Nintendo Switch 2 and Switch Pro news, rumours, specs and more
When will we be able to Switch it up to a new console?
When will there be a Nintendo Switch 2? 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.
Prior to that, 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. And with a highly anticipated new Zelda on the way, too, the Switch could do with some upgraded specs.
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?
The Nintendo Switch 2 rumour mill was grinding to something of a halt after March’s huge Nvidia specs leak (more on than below), but has since reignited. In May 2022, analyst Piers Harding-Rolls of Ampere Analysis shared a research note. In it, Harding-Rolls predicted that the Nintendo Switch 2 release date was still a couple of years away. The double-barrel crystal ball gazer posits 2024 as the year we’ll see the new system finally emerge.
At around the same time, Ninty boss Shuntaro Furukawa set fire to keyboards once again. Rather than totally deny the existence of a Switch Pro or Switch 2 (as he has previously), Furukawa declined to comment on the company’s plans for such a device. That didn’t do much to quell the gossip, then.
Those words also fitted nicely with the fact that we had our first significant next-gen Switch leak in early 2022. Both nuggets of info quietly suggested that a Switch 2 might be closer than we think.
There’s still a very real chance that fans and onlookers are clutching at straws for the lack of more substantial new Switch rumours of late. That said, the fact that the analysis comes via a respected source like Bloomberg certainly lends it some credences in our eyes. In August 2022, Nikkei reported there would be no new Switch hardware before the end of the current financial year. That ends in March 2023.
With all that said, though, we recently heard a rumour that if proven true will either delight or disappoint fans. As reported by Digital Foundry in a Youtube video, Nintendo had planned on releasing a mid-gen Switch that everyone, including us, called the Switch Pro. However, says Digital Foundry, these plans have been scrapped. Instead, Nintendo are putting all their efforts into a Switch sequel. The console formerly known as Switch Pro was apparently real, but if whispers are to be believed it is no longer.
All these whispers may be futile, though, if the latest words from insider Jeff Grubb are to be believed. In a podcast appearance, Grubb divulged 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.” Yes, the details may be a little ambiguous, but it’s something at least.
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Nintendo Switch 2 rumours: Nvidia leaks and more
Back in March, 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.
Adding more fuel to the fire, in September 2022 Nintendo Life reported that a supposed Nvidia employee may have (potentially accidentally) confirmed the existence of a Tegra239 chip, which has been rumoured will power the Nintendo Switch Pro. The rumour was originally shared via a post on r/GamingLeaksAndRumours.
At a three-day event, and in relation to the Tegra239 chip, the Nvidia employee is alleged to have said: “Adding support for Tegra239 SoC which has eight cores in a single cluster. Also, moving num_clusters to soc data to avoid over allocating memory for four clusters always.”
In translation, this could mean the next Switch incarnation will have a T239 System-on-Chip and an 8-core CPU. In the Reddit post’s comment sections, users estimate this will place the Switch Pro/2’s performance somewhere close to the PS4.
Remember the golden rule, though. Continue to take all the rumours with several big pinches of salt.
Nintendo Switch 2 release date: when will it come out?
In short: no-one outside of Nintendo knows for certain. In this very feature last year we shared intel from “reliable sources” that Ninty was gearing up for an autumn launch, just in time for the pre-Christmas run. Clearly, that didn’t happen. Sorry. Instead, we got the Switch OLED, with its improved stand and superior screen.
Perhaps the more pertinent question is whether the Nintendo Switch 2 was ever going to launch last year. Was it simply conjecture, or was the Switch 2 delayed by supply chain difficulties? Nintendo’s official line remains that it has “no plans for launching any other model at this time.” So the jury is still out.
Indeed, some of the same sources which were certain that the Switch 2 would hit shelves in 2021 reported that a premium variant wouldn’t be seen until the end of 2022. That, clearly, didn’t happen. As we mentioned earlier, other sources have suggested that the Pro has already been canned completely, in favour of a new next-gen Switch 2 console. As you can tell, there’s a huge Question Mark Block hovering over the whole thing.
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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.
If a Switch Pro ever arrives, we’d expect it 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. That’s especially true as some rumours suggest that the Switch Pro would replace the vanilla Switch device in the line-up (meaning it would need to remain broadly accessible).
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.
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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.
Multiple reports point towards the Switch 2 shipping with an upgraded version of the Nvidia Tegra X1+ chip which currently powers the Switch and Switch Lite. One suggestion is that Nintendo will stick with the same chip, but enhance its abilities through increased clock speeds and improved cooling.
Yet other 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.
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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.