Nintendo has announced a new Switch console for 2019. However, it's not quite the Nintendo Switch 2.
A cheaper, lighter Nintendo Switch Lite will be available from this September, but where does it leave proper higher-specced replacement?
Here is everything we know so far about an actual Nintendo Switch 2.
All new console?
As we're only two years into the existing Switch's life cycle, a full, next-generation machine is not expected. Instead, the Nintendo Switch 2 is to be, more likely, a Nintendo Switch 2019 (or 2020), with a tweaked upgrade rather than replacement.
Previous reports pointed to a cheaper, smaller device too, which we now know to be the Nintendo Switch Lite, That will be available from 20 September 2019, but isn't expected to be the last addition to the Switch range.
The Wall Street Journal spoke to "parts suppliers and software developers" in March 2019, who claimed that an enhanced version of the Switch, aimed at the more dedicated, hardcore gamer is on its way. And, considering they were spot-on with talk of a more-affordable, handheld-only model, it stands to reason that they could be right when it comes to a more advanced new Switch too.
But the best evidence emerged in July, soon after the Switch Lite was announced. A letter to the FCC (the US communications regulator), dated 2 July 2019 and posted on the FCC's website, Highlighted changes to the original Switch's specifications, claiming that the SoC (System on Chip) and RAM have been improved in a new version.
Specs and design
While the Nintendo Switch Lite has similar internal hardware to the existing Switch, the Switch 2 is rumoured to be beefed up.
According to Japanese game site Gamepedia, it will have some bumps in specifications.
Its RAM is said to be 8GB, double that in the current console, while the on-board storage will get a major hike to 128GB. The existing Switch only has 32GB of storage and nigh-on demands that you buy a microSD card if you want to store more than one game.
New processing will be adopted, it is claimed, with an all-new system-on-chip - maybe a more advanced version of the existing Nvidia Tegra chipset. It would be based on the exact same architecture, considering that the games will need to be completely compatible between machines.
Gamepedia says that the most likely benefits of the new SoC will be shorter loading times and possible higher frame rates.
These changes above comply with the FCC filing claiming that both the RAM and processing chipset have been improved.
Lastly, Switch 2, it is said, will support 4K output. It won't have a 4K display built-in, though. It is likely to have a 1080p display instead (an improvement over the 720p one on the current Switch).
Sharp is said to have got the nod to supply the LCD screens.
All games for the new Nintendo Switch will be playable on the existing Switch and vice versa (the Switch Lite has some restrictions as motion controlled games won't work due to attached Joy-Cons). It's something Nintendo has traditionally stuck to, with different generations of GameBoys and DS consoles all being backward compatible.
So, to see what games will work on Nintendo Switch 2 you only need to look on the upcoming schedule of Switch titles.
Excitingly, the company showed a follow-up to the hugely successful The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild during E3 2019 and although we don't have a release date for that particular game, we're sure it would look very nice on new hardware.
Sadly, we don't yet have an idea of an actual release date for a Switch 2 and the Switch Lite announcement could have thrown a minor spanner in the works.
However, the letter Nintendo sent to the FCC in the US on 2 July 2019 could mean the improved model is destined for a pre-Christmas release after all. For example, the original Switch filing was granted in December 2016 and the console was launched in March 2017 - three months later.
That means the Nintendo Switch 2 could be available in October - soon after the Switch Lite.
Of course, Nintendo might choose to wait until early 2020 in order to avoid muddying the water. Either way, there is every indication that Switch 2 is on its way. And that makes us very happy.