Nintendo saved a dying handheld console market back in 2017 when it launched the Nintendo Switch. But almost as long as that system has existed, rumours have abounded that Ninty has a more expensive and powerful version of the Switch in the pipeline.
It’s known to many as the Switch Pro, 2, and a few renegades as the Super Switch. We thought we were going to get it in 2021, but it turned out to be the original Switch, with a larger OLED display. That was the Nintendo Switch OLED. Before then, Nintendo went the opposite way in 2019, launching the cheaper, non-modular Switch Lite and gave the original Switch a very basic refresh the same year to improve battery life.
For all this chatter, the Nintendo Switch is still the definitive new-gen handheld console. It makes up for its lack of firepower (compared to full fat systems like the PlayStation 5, at least) with a combination of killer games, portability and that all-important dash of Ninty magic. Nintendo seems to be continuing to bet that high-profile new exclusives will keep the Switch selling. But for how long?
We need, nay, deserve an upgrade to the Switch. The handheld is often criticised for its relative lack of oomph when compared to the PS5 (or even PS4). Simply put, the current version is not keeping up with the games it’s releasing.
Is the elusive Nintendo Switch 2 actually in the pipeline? And if so, when will we see it – and what will it do? We’ve dug through all of the internet gossip to sift out the most likely story. Here’s everything we know about the Nintendo Switch 2 so far, including its potential specs, price, games, and release window – plus all the Switch 2 rumours, news and leaks we can find.
Switch 2 or Switch Pro: which is it?
There’s a million and one rumours we could analyse to find a potential release date.
In 2022, Ninty boss Shuntaro Furukawa set fire to keyboards by not totally denying the existence of a Switch Pro or Switch 2, as he has done in the past. We’ve heard reporting from Digital Foundry that Nintendo planned on releasing a mid-gen Switch that everyone, including us, called the Switch Pro. However, says Digital Foundry, these plans have been scrapped. Jeff Grubb said in a podcast appearance that the Switch could indeed be getting an upgrade, but it’s not a Switch 2. The update could, with emphasis on the ‘could’, look to announce a “super Switch” that is “more significant than they’ve done since the Game Boy Color.”
These murmurs have all seemingly been debunked, and it comes straight from the horses mouth. As reported by Bloomberg, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said to investors during a presentation that the Japanese company isn’t considering new hardware in the 2023/24 financial year. That would be late April 2024 at the very earliest, but there’s probably more chance of winning the lottery than Nintendo releasing new hardware in less than a year. One can dream…
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Nintendo Switch 2 rumours: Nvidia leaks and more
All the way back in March 2022, a new Nintendo Switch console was seemingly confirmed through the Nvidia leaks, which references “nvn2”, a graphics API that game boffins have linked to the Switch 2.
Obviously, we know that any Switch 2 console will be more powerful than the plain ol’ Switch. What this leak claims to reveal is that the Switch 2 will come with ray tracing support and DLSS. This basically means it will utilise AI to turbocharge its graphics, increasing frame rate and resolution beyond what would otherwise be possible.
This neatly ties in with one of the main Switch 2 rumours. This rumour suggests it will play games in 4K, and if you really want to get in to the nitty gritty, there are further references to T234 and T239 chips – the T234 packing a 2048 Ampere GPU CUDA core and 12x ARM Cortex-A78AE 64-bit cores.
Revelations since then have pointed to the new Switch running on brand new NVIDIA tech. According to the YouTube channel RedGamingTech, This includes NVIDIA’s Ada Lovelace GPU framework, as well as the most current Cortex X4 and A720 CPU core tech. In translation, this could mean the next Switch incarnation will perform somewhere close to the PS4. And while we’re speculating, this could mean ray tracing and a hugely improved CPU performance are coming.
Nintendo Switch 2 release date: when will it come out?
In short, we imagine not many folks outside of Nintendo knows for certain. Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa admitted in a May 203 earnings call that the first-gen Switch was unlikely to sustain the company coffers into 2024, but didn’t elaborate any further.
The biggest release clue yet might’ve come from an unlikely source. Video games reporter Benji Sales noted how Activision CEO Bobby Kotick shared some interesting information about Nintendo during an ongoing case between the FTC and Microsoft. At the hearing, Kotick stated how the next Nintendo console will perform similarly to the PS4 and Xbox One.
Kotick’s testimony came after Ubisoft CEO, Yves Guillemot, added more fuel to the Switch 2 fire. In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Guillemot shared how Nintendo told Ubisoft to hold off releasing Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope until a new Switch had been released. Would Nintendo have asked this unless a new console was imminent? Maybe, but maybe not.
A major hint may have come in a rumour discovered by Windows Central Managing Editor Jez Corden. At this year’s Gamescom, held in Cologne, Germany, Cordon heard murmurings that Nintendo may have shown and/or discussed a new Switch “behind closed doors”.
Reports since Gamescom have suggested that the Switch 2 was running Zelda: BOTW at 4K 60FPS. Nintendo insider, Nate The Hate, also described in a YouTube video how the Switch 2 has virtually no load times. That makes for exciting news, should the rumours be true.
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Nintendo Switch 2 price: how much will it cost?
