Switch OLED ABXY Closeup
Image: Nintendo Life

Nintendo Switch launched in March 2017 and is now in its eighth year on store shelves. In that time, Nintendo has released both the Nintendo Switch Lite (2019), a handheld-only variant, and the Nintendo Switch OLED Model (2021), a premium version with a larger OLED screen and other minor enhancements to the base model.

However, whispers have circulated for many years about a 'Switch Pro', a long-rumoured enhanced Switch console with increased technical abilities. A variety of sources — some more reliable than others — suggested a range of potential features this upgraded Nintendo hardware might have, including 4K output, improved processing power offering improved frame rates for existing titles, and more.

However, this fabled Switch 'Pro' model has yet to materialise and rumours suggest that although it was once part of Nintendo's plans, strong sales of the standard model and supply constraints exacerbated by the pandemic caused the company to abandon the 'Pro' project and focus instead on the true successor to Nintendo Switch.

In this 'Switch 2' guide, we'll cover all industry rumours and everything we know about the next Nintendo console. We will update this guide with more information as Switch 2 announcements are made.

Nintendo Switch 2
Image: Nintendo

Nintendo Switch 2 - Release Date

With a statement regarding plans for Nintendo's Switch "successor" planned for sometime before 31st March 2025, the expectation is that Nintendo 'Switch 2' will launch sometime in 2025.

According to Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa's message, the next Nintendo console will be announced "within this fiscal year", although exactly when 'Switch 2' will come out is unconfirmed.

At an investor Q&A meeting, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said that producing "enough units to meet demand" was a priority. Rumours also point to a 2025 launch for Nintendo's next console, although a lunch date this year was initially targeted.

Prior to Nintendo's announcement, analysts had been predicting a 2024 launch for a new Nintendo console. Piers Harding-Rolls of Ampere Analysis told GamesIndustry.Biz at the end of 2022 that the company was forecasting new Nintendo hardware for 2024.

Having spoken to various sources, VGC also claimed that the Switch's successor would release in the second half of 2024, with multiple people stating that development kits were in the hands of "key partner studios" as of August 2023.

CEO of game industry consultancy firm Kantan Games Dr. Serkan Toto also predicted that the console will be an iteration of the current Switch model, but that it will launch in 2024, and would cost $400.

On 11th January 2024, Altec Lansing — an audio electronics company behind Ai Shark, a successor to Gameshark — claimed to know the launch date of 'Nintendo Switch 2', which it put in September 2024 (the same month its Gameshark successor would be launching). The company quickly backtracked, saying that Nintendo had "not officially clarified" launch details, and the smell of 'marketing stunt to elevate profile' wafted around the internet for a day or so.

On Friday 26th January, Omdia analyst Hiroshi Hayase claimed that Nintendo's next-gen console would launch in 2024 and feature an 8-inch LCD screen. They also suggested that Nintendo aims to manufacture over 10 million units by the end of FY2025 (March 2025) and that there are no plans "for this year" (2024) regarding a 'Switch 2' OLED variant.

Nintendo Switch 2 - Specs

Nvidia Chip
Image: Nvidia

'Switch 2' is rumoured to run on Nvidia's T239 system-on-a-chip, which should be capable of offering PlayStation 4/Xbox One levels of performance and visuals in a handheld, mobile form factor.

When asked whether the new system would continue Switch's hybrid handheld/home console setup, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said that "the most appropriate expression to use was 'successor to Nintendo Switch.'" This suggests that it will once again be a portable system that can connect to a TV.

Switch 2 is rumoured to feature an LCD screen rather than an OLED to reduce manufacturing costs.

Sources have suggested that Switch 2's power was demonstrated using the Matrix Awakens Unreal Engine 5 demo behind closed doors at Gamescom 2023.

Will the Switch 2 be backwards compatible?

Nintendo Switch 2
Image: Nintendo

It's possible that Switch 2 will be backwards compatible with Switch games, although Nintendo hasn't confirmed this functionality at the time of writing.

In the past, Nintendo has included backwards compatibility with the preceding console's library. The original Wii model could play GameCube software, and the Wii U was compatible with all Wii games.

Likewise, the Game Boy Advance played Game Boy and Game Boy Color software. Original Nintendo DS models were compatible with the GBA library, and 3DS played all DS games.

Will Switch 2 offer 4K visuals?

Nintendo Switch 2
Image: Nintendo

Technically, the current Switch's dock is capable of delivering 4K 60fps visuals over HDMI 2.0, although the console in the dock doesn't output that signal.

It's conceivable that a 'Switch 2' could use the same dock and output to a television at a higher resolution than the current Switch, although until Nintendo reveals the exact nature of its future hardware, it's impossible to say.

Given patents revealing that Nintendo has experimented with upscaling technology, an upscaled 4K solution is more likely, as opposed to a native 4K presentation. According to a VGC report, the console demo's visuals were comparable to the current-gen offerings from both Sony and Microsoft, running with Nvidia's DLSS upscaling technology with advanced ray tracing enabled.

