Nintendo Switch 2: Upgrade or Innovation

Recently, many rumors have surfaced regarding Nintendo’s next console. While I’m certain that these rumors are completely uninformed, and any correct guesses at this point are just that, guesses, it is worth taking a minute to ponder on Nintendo’s future plans and what direction those plans will go. Essentially, will Nintendo play it a bit safe and simply upgrade the power of their current console while adding a few new ideas, or will they throw conventional wisdom out the window and unleash a completely new monster into the world?

Released in 2017, the Nintendo Switch has been nothing but a massive success for Nintendo. The system has sold over 125 million units as of March, 2023, and is Nintendo’s best selling home console system. The system has seen a handheld only variation (Switch Lite) as well as a version with an upgraded OLED screen. The system has seen success with both first party and third party software, this in spite of specs below that of the competition. The Switch is still going strong, having just sold 380,000 units in June in Japan, which is the most sold in the month of June for Nintendo’s hybrid, in spite of the Switch being over six years old.

The six year mark is actually important here. Nintendo has historically given their consoles a lifespan of five to six years, which isn’t exclusively a Nintendo trend, but we’re looking at Nintendo specifically here, so that’s why my specificity. Below is the release year (in the US) for each of Nintendo’s consoles:

  • NES: 1985
  • Super NES: 1991
  • Nintendo 64: 1997
  • Gamecube: 2001
  • Wii: 2006
  • WiiU: 2012
  • Switch: 2017

It’s worth noting that the less successful a console (such as the Nintendo 64), the quicker Nintendo is to push out the successor. This, of course, is most evident with the WiiU, which was hardly given five years, which is understandable given that only about 27 units apparently sold, and I’m responsible for one of those (I’ll defend the WiiU to this day, but I completely get the criticisms of the console).

Xenoblade Chronicles X is worth the price of admission alone


Anyway, back to the point at hand. What will a Switch successor look like and what direction will Nintendo take it?

While you can criticize Nintendo for some issues, you cannot accuse them of not being innovative. Few companies are more willing to go outside the box with their products. Nintendo has certainly had more hits than misses, I believe, but it’s worth noting that the misses are there. The virtual boy has its fans, but sold very poorly and was discontinued in a matter of months. Criticisms were aimed at the limited red and black graphics as well as head and neck aches after using the system for prolonged periods of time. The WiiU, given a strong introduction at E3, was also a tremendous disappointment, made all the worse by the fact that it followed the tremendous success of the Wii. The WiiU attempted to follow-up the Wii’s success by including both motion controls as well as a second screen on the primary controller (the Gamepad), but ultimately proved confusing to many consumers who were unsure if it was a peripheral for the Wii or its own system. It was also underpowered compared to the competition and didn’t receive a number of well known games that were going to the PS4 and Xbox One.

In spite of all its flaws, I’m still sad I never got to play this


All that said, both the Wii and the Switch have been hits, and both introduced concepts that had not previously been a part of a home console. The lesson here is that going outside the box has risks, but also has incredible possibilities. Will Nintendo go a safer route than the previous few generations and simply power-up the Switch and release a console that’s mostly the same but with greater processing capabilities, or will they surprise all of us and release a system wholly dependent upon virtual reality technology with controllers that are utilized by attaching them to your knees (frankly, if any of the big three could make that work, it would be Nintendo)? Will they risk some level of guaranteed success with a Switch 2 to continue to march to their own drum?

For all the guess work out there, no one knows the answer, but it’s a lot of fun to speculate about. My completely uninformed guess is that Nintendo will make a successor very similar to the Switch, but which will have some aspect to it that none of us will see coming. I don’t think it will be system changing, like the Wii Remotes, but will offer a twist on how some games are played. That and a $1.50 will buy you a coke.

Also, one last note. Thanks to my son for suggesting this topic. Had it not been for him, God only knows what you guys would have gotten. Though my praise for my son is going to be limited because he didn’t read my two Adventure Island themed posts from last week, greatly devastating me and forcing me to change my will (I’m just kidding, I don’t yet have a will). Feel free to share your thoughts and/or predictions for Nintendo’s next console in the comments.