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In the wake of last week’s Nintendo Direct, Rob Fahey of put out an opinion piece about the announcement’s lineup, proclaiming it to be the console’s “sunset slate.” Fahey argues that the Nintendo Switch’s upcoming games, “a focus on remasters and remakes,” is a stopgap as Nintendo prepares to launch its next console. Thus we come back to the question of how Nintendo plans to transition from the Switch onward, what its successor might look like, and how it factors into the Switch’s remaining lifespan. It’s a well thought out piece that considers the core queries of any console transition.

These are all reasonable questions to ask – but I can’t help but feel as if I’ve heard these concerns before. The truth is, people have been speculating about a Switch followup for basically five years at the point: first in the shape of an endless flood of “Switch Pro” speculation that didn’t end even after the release of a much more humble console upgrade, and then wonders of what a “Switch 2” would even look like. Without a titan of Tears of the Kingdom’s magnitude on the horizon, it’s easy to speculate that Nintendo is gearing up for its next big thing. But why are we so fixated on the far future we know almost nothing about as opposed to the more immediate games on the radar?



Fahey’s claim of the company focusing on remasters during the Direct is at least a little spurious. There’s no doubt that Super Mario RPG was a big ticket announcement, third parties had a notable presence with the likes of the MGS collection or the Star Ocean remake, and you could even argue ports like Vampire Survivors bolster the “sunset slate” lineup in a similar way. But we also got a brand-new and colorful 2D Mario game, a thorough look at next month’s Pikmin, and brand-new titles for WarioWare and Detective Pikachu. Sure, none of those are SSS-tier flagship holiday sellers like a new mainline Pokémon, but it was a release lineup explicitly focused on the remainder of the year – and Nintendo has already released its SSS-tier flagship holiday seller for 2023. As long as TotK is still selling, the company doesn’t need to dangle Metroid Prime 4 or Super Mario Universe in front of our noses. Not to mention that people have lobbied accusations of the Switch being a port and remaster machine since the beginning. How is this new, exactly?

While the Switch is certainly closer to the end of its lifespan than its beginning, a lot of outlets seem eager to jump the gun on claiming the console is entering its twilight. While I don’t doubt that some sort of Switch followup is in development, there’s some form of assumption that because a certain amount of time has passed Nintendo has to release a new console imminently, or else they’ll fall behind. Such considerations fail to consider the current context of video game hardware. The Switch is “outdated,” yes, and the AAAAAAAAAAAA developers who churn out games where you can see characters’ individual chin hairs may not want to develop for a weaker console, but for teams putting out games without that cutting edge performance the Switch is perfectly fine. Not ideal, but fine. We’re past the point where video game generational upgrades feel all that significant – ask me the difference between a PS4 and PS5 game graphically and I’m not sure I could answer.



There’s also the matter of cost and markets. The Switch is unusual for a console of seven years in that it’s never had a price cut – it’s been $300 since 2017, and actually may be at risk of a price increase if things go particularly sour. This is because of inflation in the global economy and a weak yen, which keep the MSRP of the product static even as the cost to produce it gets theoretically cheaper. If Nintendo does release a new, shinier, more powerful console, it would undoubtedly be more expensive. Part of the reason for the Switch’s success as a hybrid console is that it struck a sweet spot of a price point – expensive for a handheld but modest for a TV console, ultimately more affordable than Sony and Microsoft’s fare. The cheapest version of the PS5 is still fifty dollars more than the priciest Switch. If Nintendo really is making the leap, then they’re going to have to consider their pricing incredibly carefully.

But also, the Switch is incredibly established. It’s the third best-selling video game console to ever release. Its library contains modern classics and titans for multiple franchises. In comparison, both the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S have struggled to gain a lot of traction, with a majority of theoretically exclusive games releasing either on last generation hardware or PC. Why should Nintendo give up their hit-making, record-breaking machine just because “its time has come?” Tears of the Kingdom proved that graphical fidelity and hardware tricks aren’t necessary to make the most impactful game of a given year. Why, then, is the assumption that Nintendo needs to move on to greener pastures?



All of this assumes that the Switch will become defunct upon the release of a new console, which I think is the most unlikely possibility – not just because the aforementioned PS5/PS4 and Xbox Series X|S/Xbox One situation shows that a lot of consumers haven’t felt the need to pick up the new generation, but also because its install base is so huge. When it comes to handhelds in particular, Nintendo doesn’t leave old consoles out to dry right away, having supported each handheld for at least a year or two after the next console came out. Especially if the Switch’s successor is a different beast entirely in some very Nintendo way where all our expectations are shot, then the Switch will likely stick around as Nintendo actually does begin to sunset it. But surely it’s a bit presumptuous to say the time is now.

Maybe Nintendo does announce its next console this fall. In fact, I think it’s more likely than not. But focusing too much on that possibility misses the forest for the trees. The Switch has some great looking titles on the way for what’s sure to be in retrospect another fantastic year for a console that’s proven to have a lot of them. And even if we do see that next console, I don’t think 2023 or even 2024 will be the last we hear or see of the Switch. I imagine it’ll reach at least a full decade of life before Nintendo shuts down production of new units. And why wouldn’t it? It’s a wonderful little machine.


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Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.