Nintendo’s shares hit record highs this week amid rampant market speculation that the gaming giant is planning to launch a next-generation Switch 2 console in 2024. While Nintendo has made no official announcements yet, analysts and industry insiders predict major upgrades to performance and graphics compared to the original Switch.
Analysts Widely Expect a Holiday 2024 Switch 2 Launch
Reports from market analysts indicate Nintendo intends to launch the Switch 2 in time for the 2024 holiday shopping season.
“We think Nintendo will launch a new Switch in [the second half of] 2024 with an OLED model,” predicts David Gibson, chief investment advisor at Astris Advisory Japan.
Several other major financial firms including Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley, Nomura, and Macquarie Capital Securities share similar expectations of a late 2024 release.
If their predictions hold true, Nintendo would be gearing up to unveil and market the Switch 2 in the coming months to build hype before the year-end sales rush.
Switch Sales Remain Strong with 100 Million Units to Date
While the original Switch debuted over 7 years ago in 2017, analysts say sales momentum remains surprisingly robust with over 30 million sold in the past year alone.
Total lifetime sales recently crossed the 100 million threshold, making the Switch Nintendo’s second best-selling home console ever behind only the revolutionary Wii.
“The Switch is still going strong after its sixth holiday season, an impressive feat that speaks to both Nintendo’s top-notch software and the hybrid system’s broad appeal,” remarks industry analyst Piers Harding-Rolls of Ampere Analysis.
Switch software sales also hit new records in 2022, indicating continued high engagement among Nintendo’s loyal fanbase. Fueled by this success, Nintendo’s share price reached an all-time peak this month with market capitalization exceeding 10 trillion yen for the first time since 2008.
Powerful New Nvidia Chip and Major Upgrades Rumored
While specific details remain scarce in the absence of official Switch 2 announcements, analysts widely expect Nintendo to pack significant performance upgrades into the next-gen console based on progress in gaming hardware capabilities since 2017.
“We think Nintendo will likely adopt NVidia’s new Tegra chip for the new Switch,” predicts Hideki Yasuda, ace analyst at Toyo Securities. “The new Tegra chip is very powerful and should enable Nintendo to offer full 4K support along with improvements in areas like ray tracing and DLSS 3 that were impossible back in 2017.”
If accurate, these rumors point to a major generational leap putting the Switch 2 on par graphically with leading consoles like the PlayStation 5 and new Xbox Series X/S.
Other hardware upgrades circulated based on insider reports include:
- Larger, higher resolution OLED screen
- 120Hz display refresh rate
- Upgraded joy-con controllers with better ergonomics
- Enhanced battery life up to 8-10 hours
|Rumored Switch 2 Specs
|Nvidia Tegra Chip
|Likely next-gen with 4K / ray tracing support
|Larger OLED, possibly up to 720p resolution
|Up to 120Hz
|Up to 10 hours
Meanwhile, the Switch 2 is still expected to retain Nintendo’s successful hybrid design allowing both handheld and TV-docked play. But the console itself may be somewhat smaller with thinner bezels fitting in between the original Switch and portable-only Switch Lite models.
Backward Compatibility Considered Likely
Given the Switch’s enormous 100+ million software library, analysts widely view backward compatibility with original Switch games as essential to maximize the Switch 2’s appeal and avoid fragmenting Nintendo’s development ecosystem.
“The installed base of Switch games is too big for Nintendo to just walk away from,” argues industry consultant Serkan Toto. “The Switch 2 needs to support the huge number of great first-party franchises already on Switch so users feel like they can safely upgrade to new hardware without losing access to their software libraries.”
Other experts agree Nintendo has strong incentives to incorporate backward compatibility even if it requires retaining some older components instead of upgrading every aspect of the Switch 2. Downward compatibility would also allow cross-generational multiplayer gaming between lingering Switch adopters and early Switch 2 buyers.
What Game Upgrades Can We Expect?
While Nintendo themselves remain tight-lipped about any in-development titles for the rumored new hardware, the generational leap in capabilities is likely to enable or enhance ports of ambitious third-party games previously impossible on the Switch.
4K resolution support would let Switch 2 run visually stunning ports like The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 at their full glory. Ray tracing may bring richer lighting and reflections to enhanced editions of moodily-lit action RPGs like Elden Ring. And the power boost could facilitate ports of more recent high-end franchises such as Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed absent on the Switch so far.
Of course Nintendo’s own legendary in-house studios will be gearing up launch titles and exclusives over the next two years to show off everything the Switch 2 can do. Fans eagerly speculate what fresh innovations and gameplay ideas Nintendo’s creative developers can deliver by fusing the company’s hallmark game design with next-gen hardware.
What Challenges Await the Switch 2?
While indicators suggest strong demand for a power-boosted Switch 2 hybrid console, some factors may curb sales versus the original model’s massive success.
The global economy faces mounting uncertainty that could dent consumer spending. Soaring inflation and rising interest rates may limit households’ appetite for big-ticket electronics purchases.
At the rumored $399 price point, the Switch 2 would also release at a significant premium to the $299 base Switch revealing tighter consumer budgets. This could hamper uptake or require aggressive discounting and bundling tactics from Nintendo.
And the Switch 2 enters a more competitive landscape than its predecessor did in 2017 with well-established 4K-capable consoles from Sony and Microsoft already satisfying core gamers. So Nintendo faces dual challenges differentiating the Switch 2 from past generations while retaining the hybrid original’s casual appeal.
Still analysts remain confident in Nintendo’s savvy winning out as the Switch 2 ushers in the next generation of hybrid portable console gaming. Gamers and investors alike anxiously await official word direct from Nintendo later this year as launch rumors swell.
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