Rumors surrounding an alleged and elusive new, improved, and more powerful Nintendo Switch have been swirling around for what feels like ever since the console launched. While there hasn’t been that many rumors in recent times, chatter surrounding this enigma of a system upgrade has yet to subside. In a recent interview with Polygon, Nintendo of America President, Doug Bowser, was asked squarely if the company has any intentions of releasing such a machine. His answer? “…Our focus will be on the existing form factors.”
Preceding that line, Mr. Bowser mentioned that both the Switch and Switch Lite have had very strong momentum across sales charts (even in Nintendo’s weaker markets). This momentum is so strong that, according to Bowser, Nintendo believes that it’s “changing the trajectory of another typical console life cycle.” In other words, Nintendo feels that sales are high enough to justify keeping the current hardware at the forefront for the foreseeable future. In fact, Nintendo intends to “lean into both of those platforms” moving forward.
While Nintendo Switch has always paled in comparison from a hardware standpoint to the other platforms, this fact has been exacerbated by the recent release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles. Even the Xbox Series S, which has far more limitations than the other two next-gen giants, is a much more capable piece of hardware than the Switch. This, combined with the Switch’s increasing age, are another reason why more and more folks are seemingly beginning to get a bit impatient when it comes to Nintendo revamping the hybrid. But, if Mr. Bowser’s response is anything to go by, it doesn’t look like that will happen—at least not anytime soon.
(Really) no Switch in direction?
Considering that unit sales for the Switch are now 70+ million worldwide, it’s no wonder why Nintendo doesn’t seem to be moved by the idea of releasing new hardware. The Switch Lite is an exception because it was clearly created as a budget option, in the same vein as the Nintendo 2DS or aforementioned Xbox Series S. A new, more powerful Switch would no doubt be more expensive. Of course, this format hasn’t stopped Nintendo before: the New 3DS and 2DS were just that—pricier upgrades. This is why the idea of a “Super Switch” of sorts hasn’t been far-fetched, especially considering Sony and Microsoft basically normalized such a move with the release of the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X in the middle of the previous generation. And seeing that the Switch is in the middle of its life, an upgrade wouldn’t hurt. But, again, Nintendo seems content with its current trajectory.
That said, consider how if a new Switch were to release, there would still be the logistical matter of what to do with the 70+ million “basic” systems. While some users may convert, much like the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X proved, the enhanced models may not necessarily outsell their weaker counterparts. So, from a business standpoint, it would make sense to continue support for the original Switch/Lite.
Regardless, Mr. Bowser didn’t exactly answer the question pointedly does at least give the impression something could be lurking in the shadows. After all, when it comes to hardware talk, Nintendo has been guilty of playing the misdirection card on more than one occasion.
For instance, the most recent example would involve the Switch itself. When it was still known as the NX before its official reveal, former Nintendo CEO Kimishima claimed that it would be a different platform from the Wii U and 3DS and wouldn’t be replacement to either. As we know, Switch ended up effectively replacing both. Another example is when the Switch Lite came to town, Nintendo—specifically Bowser himself—claimed that it wouldn’t officially push the 3DS out of the picture. Yet, months later, Nintendo finally shuddered the manufacturing ops of the little handheld.
Thus, while Mr. Bowser has plainly stated we shouldn’t expect to see a Switch Pro, he didn’t exactly flat-out say “no” either. Interpret that as you fancy to do so.
You can check out more details from Polygon’s interview with President Bowser here.