Nintendo Switch 2 expectations: Should you buy a Switch now or wait?


The Nintendo Switch arrived on the game console scene on March 3, 2017 and more five years later, not everything has changed much. As always, it’s unclear if Nintendo will come up with a truly revamped “Switch Pro” model that’s been waiting every now and then for years. At this point, it seems safe to buy the Switch already available, but if you already own one, is now a good time to wait a bit and see if a Switch 2 is coming?

Since its initial release, Nintendo has improved switch battery lifereleased a smaller Lite model and added an iteration with a larger OLED screen last fall. The idea of ​​the Switch, however, remained the same. Its models also mostly use the same type of CPU and GPU. As I discussed with the former president of Nintendo Reggie Fils-Aimethe Switch looks like it needs some kind of upgrade…but according to Nintendo, the Switch’s lifecycle could last up to 10 years.

Read more: Happy birthday, Nintendo Switch: 5 years have passed quickly

Last year it looked like we might get a brand new switch. Instead, the OLED switch ended up being an incremental upgrade. Will Nintendo finally make the Switch evolve even further? Nintendo has historically released new consoles approximately every five to six years, and the Switch was released in 2017. The Wii U, in 2012. The Wii, 2006. The GameCube, 2001. The N64, 1996.

Does this mean that Nintendo could dream up an entirely new successor to the Switch, something that could be completely different and unexpected? As different from the Switch as the Wii was from the GameCube? Who knows? But we could still see a real upgraded version of the Switch (a Switch 2, a Switch Pro or whatever it’s called) in the near future, if the leaks and rumors are to be believed. This could be something that’s a real boost over the more modestly modified OLED Switch released last fall.

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Nintendo Switch, 5 years later: what next?


Reports suggest a Switch Pro could still be in the works, or perhaps the Switch Pro will eventually become a Switch 2. Would Nintendo be planning this hardware alongside the next one? Breath of the Wild Game it is now deferred until 2023? Could this be the material that the long-awaited Metroid Prime 4 is made for, maybe?

Nintendo’s comments last year suggesting the Switch is halfway through its life cycle hints at more iterative upgrades to come, but for now a more powerful chip seems like the next logical step, whenever that could be. Last fall Bloomberg reported that game developers already had hardware to work on 4K Switch games, and earlier this year a leak reported by Nvidia took social media by storm as Twitter users were pointing out possible hints of new Switch models in the source code.

That would make a lot of sense, but I’ve been down this route before: last year, to be exact. Nintendo hasn’t indicated when any new hardware will arrive, but Nintendo tends to keep its hardware news a secret, and surprise announcements (like the sudden drop of the OLED Switch last year) are the norm. Right now I think it’s good to buy a Switch that already exists. The Switch remains a great, but aging, portable system with a steady supply of indie games. The Stanley Parable Collection and Valve’s Portal were notable highlights for me.

Read more: Nintendo Switch OLED versus the rest: we’ve all played with them

Nintendo’s proprietary game offering has slowed down a bit. Most recent Kirby Game is fantastic, and Splaton 3 and Bayonet 3 promises to be great. Change sports was a nice surprise. However, it still feels like a lull from the early years of the Switch.

Nintendo already ticked a few of my Switch wishlist boxes with the OLED model last fall. But let’s dream of that Switch 2, because there are clear areas to address as this hardware hits its fifth year.


Nintendo’s latest games like Pokemon Legends: Arceus are starting to feel like they’re pushing the boundaries of current Switch hardware.

Screenshot by Scott Stein/CNET

A new processor

4K graphics aren’t the only thing Nintendo could embrace: think graphics that could finally allow the Switch to compete with the new Xbox and PlayStation consoles and games. The Switch struggled with games that push high-end graphics that can run on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox series X. This has led to a trend of cloud streaming games on the Switch that need to be connected to the internet to work. While game streaming will only grow, the Switch needs to be able to handle those games better. Could it even somehow add graphics processing to the dock itself? It would increase the cost, but it’s an interesting idea. Some computers can do this now, by adding a Thunderbolt Connected Graphics Unit at dock. But on a console, it might become a messy idea (Memories of the Sega Genesis 32X are starting to show).

One question with an upgraded Switch processor would be how Nintendo balances games for the “new” system versus the old. The Nintendo 3DS got a mid-cycle chip upgrade with the New Nintendo 3DS, but its benefits were subtle. Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro improved the graphics for many PS4 games, acting as a stepping stone between the PS4 and PS5, but it wasn’t an essential pickup for most gamers. Microsoft did something similar with the Xbox One X before the Series X and S, so there’s precedent.

Valves steam bridge has set a new mark for the evolution of portable gaming systems. Even though the Steam Deck is huge, it is capable of running full PC games. It can also stream games. Nintendo’s Switch needs to catch up, to some extent, with the direction the rest of the mobile and handheld gaming landscape is heading.


Switch controllers are still the same, five years later.

Charles Wagner/CNET

Fix those Joy-Cons

Those versatile little Joy-Con controllers that slide on the Switch are a brilliant idea… but they’ve aged badly. Many Joy-Cons end up with drift problems or worn buttons over time. I can’t stand their small size and their trigger buttons, which aren’t analog. Haptic vibrations, while ahead of their time in 2017, now seem behind what Xbox and PlayStation (and phones) can do. The Switch OLED’s Joy-Cons are supposed to have subtly solved the drifting problem, but are otherwise the same as ever.

I would love a whole new kind of Joy-Con, which might still work with older Switch games. I would even say that an improved Joy-Con might be my most hoped-for feature on a next-gen Switch.


The Nintendo Switch’s OLED display is awesome, but still at 720p. A future Switch could do even better.

Scott Stein/CNET

An even better Switch screen

The Switch OLED has an excellent 7-inch OLED display which is much more vibrant than previous Switch models. I love it, but it’s not enough. This screen’s 720p resolution is fine with current Nintendo games, but an even better 1080p OLED would make sense for a next-gen Switch. The Switch can already output 1080p to a TV with the docking station. Perhaps this screen size could be further improved to 8 inches? The OLED Switch has significantly reduced the size of the bezel compared to the old Switch, but there’s still some wiggle room.

Most current Nintendo games don’t rely heavily on high-res graphics, but if Nintendo beefs up that processor to allow more competitive next-gen games to run on Switch hardware, there’d be reason to improve that. display.

But when?

Trying to read Nintendo’s crystal ball about when its next hardware will arrive is often near impossible. Nintendo keeps its news extremely locked down and doesn’t tend to announce material on a normal or event-targeted schedule. Nintendo has frequent live video streams announcing games, but its surprise curve consoles and products often emerge without any prior warning. But, five years into the Switch’s lifecycle, it feels like the countdown to a truly new Nintendo gaming device has already begun.

To learn more, take a look at GameSpot’s Nintendo Switch OLED review and the best games to play on your Switch today. Have you ever broken your game console? I have, and there’s a way to fix it.


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