It’s 2023! For Nintendo fans, that means we can finally say this is the year that the long-awaited The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom releases. It also means another year of Nintendo rumors, such as a remaster/remake/port of the Metroid Prime trilogy; a potential new Mario game to tie into the April release of the Super Mario Bros. Movie; and the should-have-been-released-last-year ports of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. However, the biggest rumor of them all is that of the follow up console to the Nintendo Switch. Will Nintendo finally announce it this year? Will it release this year? Will it be just a mid-life upgrade to the original console, or a completely new console? This is Nintendo we are talking about, so any of these could become a reality, but that is not the question of the day. The biggest question is: is it even time for a follow-up to the Nintendo Switch?
When it comes a potential follow-up to the Switch, there are two very vocal camps, both with compelling arguments. On the one side, there are people who think that Nintendo desperately needs to release the Switch 2 quickly. 2022 saw the release of several fantastic Nintendo Switch games, but unfortunately, the almost six-year-old console is showing its age. Performance issues stole the spotlight from critically and commercially successful games such as Bayonetta 3 and Pokémon: Scarlet/Violet. More and more third-party ports are opting for cloud-based versions of their games or downgrading the visual fidelity so that it can run on the dated hardware.
Furthermore, there has been an average of 5.6 years between major Nintendo console releases. This March sees the Switch turning 6, putting it at the prime age for the successor to at least be announced this year. Not to mention the fact that several upcoming games (Pikmin 4, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and Metroid Prime 4) could all greatly benefit from running on updated hardware. Add to that the fact that PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles are finally starting to show up in the wild after two years of being nearly impossible to find, Nintendo desperately needs to do something to continue to compete.
The other camp, however, looks at the massive sales success of the Nintendo Switch and doesn’t see any reason for Nintendo to rush a follow up console. This side argues that, though the Switch is almost six-years-old and though it is indeed showing some of its age, the sales numbers don’t lie. Nintendo Switch games are consistently featured on best-sellers lists month after month, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – essentially a nine-year-old game – a constant feature on top ten lists. Switch hardware is still flying off the shelves thanks to the combination of the stellar line-up of games and availability of hardware in relation to competitors. Why would Nintendo do anything to disrupt their dominance now, when the Switch is showing no troubling signs of slowing down?
In my opinion, I tend to side more with those who think Nintendo should continue to ride the wave of the Switch’s success. The Switch is dominating, and it doesn’t matter that it has performance issues. Nintendo has never been one to care about competing with the raw power of Xbox and PlayStation consoles. It has always been about the gaming experiences, and those have not slowed down one bit since the release of the unique hybrid console in 2017. This doesn’t mean that Nintendo can just coast on the Switch’s success, however. They can and should continue to release updates and iterations of their hardware, such as the Nintendo Switch Lite or OLED model, as well as the various collector edition consoles such as the Splatoon 3 OLED, Pokemon Scarlet/Violet OLED, or the recently rumored Tears of the Kingdom OLED model.
To me, the Nintendo magic comes where we least expect it, and that is where the company works best. Though this could look like a Switch 2, it could also look like Amiibo, or Nintendo Labo, or Mario Kart Live – playful experiments that help deliver the quality that Nintendo is known for, not what we think Nintendo should be doing. What do you think? Is it time for a ‘Super Nintendo Switch’? Or are you good with waiting until it is ready to release? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured image source: Console-Deals