Nintendo Switch 2 - The Story So Far

Rumours of a new Switch model began early in the system's life, beginning with whispers of a 'Switch Mini', a handheld-only console that launched as the Switch Lite. In January 2019, analysts began predicting the release of multiple Switch SKUs including both a Switch Lite and a Switch 'Pro'. Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa dismissed rumours, saying that Nintendo wasn't considering a "successor" at the time (both Switch Lite and the then-unknown Switch OLED model are variations on the base console).

In 2019, Nintendo replaced the original Switch console with a 'silent' update of the hardware which used the same Nvidia Tegra X1 chip found in the Switch Lite. Since inventory of the original model sold through on store shelves, this updated console has the only base model available to purchase. While the chip closed a security hole in the original model's CPU, it also afforded better power efficiency and improved battery life. This chip was used again in the Switch OLED model.

Nintendo Switch 2
Nintendo Switch OLED — Image: Nintendo

Various rumours surrounding a 'Switch Pro' did the rounds throughout 2020 and 2021, although many of these were related to Switch OLED, not a Switch SKU with offered performance improvements over the base model.

In September 2021, Bloomberg reported that multiple developers said they had been working on 4K Switch software using tools provided by Nintendo. Nintendo swiftly issued a statement denying the report. A patent was subsequently made public suggesting that Nintendo is working on upscaling technology, and 'Switch Pro' speculation reignited after references appeared following a massive Nvidia leak in March 2022. Whether this reference was to a cancelled Switch 'Pro' variant or the console's true successor is unknown.

Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa discussed in May 2022 how cautiously the company is approaching the launch of Switch's successor, be it a 'Switch 2' or some new console concept. In fact, in February 2022 he said that Switch was "just in the middle of its lifecycle."

In September 2022, an Nvidia employee confirmed the existence of the T239 system-on-a-chip, a long-rumoured frontrunner for the silicon Nintendo would use in a 'Switch 2'. In March 2023, chip rumours surfaced once again, with further mentions of the T239.

In December 2022, Digital Foundry claimed that Switch Pro was indeed a real thing at one point, but was cancelled by Nintendo in favour of sticking with the base Switch model and focusing R&D on a full Switch successor.

In May 2023, Sharp CEO Robert Wu confirmed that the company was working with an unnamed company to produce LCD screens for a new console. While it was speculated that this might relate to a 'Switch 2', it's also possibly related to Sony's Project Q streaming device for PS5.

In June 2023, while discussing the disappointing commercial performance of Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, Ubisoft's CEO Yves Guillemot stated that the company intends to "update [the game] for the new machine that will come in the future," explicitly referencing Nintendo's Switch successor. While no details were supplied, the ability to port games over to the next platform suggests that Nintendo's follow-up won't be a radical departure from the current Switch, at least in terms of feature set.

In July 2023, it was claimed that development kits were with multiple "key partner studios". The console will supposedly utilise an LCD screen in order to keep costs down, but will be playable in portable mode and will accept cartridges, much like the current Switch hardware.

Nintendo reportedly demoed 'Switch 2' hardware at Gamescom to select developers and games media, with sources indicating that the power of the new hardware was demonstrated the Matrix Awakens Unreal Engine 5 demo from 2021. A version of Breath of the Wild was reportedly also used to showcase the extra power of the device, although there is no indication Nintendo plans to release an updated version of that Switch launch title — it was used as a demonstration only. Sources suggested that the demoed equipment could be used in a handheld mode much like the current Switch.

Following the FTC Vs. Microsoft case in the US, it was reported that executives at Activision-Blizzard had met with Nintendo to discuss the 'Switch 2' in December 2022. While significant details of the resulting documents are redacted, Activision had implied that Nintendo's next console might well be comparable to the PS4 and Xbox One in terms of performance.

In February 2024, it was claimed by Brazilian journalist Pedro Henrique Lutti Lippe that the next hardware will not be released until Q1 2025. This report was quickly corroborated by both VCG and Eurogamer, with the outlets reportedly hearing whispers from third-party developers about an early 2025 launch for their respective games. They were unable to confirm whether this meant that the console would be launching at the same time.

In April 2024, it was reported that the Switch 2 may feature magnetic Joy-Con controllers, ditching the rail system seen in the current models. It's not known at this time whether or not current Joy-Cons will be compatible, but given the new system is said to be larger, we'd guess probably not. On the flip side, however, the same outlet claimed that the Switch Pro Controller will be forward compatible. This information is reportedly based on tips provided by accessory manufacturers, who are often provided early access to new hardware ahead of launch.

On Tuesday 7th May, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa released a statement saying that the Nintendo "Switch successor" will be announced "within this fiscal year" — so, 'Switch 2' will be revealed before 31st March 2025.

We'll update this guide as new information on Nintendo Switch's successor comes to light.