It’s a tricky task, placing a price tag on a console that may or may not exist. Especially when Nintendo doesn’t have a long history of shipping premium versions of its games consoles. Most analyst reports aren’t too helpful either, with one simply suggesting that it will be “priced higher than the original”.
The first Nintendo Switch cost $300/£280 when it launched in 2017. Even as it has aged, its enduring popularity means the Switch has pretty much maintained that price tag since. The Nintendo Switch Lite came in at $200/£200, while the Switch OLED will set you back $350/£310.
We expect the Switch 2 to slot in at around the same price as the Nintendo Switch OLED, if not slightly above. By what margin can only be a matter of guesswork, but there are suggestions that the Switch 2 will cost $399, or around £320. That would largely put it on par with the Switch OLED, and considerably more than the vanilla Switch.
Will the Nintendo Switch Pro play games in 4K?
Before the arrival of the Nintendo Switch OLED, many reports indicated that superior screen tech would be one of the key features of the premium handheld. But since Ninty went ahead and strapped a shiny new display to the existing Switch, that prediction’s been blown out of the water.
So what does that leave for the Switch Pro? Well, it’s likely to adopt broadly the same form factor as the existing Switch. Sure, there might a few physical refinements, but there’s an expectation of familiarity and compatibility with existing accessories.
With the display already upsized from 6.2in to 7in with the OLED edition, there’s not too much room left for Ninty to tweak it further. Of course, the resolution remains very low by modern standards at 720p. Yet that’s also a perfect pixel density for most games played on the Switch. Sure, a bump to 1080p might deal with a few of the jagged edges. The resulting reduction in battery life, though, would have a far bigger impact on the handheld gaming experience. That’s doubly true if Ninty pushed the pixels to 4K.
Instead, most speculation centres around the ability to play games in 4K on a TV when the Switch 2 is docked. This would make more sense than 4K gaming on the go and significantly improve the living room Switch experience. The Switch OLED’s upgraded dock already ships with a chipset and cable. These are believed to support 4K (even though the OLED itself doesn’t), so there’s a good chance that an upgraded console could be dropped straight onto the existing dock for gaming in UltraHD.
Away from 4K games in the palm of your hand, a common gripe amongst Nintendo Switch gamers is that the original console came with no backward compatibility function. Some choice words from Nintendo director Shigeru Miyamoto, however, hints that could be a thing of the past for the future Switch.
As reported by the Video Game Chronicle, in a Q&A session following publication of its latest financial results Miyamoto stated: “Video games developed for dedicated consoles were created in different development environments for each console. As a result, when the hardware changed, the development environment could not necessarily be reused, and so the video games that had been released on older consoles could not be played on newer consoles without additional modification. Recently, however, the development environment has increasingly become more standardised, and we now have an environment that allows players to enjoy older video games on newer consoles more easily than ever before.”
While Miyamoto’s comments were not an outright confirmation that the future Switch will play older games, they certainly suggest the feature would be easier to implement the next time around.
Nintendo Switch 2 specs: How much power will the new Switch have?
Five years is a long time in terms of gaming hardware, especially for a console that wasn’t at the cutting edge of performance even when new. Nintendo has never been one to make outright power a priority. That said, we’d expect to see the Switch 2 ship with a beefed up chip. And if Ninty wants to add 4K TV gaming to its repertoire, then it’ll need to.
Rumours indicate that the Tegra X1+ chip is soon to be discontinued by Nvidia altogether, which would leave Nintendo in need of new silicone. Some believe Nvidia’s meatier Tegra Xavier chip could be put to use by the Switch Pro, together with 64GB of solid-state storage.
As above, much of this is pure conjecture. The widespread belief – and hope – is that the Switch 2 will deliver boosted CPU and graphics performance.
To do this, some sources suggest Nintendo will rely on a version of Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling smarts. Essentially, this is an AI rendering tech which can boost graphics performance by enhancing and upscaling images. Given that it’s currently limited to specific games and hardware, meaningful implementation on the Switch platform would represent a significant – and perhaps unrealistic – expansion of its use.
What else do we want from the Nintendo Switch Pro?
Besides a 1080p display, 4K video output to a TV when docked and beefier graphics hardware, there’s one thing many fans would hope to see from the Switch Pro: stronger battery life. The Switch already received a boost in this regard when Ninty quietly upgraded its cell in 2019. But if the Switch 2 really is to ship with a more powerful processor, the battery might need another increase to match.
Many would also hope to see the Switch 2 offer better DisplayPort support over USB-C. Connecting to gaming monitors has proved something of a sticking point for the original Switch, with reliable video output only guaranteed by connecting via HDMI. Some murmurings suggest that the Switch 2 will address this, allowing output of 4K streams using DisplayPort over USB-C.
What about Bluetooth? The Switch might finally support wireless headphones, but support for other Bluetooth accessories is still pretty bolted down. You still can’t use a Bluetooth mic with the Switch. Connecting headphones limits you to two controllers, too (an allowance maxed out by the Joy-Cons). We’d hope to see the Switch 2 lift at least some of these restrictions. If it’s real. And it ever arrives. Watch this space.