The video game industry must really hate Nintendo. Microsoft and Sony engage in an eternal sprint to see who can release the most powerful hardware, like casino patrons running headlong to claim the first, biggest jackpot. But Nintendo is perfectly happy arriving late to the party, and cleaning up with far inferior, but way more innovative console designs.
The Nintendo Wii was shockingly underpowered, offering games that were a decade behind, but came with motion controls. Need we remind you which the best-selling console of the previous generations was? Hint, the one with motion controls.
The current generation saw a similar trend with the Switch. Microsoft came up with the ‘loser’ of this generation, the Xbox One, while Sony trotted out the winner, the PlayStation 4. Nintendo had the Switch. Did the Switch come close to the horsepower of the hardware from the other companies? Nope. But it did have a built-in portable version of itself. Plus, of course, Zelda and Mario. Were we all impressed? By what, the option to take a console grade handheld device on road trips? Why, yes. Yes, we were.
The Switch Lite is due out on September 20th 2019. It drops the console aspect of the original, being just a handheld version. It’s cheaper of course, and really is the perfect logical step in design. But this isn’t what we’re here to talk about. We want to know about the Switch 2.
When Will It Release?
Just to be upfront about things, we don’t have much solid information on the next generation of Nintendo hardware. This is all just speculation. What we do know is that the new generation of consoles is set to get rolling, probably in 2020. Microsoft is expected to release the Xbox Project Scarlett, and PlayStation the PS5. This means that Nintendo will have to make a move of its own to keep pace.
At a recent press conference, Nintendo president Doug Bowser spoke at length about future plans. Yes, we think it is absolutely adorable that his surname is Bowser, and can’t help but assume he became president of Nintendo solely for the name recognition. Bowser said that the Lite was the last new model for this year, and will be in time for the holidays. So, the Switch 2 will be hitting shelves sometime next year. Which all makes sense. Reports say that the Scarlett is due ‘not before mid-2020,’ and the PS5 around the end of 2020.
So we are willing to put hard money on the Switch 2 coming out next year, but when? Traditionally, Nintendo likes to skirt competition from the other tech-giants. But this means that the console will have to come out either in early 2020, or perhaps in early 2021. Alternatively, it will have to find a little gap between the Scarlett and PS5.
What Will It Be?
Rumours on what the Switch 2 will involve are flying all over the Internet at present. But really, it comes down to simple logic. The new console will, naturally, keep the design choices of the successful original. Which is to say it will be a console, but have the option to be made portable by simply picking up the central body component. This works, is really cool, and everyone loves the flexibility. The little handheld controllers are also neat, allowing quick attachment and reattachment, depending on what you want.
Logically, the Switch 2 will primarily be a hardware upgrade. There is little reason to change the core design, since it works so well. But, as with the Nintendo Wii, the Switch is drastically underpowered in comparison to other consoles. The Switch has an embarrassing 4 gigabytes of RAM, which makes it inferior to most modern mobile phones. So, will the Switch 2 have more RAM? Obviously. Breath of the Wild may have been very innovative, but frankly the draw distance was a bit laughable.
Another possibility is far more intriguing. AR and VR support.
Will It Support VR?
In 2018 a Nintendo representative shrugged off talks of VR, saying that it lacked mainstream appeal. But a year later the Labo VR Kit was being showcased, demonstrating that Nintendo does have some interest in the tech after all. It doesn’t seem impossible that the Switch 2 would have VR functionality, or at least some kind of attachable peripheral.
Though, on the other hand VR requires some serious horsepower in order to be viable. Yes, we think the hardware will get a bump, but enough to support VR? The focus will be on the portable component, and in order to keep costs down, the specs will still be a bit behind the mainstream. However, VR may still be on the table, at least to some extent.
It remains to be seen, but chances are more information on the Switch 2 will be hitting the media outlets soon. In the meantime; don’t forget the Switch Lite due out in September, 2020.