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If this Switch 2 rumor is true, Nintendo has made a huge mistake

Published Oct 17th, 2023 4:29PM EDT
Nintendo Switch - Mario Edition console.
Image: Nintendo

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One of the most pressing concerns regarding the Switch 2 is whether or not it will be backward compatible with the original Switch. Nintendo has sold around 130 million Switch consoles, and all of those Switch owners are going to want to bring their game libraries with them when and if they upgrade to the new console. Unfortunately, Nintendo’s lengthy track record with backward compatibility isn’t especially encouraging, and now a new rumor that began making the rounds this week has us even more worried about the Switch 2.

In a new episode of the XboxEra podcast, co-host Nick Baker shared a rumor from an unnamed source who claims the Switch 2 will follow in the footsteps of the PlayStation 3. Similar to Sony’s console, there will apparently be a version of the Nintendo Switch 2 that can play Switch games and another version of the next-gen console that can’t.

“What I have heard about the Switch 2 that is “PlayStation-like” — and it links up with the digital and physical Switch — was that the plan … was to have a backwards compatible version and a non-backwards compatible version,” said Baker.

Baker couches this rumor in plenty of caveats, noting that neither he nor his source are sure if Nintendo is still going ahead with this plan. He also shared his assumption that the backward-compatible version of the Switch 2 will be the one that also supports physical cartridges, while the digital-only Switch 2 will not be backward compatible with the Switch.

You can listen to the relevant section of the podcast in the embedded video below:

Plenty of Nintendo consoles have offered some form of backward compatibility in the past. You can play Game Boy Advance cartridges on a Nintendo DS, GameCube games on a Wii, and Wii games on a Wii U. Given the success of the Switch, it would be a major selling point if fans didn’t have to abandon their libraries when upgrading.

Furthermore, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said earlier this year that Nintendo doesn’t want to have to “rebuild our relationship with our customers.” Nintendo would rather “like to make sure that customers can smoothly transition while still utilising their Nintendo Accounts.”

All of that, in addition to a leaked LinkedIn profile that suggests the Switch 2 should maintain “all existing functionality,” makes me doubt Nintendo will restrict backward compatibility to one model of the Switch 2. There’s a very good chance that Nintendo mulled over the possibility, but let’s all hope they came to the same conclusion I did. This would be a silly move that would only serve to anger a fan base that is currently energized and engaged.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.