What the Most Credible Leaks Say About the Nintendo Switch 2

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The Nintendo Switch 2 rumor mill seems to have been churning almost since the Switch originally launched, yet for the last seven years, Nintendo has been mostly silent on the issue. As such, it’s easy to dismiss any new claims as mere speculation. Still I think some Switch 2 rumors are more solid than others, and may actually give us a glimpse into what Nintendo has planned for what is possibly the most anticipated new console in years.

The most recent rumors began with a Spanish outlet known as Vandal. where writer Ramón Varela dropped a breakout piece that includes several claims that haven’t circulated before. Those claims were then corroborated and expanded upon by Mobapad, a company that makes Switch controllers and accessories.

While all rumors should be taken with a grain of salt (and a massive one at that), there is reason to put stock in Vandal’s reporting. The outlet’s piece on the “Switch Pro” in 2021 actually got many of the details correct, for what turned out to be the Switch OLED. While Vandal was incorrect in predicting the Switch OLED would output 4K when connected to a TV, it accurately reported Nintendo would increase the display size without increasing the size of the console, and that the company would use an OLED panel for the display rather than an LCD. It also correctly claimed the upgraded stand would resemble a Microsoft Surface’s stand, and that the dock would have USB 3.0 ports, as well as an ethernet port.

That’s not to say you can expect every claim in Vandal’s latest report to be true. But it’s good to know the rumors aren’t coming from a source with zero credibility, and it certainly helps that a Switch accessory maker can back some of them up.

Old Joy-Cons, new connections

The rail design of the current Switch Joy-Cons is iconic: You align the Joy-Con’s rail with the corresponding rail on the Switch, then slide and click it into place (hence, the Switch’s famous “click” sound effect).

For the Switch 2, it seems likely Nintendo is sticking with a similar Joy-Con design, which makes sense: Detachable controllers are a fun way to make a portable console instantly multiplayer—although I hope they’ve figured out a way to prevent stick drift going forward. However, one big difference is the new Joy-Cons may connect with magnets, rather than by rail. Vandal doesn’t share many details about how this magnetic tech actually works, but Mobapad says they’re made with “magnetic suction” and use an electrical current. Perhaps there’s some type of locking mechanism that clicks into place once the magnets do, similar to the locking system in the current Switch.

In any case, switching to a magnetic connection rather from a rails option would likely mean your old Joy-Cons wouldn’t be fully compatible with the Switch 2, unless Nintendo or a third-party made magnetic rail attachments for them. That said, Mobapad believes the current Joy-Cons will be compatible at least via Bluetooth, and both outlets think the existing Pro Controller will be as well.

Mobapad also says the Joy-Con buttons are getting an upgrade. The SL and SR buttons are supposedly going to be metal, and Nintendo is adding a third button to each of the Joy-Cons. In addition, there will be a new function button below the HOME button on the right controller.

Full backwards compatibility

Vandal says that the latest rumors don’t definitively say one way or another whether the Switch 2 will be backwards compatible with original Switch games, but report that manufacturers “believe and assume” that the console will be backwards compatible.

I’m with the manufacturers here: If Switch 2 isn’t backwards compatible, that sounds like a disaster for Nintendo. The Switch was the first Nintendo console since the GameCube that wasn’t backwards compatible with the generation before it. (It would’ve been difficult to fit a Wii U disc in the Switch’s cartridge slot anyway.) But seeing as the Switch 2 is a likely spiritual successor to the OG Switch, it would be silly to expect customers to upgrade to the latest console generation without an option to play their existing Switch library.

Nintendo, you already made us buy all the best Wii U games as Switch ports. Please don’t make us do it again.

Beefier hardware

Specifics on hardware specs are still pretty hard to come by in the Switch 2 rumor mill, but we do know the Nvidia is likely to be involved. An unnamed source told Reuters back in February that Nintendo was planning to use a custom Nvidia chip for the Switch 2, while a previous Vandal report indicates Nintendo is planning to use an Nvidia chip based on the GeForce RTX 30 series. If rumors are to be believed, this chip is known as the T239, a customized version of the existing T234 chip.

Vandal believes the hardware will support DLSS (deep learning super scaling), which uses AI to create upscaled frames, and that the Switch 2 will support ray tracing, a modern lighting technique that produces realistic lighting environments. These changes, plus a rumored 4K output, would definitely put the Switch 2 well above the original in the graphics department.

Even if we had the exact hardware specs in-hand, we wouldn’t know for sure how powerful the Switch 2 really could be. That’s because Nintendo will likely underclock the chip to balance the system’s power with its portability, as it does the current Switch. If Nintendo allowed us to use the SoC’s full potential, it would likely drain the battery too quickly and overheat the system. You can overclock your Switch, improving performance in demanding games like Tears of the Kingdom, but it isn’t recommended.

All that to say, it’s safe to assume the Switch 2 will increase the graphical performance of the current Switch, but the difference will not necessarily be seismic, especially if you’re coming from a Sony or Microsoft console, or even the possible PS5 Pro. But Nintendo has never prioritized having the best quality graphics: As long as the next-generation of Nintendo’s IP looks and plays great, and there continues to be support from third-party developers on the platform, the Switch 2 will do what it’s supposed to.

Games should look good in handheld mode, too: Mobapad says the system will come with an 8-inch display, larger than even the 7-inch display on the Switch OLED. and 1080p resolution. All current Switches have a 720p display, so even though the Switch 2 won’t run at 4K in handheld mode, it should look crisper than anything we’ve seen so far.

The Switch 2 is likely not coming this year

If you’re waiting to pick up an OLED Switch because you think the Switch 2 is right around the corner, you might be waiting a while longer. Vandal and other sources believe Nintendo is planning on a early 2025 launch, which would put the gap between console generations at eight years.

Vandal says that accessory manufacturers believe Nintendo is waiting until they have a larger catalog of games for the Switch 2 before launch, which isn’t a bad strategy: Nintendo launched the 3DS without enough killer games, and it tanked the handheld’s first year. (It was also too expensive, but that’s a story for another day.)

Whatever’s Nintendo’s reasoning for holding off on the Switch 2, it likely won’t be on shelves in the immediate future, or in time for the holidays. If you’ve been holding out, you’re missing out on a lot of great games, so unless you’re OK waiting up to another year, you may want to pick up a Switch.

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