The last iteration of the Nintendo Switch console has just been revealed in the Switch OLED model. Behind countless rumors of a much more powerful Switch Pro, the announcement may have been a bit anti-climate for some. However, the existence of the OLED Switch doesn’t mean that a Switch Pro isn’t necessarily on the way, and what’s more, Nintendo is certainly working on a brand new console as well. The important question is what Nintendo should really do with its next big console.
Nintendo has found something very special with the DNA of the Nintendo Switch. While the company often thinks outside the box, a “Switch 2” would be something that would make a lot of sense for Nintendo’s next console. The Switch has been one of the most successful video game consoles of all time, but there is always room for improvement.
A return of the hybrid form factor
Among the Big Three console makers, Nintendo is the biggest risk taker and the one that focuses on fun and creativity when making new consoles. It shows with the Switch, because Nintendo didn’t just make a more powerful console than the previous one and called it a day. Instead, the Japanese company created a dual-screen touchscreen handheld console as a sequel to the best-selling mobile console of all time. A motion-based non-HD home console after the creation of the cult classic GameCube, and now a hybrid switch that supplants its previous two markets (handheld and home console) has been introduced. Nintendo is never afraid to shake things up. That being said, it hit gold with the hybrid form factor.
For now, it looks like the Nintendo Switch is going to be the best-selling console of all time. Much of that has to do with the system mixing the audience of handhelds and home consoles into one, and finally the ability to play console-level games on the go. It seems entirely possible for Nintendo to continue selling future handheld-only consoles – like the Nintendo Switch Lite – but it almost feels like Nintendo’s identity has become hybrid. As such, it would be a shame if the next Nintendo console gave it up.
There have been aspects of the Nintendo Switch that maybe seem a little fancy, or that might not last until the next console. The detachable Joy-Cons may not be something that exists with the “Switch 2,” and HD Rumble has gone from something high-profile to a bit of a sideshow. But what should last for the long haul now is the Switch’s hybrid nature. Nintendo has been a portable business since 1980 with Game & Watch, and has been a staple in the home console world for decades; merging the two from now on makes sense.
Toggle pro rumors that could transfer to the next console
Theoretically, a Nintendo Switch Pro could still arrive at some point. There were a lot of rumors leading up to the announcement of the OLED Switch, and the console has responded to some of them. The bigger OLED screen, better kickstand, and built-in Ethernet port were all leaks that happened with the OLED Switch. However, many fans were disappointed that other rumors did not materialize, including that the console is more powerful, can play games in 4K when docked, etc.
Where there is smoke, there is often fire. Well-supported Switch Pro rumors indicated that the Pro had more powerful graphics when docked. This didn’t specifically happen with the OLED, but that doesn’t mean the leaks were fake. It is possible that Nintendo was working on a Switch Pro, or that the more powerful technology was saved for a future device. The Switch OLED is a solid console, but it obviously falls short of the competition in terms of fidelity / graphics power. The next console could have this potential. It’s wonderful to play hit titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the switch. However, those same series (and new adventures) could play and be even better with more powerful technology.
Based on the timeline of Nintendo console launches, Nintendo’s next console could be released in two or three years. However, Nintendo said the Switch is only halfway through its cycle. With that in mind, the “Switch 2” would be late again if it were to be launched with only 4k functionality. By 2025, consoles will likely have 8k, ray tracing, 120+ FPS, and more at the bare minimum. Nintendo might want to compete with Sony and Microsoft in the power arena, and it might have the chance to do so with a hybrid approach.
Competitive and innovative online services
One of the biggest problems for Nintendo and its consoles is its outdated Internet features and services. While Nintendo tends to beat its own pace – and it can be – when it comes to online features, Nintendo is simply living in the Dark Ages. The next console could be the perfect opportunity for Nintendo to finally improve its online functionality.
The OLED Switch’s Ethernet port only solves one problem among many for Nintendo consoles. It’s a good start, and something that should be the norm going forward for Nintendo, but the issues run much deeper than that. Currently, Nintendo players cannot message friends on Nintendo Switch, cannot chat with each other outside of specific games, and players cannot invite friends to join games with notifications of these invitations. The functionality is extremely vanilla and outdated.
Recently, Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa spoke about improving Nintendo Switch Online, although details were not mentioned. The service just falls short when it comes to PSN and Xbox Live. However, with better features, improved matchmaking, and more, a new console could also introduce some sort of extended subscription service like Xbox Game Pass. Currently, fans have access to over a hundred NES and SNES titles, and Nintendo could test the waters for something more.
The return of the virtual console
The Wii, Wii U, and 3DS Virtual Console is often viewed by Nintendo fans as one of the company’s best initiatives. The service allowed gamers to view a seemingly endless game library from consoles such as NES, SNES, N64, Sega Master System, TurboGrafx-16, Sega Genesis, Neo Geo, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, and more. (depending on the platform). Players bought each game individually on Virtual Console, but with the Switch, that doesn’t exist. Instead, gamers have a decent-sized library of games to play through Nintendo Switch Online “for free” with the subscription.
Nintendo’s history is so rich. The community loves the likes of Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Super mario world. A new console could take advantage of it like the Wii did with Virtual Console (and the way Nintendo picked up on that with Virtual Console for Wii U and 3DS). Virtual Console had hundreds of options on many different consoles, which meant these consoles looked like a virtual time machine. In the case of Nintendo Switch Online, which still lacks popular Super Nintendo games, there are only NES and SNES titles. By the time a “Switch 2” was due out, a new virtual console could have Nintendo games from the NES to the Wii U.
Whether it’s a true return of a virtual console, where gamers can select, buy and download every game; or Nintendo is keeping the idea of Nintendo Switch Online membership, adding games and consoles from all generations of Nintendo seems necessary at this point. This would include not only home consoles, but handhelds as well. Nintendo’s classic library and beloved story is part of what sets it apart. Currently, countless games are trapped on hard-to-find consoles. Bring it all back to a new one Nintendo Switch console in an easy to play way would be something fans would love.
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