Nintendo will reportedly launch an upgraded Switch next summer


The Wall Street Journal reports that Nintendo is gearing up to build a revamped version of its portable Switch gaming console for the summer of 2019 – just over two years since its initial release.

According to its sources, the company isn’t yet clear on which components will be upgraded for the next Switch – but it’s said to be considering including a ‘brighter, thinner, and more energy-efficient’ display.

That could certainly be useful. Since we don’t have a lot to go on from WSJ’s brief report, we’ll have to speculate. I briefly imagined Nintendo introducing a higher resolution display of at least 1080p for its next Switch, in order to avoid being the lowest-resolution device most people will own for a few years.

To recap, the Switch’s 6.2-inch screen currently maxes out at 720p and a pixel density of 236, with a brightness of 238 nits. That’s a lot less than most smartphones launched in the past couple of years – but it’s worth bearing in mind that in real life, graphics on the look sharp enough and the lower specifications don’t mar the gaming experience in the least.

Plus, supporting a higher resolution would require upgraded internals, which would likely mean higher costs and more strain on the battery. Those compromises may not make sense for Nintendo’s audience, given that it’s traditionally never sold customers on cutting-edge graphics.

The company isn’t big on absorbing higher costs and selling its products at a loss so as to grow its audience – so this seems unlikely.

Where does that leave us? While the Switch is a delightful little machine, it’s not yet perfect. As our own Nino de Vries pointed out to me, it could do with native support for Bluetooth audio equipment like wireless speakers and headphones. That would negate the need for accessories like Bluetooth transmitters and these specialized adaptors, aka more little things to lose.

Next, its internal storage could certainly be bumped up from the 32GB that’s currently available, so as to accommodate more games and content. Similarly, a better battery would be a welcome upgrade. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will wear out your Switch in roughly three hours, and it’d be nice to have some more playtime for long flights and road trips.

Oh, and Nintendo could definitely improve the kickstand. It’s often described as flimsy, and its position on the far right of the device makes it easy to topple the screen over with a slight movement.

Given how inventive Nintendo’s been with its Labo cardboard kits for the Switch, it’ll be interesting to see if the company can come up with something similarly clever for the next iteration of its console. Of course, we’d also greatly appreciate the modest upgrades described above. Do your thing, Nintendo.

Published October 4, 2018 — 07:42 UTC


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