- Getty Images/Michael Kovac
- Nintendo’s Switch is two years old, and it’s still an absurdly popular game console.
- According to several reports, Nintendo is deep into work on the next versions of the Nintendo Switch.
- Notably, the rumors point to two different versions of the Nintendo Switch in development.
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A new console from Nintendo? Already? Yes and no.
It’s been just two years since Nintendo’s Switch arrived, and in those two years it’s become a major hit. And now, in 2019, it sounds like Nintendo is gearing up for a second version of its hit console – or maybe even two!
Here’s what we’re hearing about the next Nintendo Switch:
Rumors first began circulating in late 2018, starting with a Wall Street Journal report.
Nintendo is expected to release at least one new iteration of the Nintendo Switch in 2019, according to a Wall Street Journal report from October 2018.
The report cites “suppliers and others with direct knowledge” of Nintendo’s plans. Nintendo didn’t comment on the report at the time, nor has it directly acknowledged work on a new version of the Switch.
The report noted that the specifics of that new version of the Switch were still in flux at the time – in so many words, it wasn’t clear what the new version of the Switch would be. Perhaps it would have a larger battery, or a better screen, or attached Joy-Con controllers, or all three! Or none!
That remains unclear.
Analyst Serkan Toto predicted in January that the release of the new version of Switch, which he also expects to arrive this year, will lower the price of the existing Switch – or maybe even a “lite” version of the Switch will arrive alongside the new version.
“I also think Nintendo will offer a ‘Switch Lite’ (or just keep the current version at a lower price) to cover the lower end of the spectrum and offset sinking 3DS sales,” he told GamesIndustry.biz.
Then in March, rumors pointed to Nintendo working on two new versions of the Switch: a dedicated handheld model and a more powerful home version.
One is said to be a more powerful version of the current console, with “enhanced features targeted at avid videogamers,” according to a Wall Street Journal report. Despite the reported horsepower increase, this new Switch version is said to still lag behind Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro and Microsoft’s Xbox One X consoles.
The other version of the Switch, which was previously rumored, is said to be a portable-focused device. Nintendo didn’t respond to a request for comment on the report.
The rumor isn’t without precedent: Video game console makers, including Nintendo, are known for releasing new versions of existing consoles.
Similarly, in releasing a more powerful version of an existing console, console makers can bolster horsepower without having to release an entirely new platform.
In the case of the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X, for instance, both consoles offer sharper visuals and snappier load times, even though they’re only intended to play standard PlayStation 4 and Xbox One games.
Nintendo could reveal the new consoles as soon as this June at the annual E3 video game trade show in Los Angeles, the report said.
Then, in April, new rumors pointed to just one new version of the Switch arriving this year, and a revised version of the existing Switch.
- Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Nintendo
Two reports in April – one from Nikkei and another from Bloomberg – point to a change in Nintendo’s plans: One new version of Switch, focused on portability, could arrive this year, and the second, more powerful device is either delayed or outright canceled in favor of a revision to the existing Switch.
The Nikkei report says that Nintendo will release a smaller, less expensive, portability-focused Nintendo Switch this fall.
That lines up with previous rumors about a Nintendo Switch hardware iteration, which pointed to two new versions of the Nintendo Switch: a smaller, less expensive one, and a more powerful new version.
The latter device is reportedly delayed, according to Nikkei, which cites development challenges.
Bloomberg, however, says that the more portable version of the Switch could arrive as soon as this June, and that the more powerful Switch will just be an update to the existing hardware (rather than a design revision).
Nintendo isn’t commenting on either.
Various Xbox services, including Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass, are rumored to arrive on the Nintendo Switch.
Though it’s not dependent on new hardware from Nintendo, it looks like Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass services are headed to the Nintendo Switch.
The former was confirmed by Microsoft itself, which discussed the upcoming functionality in a panel at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this past March. The latter is still a rumor, though multiple sources have reported as much.
Each service offers its own benefits to Nintendo Switch owners.
Xbox Live brings all the benefits of Microsoft’s rich online service, like matchmaking, friends lists, messages, and more. There’s already a form of Xbox Live on the Nintendo Switch: cross-play gaming.
Xbox Game Pass is a Netflix-style game library that includes everything Microsoft publishes and a variety of third-party content. The long and short is this: Xbox Game Pass would bring Xbox One games to the Nintendo Switch, likely via Microsoft’s Project xCloud game streaming service (the Nintendo Switch can’t power Xbox One games itself).
What we expect from Nintendo Switch 2.0:
Why would Nintendo make a new version of the Switch? Because Nintendo is in the business of making money, and a new version of the Switch would likely cost less to make while being sold for the same $300 (or more!) than the current Switch costs to buy.
It’s why Nintendo released so many versions of its Nintendo DS and 3DS consoles, and why Microsoft and Sony do the same thing with their Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
At the same time, new hardware re-ignites excitement – though, admittedly, the Nintendo Switch already has plenty of momentum.
It’s also an opportunity to smooth out the jagged edges.
The Switch could use a stronger battery, and a better screen. The Joy-Con wireless gamepads could have a more secure connection, or simply be permanently attached to the console. It could have better support for new WiFi standards, and come with more internal storage.
In short, there are plenty of changes Nintendo could make to the Switch to make it a better console.