Rumors around the Nintendo Switch 2 have been thin on the ground as of late, to the extent that we may not see a new Switch console for some time yet.
While we did get the Nintendo Switch OLED last year, that didn't go far enough in making changes to what we already had in the base Switch. We'd be looking for things like a 4K display, more storage and more ports for accessories in the Nintendo Switch 2.
Nintendo Switch 2 news and rumors (updated May 14)
- A new Nintendo console has been tipped for 2024 release — could it be the Switch 2?
- During a recent Q&A in the wake of posting its latest financial results, Nintendo teased that a "next-gen" device is coming and suggested it may be backwards compatible with the Switch's existing library of games.
- Nintendo has reiterated that the current Switch has four or five years left of life in it, which means a Switch 2 may not be necessary for some time to come.
New Nintendo Switch 2 potential release date
Piers Harding-Rolls of Ampere Analysis has said that “Ampere is currently forecasting a next-gen Nintendo device to release in 2024."
The analyst predicts that despite the strong recent sales of the current Switch consoles, they will eventually decline leading to the need for a new Nintendo console. But what's not clear is if that'll be the Nintendo Switch 2 or a completely new console.
Nintendo released multiple generations, as well as upgraded and alternative versions, of the Game Boy and 3DS. So we see no reason why it couldn't do the same for the Switch, given that's now its only handheld console that it's actively selling. So we'd not write off the potential for a Nintendo Switch 2, only we'd expect to wait another couple of years for it to arrive.
- Nintendo Switch: March 3, 2017
- Nintendo Switch (upgraded battery): August 2019
- Nintendo Switch Lite: September 20, 2019
- Nintendo Switch OLED: October 8, 2021
New Nintendo Switch 2 price
The OLED Nintendo Switch costs $349. This fits with the previous speculation.
Analyst Matthew Kanterman of Bloomberg Intelligence believed 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 guessed 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
The OLED Nintendo Switch reveal fits some but not all of the leaks we've previously reported, giving more of a boosted 'Pro' version of the current Switch than a whole new 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. We don't know the chip in the new model yet, but Nintendo confirmed the 64GB storage upgrade from the previous 32GB capacity.
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.
New Nintendo Switch 2 display
The screen is one of the key parts of the Switch, so we're not surprised Nintendo is making that panel prettier with OLED. That said, it's still a 720p panel, only outputting in 1080p (at most) when docked. That matches our own reporting has confirmed that an upcoming Nintendo Switch iteration will use OLED displays provided by Samsung.
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.”
Supporting the OLED theory was a recent mention of a new Switch console by the head of Universal Display Corporation. Steven V. Abramson, the company's president and CEO, said Nintendo was looking to move to OLED for the benefits it offered over LCD for contrast and response times. It's a good sign that even if Nintendo's staying quiet about it, there is a new Switch coming.
Whichever kind of display Nintendo chooses, there may be a resolution bump too. According to Bloomberg, a new Switch will use an advanced upscaling technique to achieve 4K resolution. 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.
The same report said that the new Switch will be capable of a 4K output, if not native 4K rendering, and will sport a larger OLED display.
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.
New Nintendo Switch 2 features
Just like the original Switch, the OLED Switch allows for play in docked-TV, tabletop and handheld modes. Neat upgrades include an Ethernet port on the dock, and a new kickstand for better tabletop gaming.
That said, 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.
That technology doesn't seem to be in this Nintendo Switch. 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 about the Nintendo Switch Pro?
For a while, the so-called Nintendo Switch Pro was tipped as a follow-up to the original Switch. But then the Nintendo Switch OLED came along, upgrading pars of the original Switch but not its performance. This meant there are still some smouldering rumors that a 'pro' version could be in the works.
But Nintendo has said this is not going to be the case, meaning the rumors and claimed leaks we've heard so far are set to be for a second-generation Switch rather than a mid-generation upgrade. Ther'es no easy way to get any confirmation here, so we need to go by gut instinct. We reckon an improved Switch console is in the works, whether it's called the Switch Pro or Switch 2 may be moot.
What we want from the Nintendo Switch 2
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.
Why we want a Nintendo Switch 2
This all said, we're still hoping that Nintendo upgrades the speed and adds 4K at some point. 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 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 the OLED panel could make Nintendo's games look a heck of a lot better and make the company's hybrid console more appealing for fans of big third-party franchises.
Should I wait for a Nintendo Switch 2?
If you were waiting for 4K, you may be disappointed, but if you wanted a better screen for on-the-go gaming, you're probably elated. We're pretty jazzed about the new kickstand, to be honest, though that doesn't really scream "Nintendo Switch Pro," either.
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.
The OLED Switch will work with the console's existing game library, as we expected. 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.