Nintendo Switch 2 may not be able to play GTA 6 — here’s why

(Image credit: Rockstar)

With the trailer release of the highly anticipated GTA 6 now out in the wild, many gamers are curious if it will be playable on the forthcoming Nintendo Switch 2

Given the lacking internals of the core hardware, it’s highly unlikely that an upgraded Switch would be capable of handling the daunting requirements presented with GTA 6.

As stated by Digital Foundry, a leading resource on video game technology, the Nintendo Switch 2 may well be missing the return boat to 2025’s Vice City due largely to heavy uses of sophisticated lighting and raytracing as seen in the GTA 6 trailer.

But, with the introduction of cloud gaming in tandem with the more recent Switch debuts of Rockstar experiences, like the Red Dead Redemption remaster and the trilogy Definitive Edition, the Switch 2 might be passable for either GTA 4 and potentially even GTA 5.

GTA 6 on Switch 2 specs

Early reports of the Switch hardware upgrade point to a Nvidia-designed processor called the T234, which uses an 8nm process with 12 ARM A78E CPU cores. Although not one to one, this proves that the purported Switch 2 could be on par with the likes of the Xbox Series S, Microsoft’s digital-only Series X counterpart.

This goes against prior rumors made out of Activision, which claimed in the midst of its heated battle with the FTC that the Switch 2 would be more akin to the prior-generation hardware, such as the Xbox One and PS4. Thus, it’s generally a guessing game when it comes to what specifically the Switch 2 might be able to handle when officially unveiled.

Given what we know thus far, especially in terms of how GTA 6 might be handled on the consoles it’s been announced for (PS5/Xbox Series X), there seems to be immense doubt that it will be making a Switch 2 release. In fact, GTA 6 hasn’t even been confirmed for PC, which has been a common factor in most of the more recent Rockstar releases.

For instance, Red Dead Redemption 2, which was initially launched in October 2018 on PS4 and Xbox One, didn’t make its PC debut until November 2019. If GTA 6 is even capable of running on the purported Switch upgrade, it’s highly unlikely fans would even get to play it when the game is launched in full come 2025.

But there's always cloud gaming. The new frontier, best presented in the form of Xbox Cloud Gaming and GeForce Now, could make GTA 6 playable on the Switch 2. It's unclear yet if the upgraded Switch hardware will have cloud capabilities, but the possibility is certainly there.  

Switch 2 GTA 4/5 ports

Still, while the newest iteration of Rockstar’s most beloved open world may not be getting the Switch 2 treatment, there may still be room for alternative GTA offerings. Rockstar has been busy updating and remastering its catalogue for the Switch handheld, including the likes of Red Dead Redemption and even the first three GTA experiences in the 3D universe.

The prior reports suggesting that the Switch upgrade could be on par with the PS4/Xbox One generation might lend credence to the potential of another GTA remaster for the Switch 2. Although it didn’t happen, rumors abounded in the lead up to the GTA 6 trailer reveal that a GTA 4 remaster would also be announced.

Fans have long clamored for such a return to Liberty City, and while playing GTA 4 on the Switch might sound like a total stretch, the hardware certainly would be capable. It might require some special tuning and reworking, though, and Rockstar definitely has their hands full with GTA 6 at the moment.   

But maybe even more exciting is the potential for a GTA 5 port on the Switch 2. If the rumors are true that a Switch 2 may be akin to a Series S or even the prior-gen hardware, it’s a safe bet that GTA 5 could run relatively with ease on the upgraded handheld.

We won’t know for certain though until the Nintendo Switch 2 is officially unveiled. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to watch the GTA 6 trailer another 6 times and maybe get yourself a Switch OLED this Christmas if the wait for the hardware upgrade is too fierce.

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Ryan Epps
Staff Writer

Ryan Epps is a Staff Writer under the TV/AV section at Tom's Guide focusing on TVs and projectors. When not researching PHOLEDs and writing about the next major innovation in the projector space, he's consuming random anime from the 90's, playing Dark Souls 3 again, or reading yet another Haruki Murakami novel.