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Can we expect a new Nintendo console any time soon?


Rayn
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Looking back on the history of Nintendo consoles, the average refresh rate between generations has been roughly 5.5 years. When looking at handheld systems we saw updated hardware about once every year since the release of Gameboy Advance in 2001 with numerous versions of the Advance, DS and 3DS families. 

 

With three months to go we move past the average release threshold for main consoles and even if I still love the Switch to death I can't help but feel that it has peaked some time ago. We no longer get big first party titles and most other releases are inferior ports of games that's been available on other platforms for a while. 

 

I've no doubt Nintendo are working on the next generation of hardware but I can't help but feel curious about what direction they ultimately decide on taking with their next generation. Will it simply be a Switch 2.0 with improved hardware and an updated OS with some QoL improvements, or will they go back to classic console design with the Switch range as their handheld alternative? 

 

With 4K TVs steadily becoming the norm I'm expecting their next console to be at least as powerful as the PS5/Series X, anything weaker won't fly for a piece of hardware released 2-3 years after those consoles. It wouldn't surprise me if they would go for much weaker hardware, though. 

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I doubt it will be soon, but I'd definitely expect a "Switch 2" of some kind rather than a return to a dedicated home console.

 

Assuming they do go for another hybrid, then we're not going to get specs to trouble the PS5 or Series X. Earlier "Switch Pro" speculation suggested they could make use of Nvidia's DLSS upscaling to support higher resolutions, which sounds sensible to me.

 

I don't think Nintendo are particularly interested in direct competition with Sony and Microsoft. The Switch has been a huge success after all.

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4 minutes ago, Rayn said:

With 4K TVs steadily becoming the norm I'm expecting their next console to be at least as powerful as the PS5/Series X

Good luck with that. Nintendo's hardware hasn't matched (let alone bettered) its competitors since the Gamecube. 

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I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a new, more powerful version of the Switch but I don't think we'll see a true replacement for a few years. There's a massive user base for the Switch and it's still selling great. The format of a handheld console with dock has worked so well for Nintendo that I doubt they'll want to split the business into seperate  'home' and 'handheld' machines ever again.

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I was wondering about the actual underpinnings that might force them to change. They currently use the Nvidia Tegra X1 which Nvidia were rumoured to be stopping production of in 2021. Now I don't think they did do that (cant find any reports of it) but at some point Nvidia will want to ditch Tegra X1 from their lineup and concentrate on faster Tegra chipsets.


That might be what drives Nintendo, or will Nvidia just keep a production line running just for Nintendo until Nintendo decide not to anymore?

 

They could use something else and that is back compatible but that sounds more tricky.


Finally if Nintendo stick to this handheld/home console hybrid (and why wouldn't they!) then PS5/XsX performance is never going to work in the short to medium term in an acceptable form factor/pricepoint.

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Any time soon? I actually hope now. The Switch is a huge success and I like seeing what devs can squeeze out of aging hardware. 

Digital Foundry have talked about this recently. Apparently, they are aware that dev's do already have next-gen Nintendo dev kits which would imply it is coming in perhaps a year or so. If they do have dev kits - unless they're alpha hardware - you don't really want that all getting too out of date before it's even released. 

DF also touched on NVidia's history with backwards-compatibility and they're mobile technology and how it's never really been a consideration for them, so this might be interesting as to how or if Nintendo will do it with their new hardware. 

 

I *think I've time-stamped the correct video, these DF directs have loads of great insights mixed in with some absolutely awful galaxy-brained takes and it can be hard to parse it all - 
 

 

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45 minutes ago, Rayn said:

We no longer get big first party titles and most other releases are inferior ports of games that's been available on other platforms for a while. 


This is really, really underselling it.

 

First off, there have been plenty of great first party titles, with more on the way I’m sure (Breath of the Wild 2, surely another 3D Mario, and Metroid Prime 4).

 

But crucially, it’s my absolute favourite console to play indie titles, and most of them aren’t too compromised on the less powerful hardware (if at all).

 

Even if they released a Switch Pro now, with beefier hardware, you’d still get “inferior ports of games that's been available on other platforms for a while”, as it could never match up to the big home consoles.

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21 minutes ago, Rayn said:

With 4K TVs steadily becoming the norm I'm expecting their next console to be at least as powerful as the PS5/Series X,

There's no way at this time they could or even want to put that kind of power into a handheld format of a similar size and price as the current Switch. You're asking for the impossible.

