If you’re waiting for the Nintendo Switch 2 (or Switch Pro, whatever you want to call it), you’ll have to keep waiting. Nintendo has apparently confirmed that it has no new Switch hardware planned until at least April 2023. And, if you go by previous statements from Nintendo, a new console could be as far away as 2024 or 2025.
Still, there’s no denying that the Switch is starting to show its age, particularly compared to consoles such as the PS5 and the Xbox Series X. And while we don’t expect Nintendo to put out a follow-up for a while, it’s fun to imagine what such a device might look like.
In the spirit of exercising our imaginations, I'd like to pitch seven features I'd like from the Switch 2. Maybe in a few years, we can look back and see which ones made the cut. And, when it comes to other consoles, here are eight things we want to see in the PS6.
4K docked output
The Switch is the only current-gen console that doesn’t offer 4K output, and it was already a noticeable drawback two years ago. While 4K TVs were still a luxury when the Switch launched, now they’re the norm, whereas 1080p TVs are almost exclusively budget models.
Granted, impressive graphics aren’t the most important thing a game can offer. But when every new Microsoft and Sony game comes in stunning 4K, it makes us wonder how gorgeous a Zelda or Mario title might look if Nintendo followed suit. It’s hard to imagine that Nintendo would stick with 1080p output for another generation, so let’s hope that this one is a reasonable request.
1080p handheld screen
Whereas a 4K docked mode is a must-have, a 1080p handheld screen would be nice-to-have. Generally speaking, 720p resolution is fine on a six- or seven-inch screen, as the best Switch OLED games in particular demonstrate. Still, the best phones offer 1080p resolution or higher on a 6-inch screen, and there’s no reason why a new Nintendo Switch couldn’t do the same.
With most smartphones offering console games via cloud gaming, a full HD handheld Switch would be a strong competitor, particularly since it wouldn’t need an Internet connection to play most games. We do wonder whether a 120 Hz refresh rate would be feasible, though, or whether we’ll have to settle for 60 Hz again.
Generally speaking, the Tom’s Guide staff does not hold the Joy-Cons in high regard. While they can facilitate some fun impromptu multiplayer sessions, that’s about the best we can say for them. Each individual Joy-Con is tiny, and the controller mount puts the analog sticks at odd angles.
Joy-Con drift is an ongoing issue, and if you want a superior Switch Pro Controller, you’ll have to shell out $70 for the privilege. Perhaps the Switch 2 should have hardwired buttons on the console and a Pro Controller included in the box, which would facilitate the best of both worlds. On the other hand, the Joy-Cons are kid-friendly in a way that most other controllers aren’t, so maybe there’s a happy medium.
Classic games, à la carte
Right now, if you want to play NES or SNES games on the Switch, you have to shell out a monthly fee for the Nintendo Switch Online service. If you want to play Genesis or N64 games, you have to purchase an even more expensive Expansion Pass. Compare and contrast to the Wii, Wii U and 3DS, which let you buy classic games à la carte and keep them forever.
While there’s nothing wrong with the subscription model, it shouldn’t be the only way to experience classic games on the Switch. As we’ve pointed out, the Switch could be an amazing retro console, if only Nintendo were a little more flexible in offering its extensive and beloved back catalog.
Revamped online multiplayer
Let’s not beat around the bush: the Nintendo Switch Online app is not very good, and neither is the experience of playing Switch games online. Whereas Sony and Microsoft perfected friend lists, multiplayer parties and voice chat years ago, the Switch still requires tedious workarounds with smartphones.
This creates a vicious cycle: As gamers buy major multiplayer games for other platforms, developers will be less and less likely to release, or support, Switch versions. Online multiplayer has historically never been a priority for Nintendo systems, but it’s simply something that console gamers expect now — and they have every right to expect it to work seamlessly, too.
Sensible save data transfer
The only word to describe the Nintendo Switch’s current save system is “atrocious.” I learned this firsthand when Nintendo deleted all my save files during a routine repair procedure, and I had no way to recover them. Even though the Switch can connect to computers and utilize microSD cards without issue, the only way to back up your save files is to subscribe to the disappointing Nintendo Switch Online service. Even then, syncing data between multiple Switches is an enormous pain, and some games don’t support standard cloud saves at all, requiring tedious workarounds instead.
The current Switch uses flash memory for game installation and save files. Back in 2017, this was a sensible solution for a system that was too small for a standard hard disk drive. However, we now have the M.2 solid state drive — a tiny SSD that can store entire terabytes of data, and load files almost instantaneously. Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X employ SSDs, and loading times this generation are much, much faster than they used to be. Nintendo switching from flash memory to an M.2 SSD seems like a no-brainer, since there don’t seem to be any size, power or performance constraints.
For now, that’s our wish list for the Switch 2. What would you like to see — and, more importantly, when do you think we might see it?