(Pocket-lint) - Nintendo announced a new Switch console last year - the cheaper, lighter Nintendo Switch Lite.

But we're still expecting Nintendo to debut a replacement for the main Nintendo Switch, either called the Nintendo Switch 2 or Switch Pro. This will be in 2021 - read on for more on why that is. 

There was a minor upgrade to the standard Switch model in 2019 which meant a better battery life and revised internals but it wasn't really a second-generation model. 

Switch 2 release date

  • Definitely no new Switch in 2020 according to Nintendo
  • So probably early 2021

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.

Nintendo said there would be no new Switch in 2020 - probably to avoid the PS5 and Xbox Series X announcements - so we're looking at 2021 for the Switch 2 release date. Possibly early in the year to coincide with the original console's fourth anniversary. 

Speaking to investors after the company's January financial results, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa stated that there are "no plans" for a replacement or upgraded Switch.

"We believe that it is important to continue to communicate the appeal of both Nintendo Switch systems and expand the installed base," he said. "Please note that we have no plans to launch a new Nintendo Switch model during 2020."

Switch 2 specs and design

  • Will be based around a new Nvidia Tegra custom chipset
  • Storage and RAM set to get a boost
  • 4K output likely though with a Full HD internal display

While last year's Nintendo Switch Lite has similar internal hardware to the existing Switch, the Switch 2 will get a more thorough overhaul.  According to Japanese site Gamepedia, it will have some impressive internal specs. 

The 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.

Expect there to be a new custom hardware platform underpinning everything - probably once more an Nvidia Tegra based on newer ARM technologies than before.

Lastly, Switch 2 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). 4K output to a TV will arrive though - not least to keep pace with the incoming PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Sharp is said to have got the nod to supply the LCD screens.

Switch Pro game compatibility

  • Full backwards compatibility likely
  • Will surely have Joy-cons

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 the lack of detachable Joy-Cons).

Backwards compatibility is 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.

Nintendo Switch 2: What's happened so far?

This is everything we've heard so far about the Switch 2

25 August 2020 - Nintendo Switch will get a big hardware upgrade in 2021

The new Switch will be with us in early 2021 according to Bloomberg. The site says Nintendo will "include more computing power and 4K high-definition graphics" and the new model will most likely feature an upgraded but custom version of the Nvidia Tegra chipset based on newer ARM technologies. 

6 August 2020 - Switch and Animal Crossing selling like hotcakes

The very obvious shortage of Switch consoles at most retailers was indeed a symptom of the success Nintendo's hybrid continues to enjoy. It sold more than 5.5 million units in Q1 2020, taking the Switch up to 61.44 million lifetime sales, a rampant success when you consider how badly the Wii U misfired before it. Switch production was also given a boost as a result.

31 January 2020 -  No plans for Nintendo Switch Pro in 2020

Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa stated that there are "no plans" for a replacement or upgraded Switch at the moment. "We believe that it is important to continue to communicate the appeal of both Nintendo Switch systems and expand the installed base," he said. "Please note that we have no plans to launch a new Nintendo Switch model during 2020."

20 January 2020 - Nintendo might be bringing a stylus attachment to the Switch's Joy-Cons?

Nintendo announced the launch of an official Switch Stylus, but it looks like there might be more to come, with the eagle-eyed team at LetsGoDigital having unearthed a new patent from Nintendo to add stylus features right onto users' existing Joy-Cons. 

May 2019 - Supply chain rumours

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.

Writing by Rik Henderson and Dan Grabham.