Chatter about a new, more powerful Nintendo Switch has resurged within the gaming community. The so-called “Switch Pro” has long been rumored to deliver improved performance and graphics to Nintendo’s hybrid console. Now, news reports suggest a successor to the Switch is just over the horizon.
Sources from Nintendo’s supply chain told the Taiwanese site Digitimes a new Switch model is about to go into production. The report states that the gaming system will launch in mid-2020, but doesn’t mention how it will be different from the current versions of the console, or the titles it could launch with. If this proves accurate, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 might also launch alongside it.
Unconfirmed rumors have previously pinned the release of a Switch Pro or “Switch 2” to the launch of BotW 2. Over the past few months, Nintendo has hinted at steady progress in developing its next Zelda title.
Recent job openings for terrain and level designers have suggested the company wants to build on the successes of BotW by making its sequel even more sprawling that before. What better way to show off that hard work than a high-end Switch that supports 4K resolution?
A Switch Pro and BotW 2 release also line up with a November report from Sabi, a games insider who accurately leaked a majority of the headlining press conferences at E3 2019. In November, the leaker claimed Nintendo planned to launch BotW 2 in 2020, barring any delays. Monday’s Digitimes report might be a hint this alleged leak is legitimate.
The original Switch was released in March 2017 with BotW as its marquee launch title. Switch sales reached 5.46 million worldwide within the first month and 2.76 million copies of BotW were sold as well, according to a company financial report. Nintendo estimated that 90 percent of Switch owners bought the game, which sent a resounding message that the console and Zelda franchise were a winning combination.
“This high of an attach rate is more or less unprecedented,” former Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima told GamesIndustry.biz. “We anticipate that this momentum may lead to a new sell-through record for the entire The Legend of Zelda series.”
Nintendo might be preparing to recreate that same magic very soon. The open-world game would be an excellent way to demonstrate the power of the Switch 2. BotW suffered from occasional frame drops and graphical hiccups because its expansive world was sometimes too much for the original Switch’s barebones specs. A new console means Nintendo could make BotW 2 bigger and more immersive than before.
March 3 will be the third anniversary of both the OG Switch and BotW, which would make a perfect time for a big announcement of an upcoming Switch and a BotW 2 release date reveal. 2020 looks to be a very exciting year for Nintendo fans.