Believe it or not, the Nintendo Switch came out six years ago. When unveiled in 2016, it promised to deliver on the fantasy of taking home console games with you on the go. The Switch addressed players’ issues with the Wii U, including its better branding, more practical form factor, and more traditional controller setup.
However, the system was already a bit clunky when it hit the scene back in 2017. After six years on the market, it’s showing its age–new games cause the platform to huff and puff, and even the OLED refresh can’t mask that some games look ugly on the console. So, how much longer until Nintendo will have to unveil the successor to the successful hybrid console?
Historically, Nintendo releases a new home console around once every five or six years. The Wii U got just five years in the sun, as did the Nintendo Gamecube and N64. The Wii got a bit longer shelf life, sticking around for six years before its successor arrived. So, with the Switch already entering its seventh full year on the market, it’s outlived most of its predecessors.
But it’s clear now that the Switch has fallen behind the technological curve. Competitors Sony and Microsoft have released their next-gen upgrades in the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, respectively. They look leaps and bounds better than anything Nintendo’s console can do.
If Nintendo pulls one of their classic bait-and-switch moves with their next console, fans might riot. For decades, the company has succeeded by zigging where its competitors zag. The N64 introduced a revolutionary analog stick, the GameCube sported a bizarre, compact design, and the Wii popularized motion-controlled home console games.
But fans certainly don’t want Nintendo to go overboard with the next Switch system. The hybrid design makes the Switch one of the handiest consoles out there–the ability to take your games with you on a plane or vacation is just too practical to ditch in the name of some outlandish gimmick.
Nintendo hasn’t announced plans to release another console soon, but that might change shortly. They could tease a Switch successor in the summer for release as soon as the end of this year. Or, they could play it safe and line up the release for sometime in 2024. Whatever the case, Nintendo needs to move swiftly or risk falling far behind its competitors.