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The Switch Lite arrived in 2019. What comes subsequent?


Sarah Tew/CNET

The Nintendo Switch has been a runaway success, particularly after a stay-at-home 2020 that had us all enjoying Animal Crossing. The query now could be… what comes subsequent? Reports recommend Nintendo may have a new Switch replace quickly, possibly this week at E3 on the firm’s Nintendo Direct on-line occasion. Reports level to a new, 7-inch OLED mannequin, with attainable 4K gaming when docked, coming later this yr. It might also have a brand-new Nvidia processor that is able to 4K Nintendo gaming for the primary time.

Expectations on a “Pro” model of the Switch have been round for years. And we do not know what it will be named. Maybe it will be referred to as the Switch 2. Or the Switch Pro. New Nintendo Switch. Super Nintendo Switch. Super Nintendo Switch XL. Call it no matter you need, however it’s time for new Nintendo {hardware} to emerge. 

You would possibly say an replace is overdue: the Nintendo Switch debuted 4 years in the past; the cheaper Switch Lite arrived two years in the past. Meanwhile, the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 have already arrived — Sony and Microsoft are in next-gen console land. That would possibly imply holding again in your Switch procuring plans till we all know if Nintendo is revealing a new Switch imminently or not.


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Nintendo, as at all times, is coy on particulars. A Polygon interview with Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser final December steered the Switch was halfway in its console cycle, and that “existing form factors” could be honored. But the reviews of new {hardware} are mounting. A Bloomberg report from September stated Nintendo might already be trying to builders to improve their video games to 4K for an eventual {hardware} refresh. More latest reviews go into much more element on the Nvidia {hardware} that could possibly be inside.

The Nintendo Switch has already bought extra methods than the Nintendo 3DS and might finally catch as much as the Wii. A new Switch may be costlier however may reside alongside present Switch fashions. And if a new Switch does arrive, count on some main video games to debut alongside it.

When requested about future plans, Nintendo declined to remark. Here are our expectations, and hoped-for upgrades.

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Nintendo’s 3DS lineup continued to evolve and the Switch would possibly do the identical.


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Very probably: Larger OLED show, improved TV gaming when docked

A March Bloomberg report says the up to date Switch coming this yr can have a 7-inch 720p Samsung OLED. The present Switch and Switch Lite have 720p shows, however they’re 6.2- and 5.5-inch LCD panels. Reports of a bigger Switch show return to final yr, at the least, however reviews then pointed to completely different show producers.

That’s not a big display screen dimension improve, however possibly it should include a case redesign to be extra compact. Then once more, if a new Switch modifications the dimensions of its physique, it could possibly be a downside when connecting with older Switch equipment.

4K recreation decision on a TV — talked about in additional element in a second Bloomberg report emphasizing a new Nvidia chip — feels overdue, however would additionally imply a new wave of video games which might be 4K-optimized. If so, how would these video games play on a 720p display screen on the go, and how would these video games really feel on older Switches?

Previous Nintendo 3DS updates provide an concept of how the Switch may incrementally evolve

Even although the unique Nintendo Switch arrived in 2017, there have been some evolutions since then. The extra reasonably priced, handheld-only Switch Lite arrived final fall, and has been the Switch that is been the simplest to search out in inventory on-line. The dockable unique Switch obtained a significant battery life increase round that point, too.

While Nintendo’s TV-connected consoles normally have not gotten many updates after launch, Nintendo handhelds are inclined to get evolutions each couple of years. The Nintendo 3DS (early 2011) was adopted by the larger-screened 3DS XL (mid-2012), the Nintendo 2DS (2013), New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL (late 2014-early 2015), and New Nintendo 2DS XL (2017).

On that timeline, getting one other Switch replace would occur… this yr. Will that occur? Well, 2017 was a very long time in the past, and the Switch Lite in 2019 was mainly a beauty improve (and function discount).

More on recreation consoles

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The Switch Lite (prime) and unique Switch (backside). There’s room for enchancment.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Small updates may nonetheless provide a lot of upside

I may dream all day of how a brand-new Switch 2 may push modular gaming into uncharted territory, however the Switch is in main success mode now and it appears extraordinarily unlikely that Nintendo would shake that up. Tweaking the {hardware} system, nevertheless, with some additional perks in a shiny new mannequin looks as if a very probably transfer.

The Switch is a system that will get a lot of wear and tear and tear: Joy-Cons break, backs crack, they take dings and get tossed round accidentally. Moving to a new model each few years is not a loopy concept for a severe participant.

