Nintendo reportedly showcased the Switch 2 behind closed doors at Gamescom last month. As per Eurogamer, select game developers got an early peek at the Switch successor, alongside tech demos highlighting its improved performance. One such demo is described to have shown an improved version of 2017’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, targeting a higher framerate and resolution when compared to the original’s 30fps. That said, it’s unclear whether the game will be re-released for the new console, which is eyeing a launch in the second half of 2024. Back in August, Nintendo also sent development kits to certain studios for testing, with a promise of a portable mode.
Following Eurogamer’s initial report, VGC corroborated the claim by adding that Nintendo also secretly presented Epic Games’ The Matrix Awakens tech demo, at the event. The real-time experience was released in 2021 to showcase the power of the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X, in addition to showing the high-quality renders made possible by Unreal Engine 5. VGC’s sources suggest that the demo was making use of Nvidia’s DLSS upscaling technology with ray-tracing enabled.
Could this mean Nintendo and Nvidia are working together on a chip? Regardless, it is worth noting that ray-tracing shouldn’t be taken as a sign that the Switch 2’s raw power is anywhere near the current-gen consoles. The Switch 2 still needs to be portable and conserve battery power, whereas the PlayStation and Xbox consoles draw power directly from an outlet.
Earlier reports claimed that the Switch 2 will come with an LCD screen instead of the premium OLEDs as a cost-cutting measure, in addition to a cartridge slot to read physical games. While backwards compatibility will be advantageous for players, it appears as though some third-party developers have pushed back against the idea, so they could re-sell games for the new hardware. Heading into the next year, the company has a strong lineup of exclusive titles for the current Nintendo Switch, ranging from Super Mario Bros. Wonder to an untitled Princess Peach game. The need for a new Nintendo gaming system became super apparent during the release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, which struggled to provide smooth framerates.
Rumours of a Switch Pro began in 2020, with Bloomberg reporting that Nintendo was meant to leverage Nvidia’s upgraded hardware and 4K resolution. In other news, the European Union adopted a new regulation for battery sustainability, which implied that handheld consoles would be required to house replaceable batteries by 2027. It offered a four-year timeline for manufacturers to redesign their products, such that customers are able to remove and replace portable batteries using commercially available tools or specialised ones that must be included within the package. Currently, there’s no telling if Nintendo’s Switch follow-up will stick to those rules, albeit heavy opposition from console manufacturers could even prevent the ruling from going through.