The Nintendo Switch was released over six years ago, and for at least half that time, rumors have been swirling surrounding a possible successor to the hybrid console. However, with sales of the Switch dipping and a seemingly barren release schedule after The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, the time for the Nintendo Switch 2 seems imminent. That is exactly what a report from Nikkei Asia suggests is coming as soon as the spring of 2024.
March 9 saw the release of Nintendo’s earnings for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2023. One of the biggest takeaways is that the sale of Nintendo Switch units has decreased by 22 percent. Though Nintendo tentpole’s like Pokémon Scarlet and Violet sold well, something that Tears of the Kingdom will surely also do, the investment in Switch hardware itself is becoming a harder sell.
The average lifespan of the modern console is about six years and with the Nintendo Switch heading into its third year, purchasing a more and more outdated piece of hardware feels difficult. With all of this in mind, president Shuntaro Furukawa told Bloomberg that “Sustaining the Switch’s sales momentum will be difficult in its seventh year”. Though a replacement for the again console is allegedly on the minds of Nintendo already.
A source close to Nintendo told Nikkei Asia that development on a successor to the Switch “seems to be progressing well” but that a product launch likely won’t happen until “next spring at the earliest.”
If these reports are true that means the lack of information on anticipated exclusives like Metroid Prime 4 could be related to the next console’s development. It also would make sense for Nintendo to keep plans for a Switch successor (which they really should call the Super Nintendo Switch) under wraps until a few months after Tears of the Kingdom’s release. If audiences knew that the next console was around the corner, they may be less willing to drop $70 on Tears of the Kingdom.
Of course, that is if the Switch successor is backward compatible. Which common sense would say is a necessity. In its lifetime the Switch has become the third best-selling console of all time due to its melding of handheld and home console gaming. As we prepare to jump to a new console the connection between the Switch and its successor needs to be more stable so as not to alienate those who already own a Switch and don’t want to lose their catalog of games.
Both Xbox and PlayStation have made cross-gen gaming a main focus of their latest consoles. Most games can transfer between console generations (though this sometimes comes with a small charge). Nintendo has a history of backward compatibility in the past, specifically in the handheld space. The Game Boy Advance could play Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, while the Nintendo DS could also play Game Boy Advance games. By making the previous generation’s catalog accessible on the new console it becomes an easier sell to upgrade.
A spring 2024 release for the Switch successor would be in line with the original Switch’s release which happen in March of 2017. As Nintendo’s earning call makes clear, the demand for the Switch is declining due to the elephant that is the inevitable successor. As time goes on it makes less and less sense to get a Switch because surely something new is around the corner. While this has been a concern for the past year it is only growing, but now that something new might actually be here sooner than later.