We’re additionally on the level the place console ports of video games are hitting possibly a little bit of a wall with present Switch {hardware}. The PS5 and Xbox Series X run rings across the Switch by way of efficiency. Big deal, you would possibly suppose: Except, nicely, the Switch actually ought to at the least enable for 4K video games at this level. Or some improved graphics and efficiency for video games that get ported over. It would assist for cross-platform video games, which appear to be taking place at an growing tempo.


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My want record

An XL model with a bigger OLED display screen (and 1080p)

I admit, I squint on the Switch display screen a lot, particularly the smaller Switch Lite. The 3DS went bigger-screen, and it could possibly be a straightforward transfer to make an XL Switch that reduces the massive bezels and expands the display screen throughout the physique. Maybe 7 inches, or 7.5. Make the show higher and brighter, enable it to point out the higher 1080p decision you may get on the docked Switch video games.

The show may additionally shift to OLED. That will surely assist with show readability and high quality. The present Switch shows are OK, however not nice.

An improved processor

The older Nvidia Tegra processor on the Switch can deal with video games simply high quality, however that venting fan on prime reveals it has to chug a little greater than I’m snug with. Besides not requiring a venting fan (possibly), an improved Switch processor may additionally intention to spice up handheld efficiency as much as what the docked Switch can do. Four years later, in fact I’d count on a new processor.

4K when docked

If there’s a new processor onboard, it ought to assist push 4K video games to a TV when docked. That would assist video games look prettier, however it will additionally enable higher wanting split-screen multiplayer. I do a lot of that on the Switch proper now, and I’d like to see video games use extra of my TV actual property.

Easier docking

If the onboard processor can deal with graphics higher, possibly that additionally implies that the bizarre, cumbersome Switch dock will be shrunk down, too. I’d choose an official Nintendo unit that is actually compact and simpler to pack and journey with. There are third-party choices already, however I’m hoping all the official package deal will get extra elegant.

Bluetooth audio

I nonetheless save a pair of wired 3.5mm headphones someplace close to my bedside desk to plug into the Switch. It’s absurd. Everything else works with Bluetooth headsets, however not the Switch. Nintendo’s controllers are wi-fi. Come on, introduce Bluetooth audio.

Fix the kickstand

The dockable Switch can be a nice little prop-up arcade machine for 2 gamers. I like that concept. The kickstand on the Switch would not make that concept work very nicely, although. I must stability it excellent, or the Switch ideas over (not a nice concept with youngsters). Maybe a revised, smaller Switch dock may double as that prop-up stand.

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Switch Lite colours are good. There ought to be extra.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Include a number of colours (just like the Switch Lite)

Just saying that colourful Switches are enjoyable and the unique Switch is barely obtainable in black.

Sturdier Joy-Cons (with D-pads and analog triggers)

Because the Joy-Con slots into Labo and Ring Fit Adventure and different equipment, I’m undecided it is smart to alter the overall type of the controllers. But there actually must be an improve. My son, who’s gotten into Fortnite on the Xbox, feedback on the Switch controls not feeling adequate. Nintendo has its Pro controller, however even that lacks analog triggers.

A new model of Joy-Cons are overdue. I’d like to see a much less creaky revision that does not really feel so worn down over time. I’d like improved vibration with extra correct haptics, and what would actually be good is a true analog set of set off buttons for video games that might benefit from them.

And D-pads. The Switch Lite modified the left-side buttons to introduce a actual, traditional Nintendo-style D-pad that helps make video games like NES Classics or Tetris 99 really feel extra pure. Joy-Con controllers on the unique Switch do not have D-pads, however it will be nice if one did.

Would it arrive by the vacations, or sooner?

Four and a half years looks as if a excellent time for an upgraded Switch to emerge. It would not have to be a complete new system, however it could possibly be wholly improved. With the success Nintendo’s already seen from the Switch, it makes a lot of sense. It would possibly even justify a larger worth (as reviews have steered).

But if earlier Nintendo {hardware} upgrades are an indicator, the modifications may not be sufficiently big to encourage shopping for a new one. Existing Switch house owners could possibly be simply high quality with what they have already got, until you are feeling like ready it out, or treating your self to an improve when the time comes. Much like PlayStation and Xbox mid-lifespan console upgrades (the PS4 Pro, or the Xbox One X), they’re good however not needed.

For the true knowledgeable opinion, nevertheless, I turned to my 8-year-old. He says, “Take two little controllers, pull them apart and pull up a tiny screen. It’s a Switch you can fit in your pocket.” I do not know if a Switch Micro is going on anytime quickly, however that is what he needs. It’s not a horrible concept.


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