With all of the rumours regarding the infamous 'Switch Pro' and the eventual release of the Switch OLED model last year, we've hardly had a chance to think about Nintendo's true next generation of hardware. For the past year or two, the Switch has been described on more than one occasion as being in the "middle" of its lifecycle, suggesting there are plenty more years for it to thrive.
But, should history repeat itself once more, something new will eventually take over the reins. Decades since this hobby of ours took off, we're still yet to see a system live on without a successor replacing it after a handful of years – so what does Nintendo's future look like, and when can we expect a new system to take Switch's place?
Well, according to Ampere Analysis' Piers Harding-Rolls, a new, next-gen Nintendo console could be headed our way in "late 2024". Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Harding-Rolls says that he doesn't expect a 'Switch Pro' to arrive this year, or possibly ever, and that Switch sales will start to see a slight decline this year.
"I'm currently expecting the console market year-on-year performance to be quite flat in 2022 as Switch sales decline and we come off what has been an amazing couple of years for console gaming. Even so, Nintendo Switch family of devices will once again be the best-selling consoles in 2022 at around 21 million sold to consumers, aided by the release of Switch OLED.
I'm not expecting a Switch Pro in 2022. We have a next-gen Nintendo console in our forecasts for late 2024, so I'm not convinced a 'Pro' model is going to appear at all."
Nintendo's often quoted as saying that it's "always" working on new hardware, so we've no doubt that the company's brightest minds are busy coming up with new technologies and new ways to play. But does that 2024 release window for a new system feel right? We'll leave you to mull that one over in the comments.
In the same analyst predictions round-up, it was claimed that a brand new Mario Kart game is "in active development" and could be shown off this year.
Whatever happens, 2022 could be pretty special.