a perfect fit for a more beefed-up version of Nintendo's console.

Here's what we'd like to see:

  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Marvel's Avengers
  • Star Wars: Squadrons
  • Deathloop
  • Assassin's Creed Valhalla
  • Diablo IV
  • Watch Dogs: Legion

The Switch 2 could also be a great showpiece for upcoming Switch titles like Metroid Prime 4, Bayonetta 3 and Breath of the Wild 2, offering higher framerates and better resolutions while still being playable on standard Switch hardware. This could effectively make the Switch 2 or Switch Pro Nintendo's answer to the Xbox One X or PS4 Pro. 

Should I wait for a Nintendo Switch 2?

Considering that the Switch 2 is still a rumor at this point, we wouldn't count on it coming out just yet -- at least not anytime soon. The Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite are at the top of our list for the best handheld gaming consoles, and we expect them to continue to get supported for years to come. So if you've yet to jump on the Switch bandwagon, you can do so with confidence that it won't be replaced anytime soon.

Plus, if there is indeed a Switch 2 or Switch Pro, chances are it'll work with your existing Switch game library. Nintendo has a history of supporting its handhelds through multiple iterations, with the Nintendo DS/Nintendo 3DS family supporting the same game library for more than a decade. Given how popular the Switch is, we expect Nintendo to take a similar approach for its current console.