Nintendo is reportedly planning to release its much desired follow-up to the Nintendo Switch in the second half of 2024. Sources aware of the Zelda publisher’s next-gen console reportedly told VGC that it would be portable, like the Switch, but most details are still snugly under wraps.
Nintendo itself has been exceedingly coy about the future of its hardware, often bowing out of specifics when asked. Earlier this summer, for example, when investors asked if the Switch, which came out in 2017, was approaching its end-of-life, president Shuntaro Furukawa focused on the longevity of its software instead of suggesting it would ever be replaced by a different console.
“Never before in hardware has software sold at such a pace,” he said. “Like last year’s Pokémon Scarlet and Violet and this year’s The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom; Nintendo Switch titles sold more than 10 million units in the first three days of their release.”
Despite selling over 125 million, the Switch install base has slowed its growth over the last 12 months. The hardware has also struggled to keep up with some big new releases like Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, though 2023's The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom showed the current Switch can still deliver a GOTY-worthy blockbuster with beautiful visuals and good performance.
VGC’s suggested release window lines up with a Nikkei report from earlier this year pointing to a similar timeline based on Nintendo’s current negotiations with part suppliers. And Nintendo previously said during a May earnings call that the company wasn’t planning any significant new hardware refreshes before the end of its 2023 fiscal year in April 2024.
Despite how guarded the company is, sources tell VGC that Nintendo is working on a console that might have “an LCD screen, instead of the more premium OLED, in order to bring down costs,” and that “will also accept physical games via a cartridge slot,” VGC writes. Sources did not clarify whether the potential new console would be backwards compatible with Switch titles, a massive boon to everyone who has invested hundreds of dollars into their current Switch game libraries. Nintendo did not immediately respond to Kotaku’s requests for comment.
Based on the details given, this round of next-gen Nintendo rumors seems pretty different from what fans have been anticipating up until now. In 2021, Bloomberg reported that Nintendo already created 4K Switch Pro development kits (Nintendo publicly declared these “[false] claims”) and passed them out to certain developers, which certainly makes the prospect of buying a hardware refresh with a worse LCD screen annoying.
Whatever Nintendo is working on, you probably won’t get it this year. Sorry about that.