Nintendo's Next Switch

In case you haven’t noticed, the Nintendo Switch has been around for over six years now. That’s relatively old in tech age. The system is great, but there’s concern over its longevity. Console generations in gaming don’t last much longer than six revolutions around the sun. But the epoch of Switch could be an exception. In any case, I have thoughts about what “The Next Switch” should be.

Don’t switch out

First and foremost, the Switch…must still switch! That should be obvious. But since Nintendo tends to radically try new things, I think the obvious should be declared just in case.

The Switch hardware sells itself simply because it can switch between both handheld and docked. It’s no gimmick but is super practical. And while targeting handheld specs limits the power scope overall, it is apparently a fair trade-off, judging by the numbers of Switch units sold. Given the success of the Switch, why switch out an obviously winning formula? Play the safe bet.

A slab of glass — with joycons

In fact, Nintendo Switch is like Apple iPhone. Nintendo makes both the hardware and software. 1 And it’s a long-running success.

Most of all, like Apple fundamentally nailing the iPhone design paradigm and then iterating over many years, I think Nintendo should keep the fundamentals of the Switch as-is and iterate, make it more powerful, over time. The company made a gaming machine — and games to go with it — that most people love. That’s exactly what people want; give them more of it.

I myself wanted more, so I switched my original Switch for an upgrade to the OLED model; it’s great! Yet the current Switch can be noticeably laggy sometimes. Even in Nintendo’s own The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake, I saw dropped frames too often. The Switch could use a more powerful chip inside to drive games better. Strangely, though, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and Tears of the Kingdom both run surprisingly well overall, with little to no frame drops.

Software sells hardware

In any case, even if “The Next Switch” is merely 1080p 60fps, not 4K, I’ll buy it because it will have the next Zelda, the next Animal Crossing…the next Nintendo IP.

Overall, the “Switch 2,” “Super Switch,” or “Switch Pro” should be the same as the current Switch but have a more modern, advanced processor in it. Simple as that. This means it would also be backwards compatible, able to play all previous Switch titles plus next-gen ones. Current Switch players don’t want to lose access to their huge libraries of games they’ve invested time and money in. The new hardware should still run the old software.

Three Switches

An example of new hardware running current software is the Switch Lite. It doesn’t actually switch; it’s handheld only. Yet many players prefer this. The main reason it works in the current Nintendo lineup is because it plays all current Switch games. There are not entirely different game libraries unlike previous generations. This gives me an idea.

Nintendo could extend this idea for it’s “Pro” version of the Switch. There would be three Switches — think small, medium, and large — but only the middle one would actually switch between handheld and docked mode. It’d look like this:

  1. Switch Lite: Handheld only. Plays all Switch games. Max output: 900p 30fps
  2. Switch: Handheld and docked. Plays all Switch games. Max output: 1080p 30fps.
  3. Switch Pro: Docked only. Plays all Switch games. Max output: 4K 60fps.

As a bonus, a Switch Pro should upscale 1080p games to 4K-like resolution, similar to how Blu-ray players could improve standard definition DVDs.

More Mario and Zelda gameplay is a good thing. Adding more frames and pixels to Nintendo’s titles would make the next Switch — one that still switches — more appealing.

What do you think?

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  1. Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and Animal Crossing are popular Nintendo franchise titles. ↩︎