Nintendo hasn’t officially announced a Nintendo Switch 2 yet. And given that its innovative hybrid console remains as popular as ever, it’s easy to see why it hasn’t been in much of a hurry.
But it’s starting to feel like official confirmation is all we’re waiting for at this point. Rumours have been swirling around since last summer and have only intensified in the months since, with the general consensus being that the Switch 2 – which will almost certainly not be what Nintendo calls it – is pretty likely to arrive at some point in 2024.
We know very little about Nintendo’s lineup for this year beyond the summer, and right now you could argue that the biggest game on the horizon is Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, a remaster of a 20-year-old GameCube game. When the release calendar starts to fill up with re-releases, you can safely predict that new hardware is being prepared, and with most smartphones now packing more power than Nintendo’s machine, it really is time.
Without any concrete information about the Switch 2, we can only really speculate about what it might look like based on the industry whisperings, but we are very capable of saying what we want Nintendo to do with its next-gen console. You know, just in case someone important might be reading.
Here’s everything we do (and don’t want) from the hopefully imminent follow-up to the Nintendo Switch.
1. A similar form factor
The Nintendo Switch launched in 2017, and the seamlessness of its hybrid functionality still impresses us on a daily basis. Being able to slide the handheld device into a dock and have your game appear on the TV, and vice versa, in just a few seconds, is still a bit magical, while the freedom to take your library of Mario and Zelda bangers anywhere you want is the reason a lot of gamers still prefer the Switch to any other platform.
It would be a massive shame, then, if Nintendo decided to abandon this concept entirely for a new innovation. Fortunately, the likes of VGC and Eurogamer have been told by sources that another hybrid console that can dock to your TV is what we’re likely getting, but we don’t know the specifics. The detachable Joy-Cons are another great feature of the Switch, giving you even more ways to play while keeping the spirit of the Wii alive with their motion control functionality, but for all we know Nintendo might decide that a solid unit, like the Switch Lite, is its vision for the future, and that would be disappointing – especially if you like playing games in tabletop mode. We hope that Nintendo adopts an ‘if it ain’t broke…’ mentality with the Switch 2.
2. Backwards compatibility
For a lot of people, this is the big one. Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa reportedly told the company’s shareholders that it wanted customers to be able to ‘smoothly transition’ to its next console using their Nintendo Accounts, which an optimist would read as confirmation that the Switch’s library will be backwards compatible with the Switch 2. But we still don’t know that for sure.
Nintendo’s track record makes for fairly positive reading, given that the Wii U was backwards compatible with the Wii before it, the 3DS with the DS, and the original DS with the Game Boy Advance. Provided Nintendo sticks with cartridges and the internal architecture the Switch 2 uses is compatible with the original games, it makes sense that both your physical Switch games and any purchased using your Nintendo Account would be playable on new hardware too. But until it’s a guarantee, Switch owners anticipating the arrival of a successor might be starting to think twice about buying new games now.
3. More power
It’s fair to say that developers have wrung every last drop of power from the humble Nvidia Tegra X1 chipset that the current Switch uses. Despite it being on the back foot from day one, we’ve seen some stunning games on Nintendo’s console, and we’d wager that the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Pikmin 4 were as easy on the eye as any of last year’s PS5 and Xbox Series X offerings. As they (probably) say, it’s not about how many pixels you have, but how you use them. And let’s not forget that, despite all the odds, you can play The Witcher 3 on a Nintendo Switch. It’s a miracle of a machine.
It would be nice, though, if the Switch 2 had a bit more power in the tank. There have been too many stories about bad Switch ports in the last few years (shockingly Batman: Arkham Knight isn’t much fun when it looks like soup), and the handheld market is a lot more competitive than it was when the hybrid console first launched. You only have to spend an hour or two with a Steam Deck in your hands to start daydreaming about a Nintendo handheld that could handle the likes of Baldur’s Gate 3 and Elden Ring, even if it meant spending a bit more time at a plug socket. And playing the next 3D Mario game in 4K at 60fps on the TV would be pretty good, too.
4. An OLED display
We loved the original Nintendo Switch, but once the OLED model arrived it was consigned to a draw that it hasn’t since left. Once you’ve experienced the inky blacks and eye-poppingly vibrant colours made possible by OLED tech it’s really hard to go back to LCD, and frankly we don’t want to when the Switch 2 arrives. The Steam Deck OLED has only reinforced this, and with OLED set to eventually become the default display for Valve’s handheld PC, it would make it even harder to swallow an LCD-only Switch successor.
We could imagine a world in which Nintendo unveils two variants of its next-gen console, with a pricier OLED option for those willing to pay a premium for the superior display tech. But returning to LCD full stop would be a backwards step at a time when OLED is becoming the norm.
5. Even more retro games
Nintendo has never been shy in asking its customers to repurchase games they already own for new hardware, but with Nintendo Switch Online the strategy appears to have shifted towards a subscription model. With a Nintendo Switch + Expansion Pack membership you can access a growing library of retro Nintendo games spanning from the NES to the N64, and last year the company started adding Game Boy and Game Boy Advance titles to boot.
We’ve really enjoyed revisiting the likes of 1080° Snowboarding and Metroid Fusion in the last 12 months, but the drip feed of new games can be frustrating. If Nintendo is to continue with Nintendo Switch Online in its current guise for the Switch 2, we’d like to see these libraries expand more quickly, and perhaps it’s time for GameCube games, too? Nintendo fans are definitely having a better time of it than PS5 owners hoping to play classic PlayStation games on PS Plus – a benefit Sony appears to have forgotten about entirely – but there are plenty of gems still missing on NSO.
6. A more interesting UI
Before the Switch, Nintendo’s consoles were known for their personality. The Wii Shop Channel music is legendary, while the Mii Plaza was a more fun take on the Metaverse than anything Zuckerberg and co have served up. The Switch, as brilliant as it is, is kind of boring in comparison. Nearly seven years from launch we still have just two themes to choose from: black and white. The 3DS had a wide range of game-specific downloadable themes complete with sound effects and music. It’s bizarre that Nintendo has never opted to do something similar with the Switch, especially given how many custom Joy-Con sets there have been.
The Switch’s UI is undeniably clean and easy to navigate, putting your games at the forefront of the experience. But with the Switch 2 we hope it can find a happy medium; similarly uncluttered, but with a bit more personality injected.
7. A more robust online gaming service
Nintendo took a long time to get its head around online gaming, and with the Switch it’s done a lot of catching up. Games like Splatoon 3 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe have large and very active online communities, and both continue to be well supported. But online gaming on the Switch still asks people to jump through too many hoops. There remains no in-game voice chat functionality, with Nintendo instead opting for a solution that involves you connecting to its smartphone app. While it’s easy enough to do once you know how, it’s also needlessly complicated.
And there seems to be little chance of the Japanese giant allowing an official Discord app to appear in the eShop any time soon. We know that the Call of Duty series will be coming to the Switch in the not-so distant future, and when that happens, Nintendo really needs to make it easier for gamers to communicate with their friends during a game.
8. More entertainment apps
The lack of a Netflix app on Switch has been a running joke since it first launched, and it still hasn’t shown up. You could argue that Nintendo keeping the Switch focused on games has been one of the platform’s great strengths, but being able to take a break from shrine-hunting in Tears of the Kingdom to watch a few episodes of Scott Pilgrim Takes Off on the train would be nice, especially as the Switch’s display is likely bigger than your phone’s.
Nintendo might not want to make the Switch 2 a portable entertainment center, but if it did, it could entice an even larger audience.