The Nintendo Switch has, by all metrics, been a runaway success. Since its debut in 2017, the console has soared to great heights; in February 2023, it became the third best-selling console of all time, beating out other massive hits like the Game Boy, the PS4, and the Wii (and coming third only to the PS2 and the Nintendo DS). What’s more, with major tentpole releases like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom arriving on Switch, it’s clear Nintendo still has plenty of faith in its flagship console.
However, there are some cracks beginning to show in the Switch’s facade. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet were criticised on launch for what many believed to be unacceptable performance and visual issues, and the Switch is beginning to struggle with some of the more demanding games that are being released for it. With that said, now seems like the perfect time to start thinking about what Nintendo is intending to do when it comes to a Switch 2. To put it simply, will there be a Nintendo Switch 2 in 2023? Let’s take a look at what we know.
Nintendo has said there won’t be a Switch 2 this year
It’s important to note that Nintendo still seems pretty faithful to the Switch. In an interview with AP News in March 2013, Nintendo head Doug Bowser (yes, that’s his real name) said that the company had “nothing to announce” regarding the Switch’s official successor. He did say that when the Switch 2 arrives, it will “surprise and delight” gamers, but for now, it looks like Nintendo is remaining pretty tight-lipped with regards to any potential Switch 2.
Bowser also said that “demand is still there” for the original Switch (and its offshoot models like the OLED Switch and the Switch Lite), and that Nintendo is “still feeling very bullish” about the Switch. Of course, it’s almost certain that Nintendo is at the very least planning the Switch 2; companies usually design and prototype machines in secret long before they’re ready to be revealed, so expect Nintendo’s R&D people to be looking at what the Switch 2 will look like. However, for now, it looks like no official announcement is coming.
Rumours seem to suggest a Switch 2 could come this year
Of course, Nintendo has a vested interest in not revealing a potential Switch 2 ahead of time. Doing so could make investors skittish; these things have a rhythm to them, and if the Switch 2 is revealed too early, it could stop consumers from becoming excited for a console that’s still many months away from release. There are, as ever, rumours swirling regarding a potential Switch 2 release date, so let’s take a look at some of them.
In April, a YouTuber revealed a listing for a new Dune game created by the folks at Funcom. That listing shows Dune Awakening as coming to “PC, PS5, XBS1, TBA”. Now, it’s important to remember that we don’t know what that TBA stands for. It could refer to the PS4, for instance, or it could mean the studio is trying to make the game work on the original Switch but can’t confirm that this will happen yet. However, it could also refer to an as-yet unannounced Switch 2, which is exciting.
Another leak, revealed in February and supposedly verified by the Pokemon Twitter channel Centro Leaks, says that the Switch 2 will arrive alongside the second of two upcoming Pokemon Scarlet and Violet DLC packs. This will supposedly also herald the arrival of a patch for those games that significantly improves the graphics. As with every leak you see, you should definitely take this one with a pinch of salt, but Centro Leaks is often a very reliable source of information, so this isn’t coming from nowhere.
There’s another potential source of information regarding the Switch 2, and it comes, of all places, from the UK government. Again, take this with a pinch of salt, but in February, Ars Technica spotted a section of a report on the planned Microsoft-Activision Blizzard merger that potentially made reference to a new Switch console. The line says that Nintendo’s online gaming service “is only available on the Nintendo Switch device and [redacted]”. Given Nintendo’s reluctance to bring its services to any other ecosystem, we can reasonably assume this redaction refers to a new Switch console, although, again, there’s nothing concrete here.
One potentially worrying leak regarding the Switch 2 suggests that it might not have backwards compatibility. Without getting too technical, this is due to potential challenges with the hardware Nintendo is likely to use for the Switch 2; it would be difficult to integrate the Switch’s original GPU into the Switch 2 given its age, but emulating it also comes with its own challenges. As such, the Switch 2 might decide to make a clean break with its own library, which would, as far as we’re concerned, be a mistake. Hopefully, Nintendo sees the light and realises that many people will have a massive Switch library they’ll want to carry over to a potential Switch successor.
That’s all we know so far about the Switch 2 (which isn’t even the console’s official name, since there isn’t one yet). Let’s hope that Nintendo announces something official in the coming months so that we can start getting excited for the next generation of Nintendo hardware!