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I’m desperately excited for my steam deck to arrive, and it might change my opinions, but looking at the compromises valve had to make to  a) get it to work, and b) gate 50k made in 6 months, I just don’t think the tech and factory bandwidth is there for a next gen Nintendo console. 
 

We went from a 4K mid gen switch upgrade to a Gamegear sized nuclear furnaced powered Steam deck which is 720p. 
 

I think it’ll be a year or two before a next gen console.

 

I’m also thinking Nintendo are pondering a ‘third piller’ pivot into VR. 

 

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25 minutes ago, Rayn said:

Looking back on the history of Nintendo consoles, the average refresh rate between generations has been roughly 5.5 years. When looking at handheld systems we saw updated hardware about once every year since the release of Gameboy Advance in 2001 with numerous versions of the Advance, DS and 3DS families. 

 

With three months to go we move past the average release threshold for main consoles and even if I still love the Switch to death I can't help but feel that it has peaked some time ago. We no longer get big first party titles and most other releases are inferior ports of games that's been available on other platforms for a while. 

 

I've no doubt Nintendo are working on the next generation of hardware but I can't help but feel curious about what direction they ultimately decide on taking with their next generation. Will it simply be a Switch 2.0 with improved hardware and an updated OS with some QoL improvements, or will they go back to classic console design with the Switch range as their handheld alternative? 

 

With 4K TVs steadily becoming the norm I'm expecting their next console to be at least as powerful as the PS5/Series X, anything weaker won't fly for a piece of hardware released 2-3 years after those consoles. It wouldn't surprise me if they would go for much weaker hardware, though. 

 

I'm not picking on you but I've seen this so many times on social media, people just seem to be ignoring what's happened over the last two years?

 

Between covid, the chip shortage and the direction of the global economy, I'm not sure there's a lot of scope for big leaps. Next gen still hasn't really started, devs are still trying to catch up and the Switch is still selling in ridiculous numbers.

 

My purely layman's take is that Nintendo will try to hammer out a plan with nVidia to see out the chip shortage but if that's not possible then I guess some kind of compromise will come to market to update the chip without adversely impacting the price of the hardware.

 

Fact is everything is still selling and even if there was a Switch 2 now, there'd be such a long crossgen period you'd just be getting shinier versions of games rather than the mythical PS5 and Xbox Series games that still barely exist.

 

Course this is Nintendo so they could just as easily announce a new machine tomorrow. Who really knows with them?

 

Spoiler

I'm sure they've got potential successors lined up for each year it could launch but whatever potential upgrade that might be been on the horizon has probably been shelved due to the current conditions.

 

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30 minutes ago, Rayn said:

We no longer get big first party titles and most other releases are inferior ports of games that's been available on other platforms for a while. 

:hmm:

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I think it's too early. The average length between their previous consoles was brought down by relatively unsuccessful systems like N64, gamecube and Wii u that they needed to ditch quickly. Combine that with the current economic situation and yeah, no.

 

They also need to be careful to not do another Wii u and confuse the market with the new product.

 

 

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Not even Nintendo can turn around and decide their next console is a clean break. It'll be the Switch 2 and it'll play Switch games.

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In normal times I'm sure we'd be looking at a new console soon - presumably a Switch 2. But after the pandemic and the chip shortages, not to mention the Switch still flying off the shelves, I can't see Nintendo releasing a proper upgrade for a while. Which is disappointing, as the machine is really starting to creak!

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Just now, Eighthours said:

as the machine is really starting to creak!

 

Air duster in the fan should sort that.

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40 minutes ago, Thor said:

Good luck with that. Nintendo's hardware hasn't matched (let alone bettered) its competitors since the Gamecube. 


Not quite right - they released Mario Cars 8 and beat all of them.

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I don't care about a 4K-ready Switch but it would be nice to have a machine powerful enough to play my current Switch games at reasonable framerates. I love the Switch but some of its third-party games are shockingly optimised, I'd be happy enough with a console that makes that a thing of the past.

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I'm sure I heard a Switch Pro is going to be announced any day now.

 

Suggesting that Nintendo is slowing down 1st party is amusing though. They have become very good at announcing games and actually releasing them in a very timely manner.

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I reckon they'll be a lot more cautious after seeing the failure of the Wii U after the enormous success of the Wii. They don't want the same thing to happen with whatever comes next. 

 

All I need is a more powerful switch ( not eveb expecting or needing it to rival Sony or Xbox) but fully backwards compatible with Switch games and hardware (including Joycons), but then that might confuse the people that couldn't work out Wii U was different to Wii. 

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