Skip to main content

New Nintendo Switch 2 release date, specs, leaks and more

Nintendo Switch 2
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

A Nintendo Switch 2, the theoretical follow-up to the Nintendo Switch, sounds like an obvious move for Nintendo. How else could it follow up its immensely popular console than with a similar but improved sequel? If it is real though, Nintendo is keeping very quiet about it.

According to new reports, it seems that there is a successor to the current Nintendo Switch in the works. Whether that will be an updated model or a new iteration remains to be seen. Either way, it's expected to be closer in power to the PS5 and Xbox Series X, utilizing Nvidia's DLSS upscaling technology and incorporating a Samsung OLED display. 

Nintendo hasn't confirmed the existence of a new Nintendo Switch model, but the latest rumors indicate that a new Switch will likely launch later this year. Here's everything we know about the Nintendo Switch 2, including its possible release date, specs and features. 

Latest Nintendo Switch 2 news (updated May 4)

New Nintendo Switch 2 release date 

Citing a Taipei-based report out of the Economic Daily News, The Edge Markets reports that a new version of Nintendo's popular hybrid console could arrive by early 2021. That was quickly followed up by a Bloomberg report that suggests that the new Switch could arrive next year complete with 4K support and an expansive new games lineup.

A subsequent Bloomberg report claims that developers are being asked to make their Nintendo Switch games playable in 4K, adding further weight to the possibility of an upcoming hardware upgrade.

Economic Daily News later reported that Nintendo was still planning a 2021 launch, and has been visiting companies in Taiwan to obtain displays for the new console. And recent claims by Dr Serkan Toto of Japanese-based consultancy firm Kantan Games echo the others, claiming we'll see a 4K Switch system this year.

Here's a look at when every version of the Switch has launched so far. Looking at these days, it's possible we could see an updated Switch by 2021 to coincide with the system's four-year anniversary.

According to a recent Bloomberg report, a 4K Nintendo Switch could be on its way this year. That console could be the Switch Pro or the Nintendo Switch 2. 

However, there's one report that disagrees with these. Nikkei Asia wrote that Nintendo plans to produce another 30 million Switches by March 2022. Assuming these refer to the base models, it could mean that any plans for a Pro or sequel model are further away than the other rumors suggest.

  • Nintendo Switch: March 3, 2017
  • Nintendo Switch (upgraded battery): August 2019
  • Nintendo Switch Lite: September 20, 2019
  • Nintendo Switch 2/Nintendo Switch Pro: 2021 (rumored)

New Nintendo Switch 2 price 

Nintendo Switch 2: 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 at least the same as the $299 base model — and certainly more than the $199 Nintendo Switch Lite. 

According to analyst Matthew Kanterman of Bloomberg Intelligence, he believes the Switch Pro will be at least $100 more expensive than the current model.

"$349.99 will increase the value proposition of the device, but I still think Nintendo can drive strong demand even at $399.99."

It's not just Kanterman. In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Japan-based games consultant Serkan Toto predicts that the Switch Pro will cost around $399, which may be the same console as the Switch 2, and therefore the same price, or a different higher spec version, in which case the Switch 2 itself will likely cost less.

New Nintendo Switch 2 specs 

There is a myriad of potential specs the Nintendo Switch could have. These range from an OLED display and a form of 4K output via a co-processor in a new Switch dock, to boosted specs and a dual-screen design

A lot of these leaks are rather sketchy as we've previously reported. And it's difficult to tell if they refer to a next-generation Nintendo Switch or a boosted 'Pro' version of the current Switch. 

For example, one previous leak made reference to a new Switch console coming with a custom Nvidia Tegra Xavier processor, a 64GB SSD, 4K video support, and two USB-C ports. But it also points towards such a console being a TV-only machine, which seems unlikely. 

Other rumors point towards a new Switch making use of a Mini-LED display. That would be a big leap up from the 720p LCD display included in the original. Using Mini-LED tech would mean better responsiveness, contrast, and energy efficiency, all of which would be more than welcome on a new Switch. Our own reporting has confirmed that an upcoming Nintendo Switch iteration will use OLED displays provided by Samsung. These displays will be 720p.

According to Bloomberg, a new Switch will use an advanced upscaling technique to achieve 4K. Called Nvidia Deep Learning Super Sampling, or DLSS, this uses AI tech to effectively upmix graphics into high-resolution images without the performance demands of rendering then natively at, say, 4K. Bloomberg was told that a new Switch is using new chips as well, with the required hardware to pull off DLSS.

Furthermore, a newer probe into Switch firmware has revealed the line  “4kdp_preferred_over_usb30” that could indicate the potential for a 4K output over DisplayPort over USB 3.0. for the Switch 2. 

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.

One of the most promising rumors comes from Bloomberg's claimed insider information, which has a new Switch touted as a console capable of a 4K output, if not native 4K rendering, and will sport a larger OLED display.  

Speaking of which, in an interview with Tom's Guide Ross Young, co-founder of Display Supply Chain Consultants, discussed the potential for the Switch Pro or Switch 2 to have an OLED display and what advantages and shortcomings such a screen would have. 

“LCDs use a maximum brightness, whether it's a white or black image. And OLEDs don't,” explained Young. “Their power consumption varies with the content. So it's going to depend on the type of content that you're playing. If it's video, OLEDs have a big advantage. But if it's a bright video game with a lot of white, then OLEDs may consume more power.”

New 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

Nintendo Switch 2 concept design

(Image credit: Katarzyna Penar at Lightframes)

If the Nintendo Switch 2 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 new Switch — 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 2 get a resolution bump, something we argued for recently. 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 2 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 the best gaming PCs or Sony's and Microsoft's latest consoles (and the Switch did 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. 

Should I wait for a Nintendo Switch 2?

In a word: no. As it stands, there are only scan rumors around the Nintendo Switch 2. And a lot of those are probably in reference to the Nintendo Switch Pro, which is tipped to be an upgraded version of the Nintendo Switch, and is expected to be able to deliver games a 4K resolution; it's likely to sue an upscale rather than native graphics rendering. 

Regardless, the Nintendo Switch is still a stellar games console, what with its hybrid design and excellent games. Both the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite are at the top of our list for the best handheld gaming consoles. And as such, we expect them to continue to get supported for years to come. If you've not got onboard the Switch train, then now is as good as time as any; you can do so with confidence that it won't be replaced anytime soon.

Even if a Switch 2 or Switch Pro is on its way, the 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 to its current console.