As we approach the halfway point of 2023, it’s worth pointing out that Nintendo has never gone more than seven years between home consoles. Nintendo released the NES in 1983, the Super Nintendo in 1990, the Nintendo 64 in 1996, the GameCube in 2001, the Wii in 2006, the Wii U in 2012, and the Switch in 2017. Next year will be the seventh anniversary of the Switch, and right on cue, Nintendo seems to be gearing up for the announcement of the Switch 2.
In a recent shareholder meeting (translated by VGC), Nintendo’s president Shuntaro Furukawa somewhat surprisingly answered a question about the successor to the Switch. Here’s what he said when asked about strategies for the transition from Switch to Switch 2:
Regarding the transition to the next generation, in the past, hardware was the only means for us to connect with our customers, and every time we released a new console, we had to rebuild our relationship with our customers.
However, with the Nintendo Switch, we have been able to directly connect with various customers through the Nintendo Account system. The Nintendo Account is not only usable for those with game consoles, but also for customers on mobile devices, and the current number of accounts exceeds 290 million.
In the transition from the Nintendo Switch to the next generation console, we would like to make sure that customers can smoothly transition while still utilising their Nintendo Accounts.
There you have it: Our first real news about the next Nintendo console.
Obviously, we do not know anything about the design or the specifications or which games it will play, but the fact that Nintendo is willing to talk about it at all is meaningful. Usually, when anyone asks a Nintendo executive about an unannounced console, they refuse to comment. Furukawa offered not just a comment but a meaningful one.
For the first time in Nintendo’s history, your user account will carry over from one home console to the next. Nintendo didn’t get serious about online gaming until the launch of the Wii U, which used the Nintendo Network. Shortly before the Switch launched, the company introduced a new single sign-on user account system known as Nintendo Account. This is the system that players can use for Switch games as well as Nintendo’s mobile games.
Now we know that you can also log in to your Nintendo Account on the Switch 2.
Combine this news with a report from Nikkei Asia citing a source who claimed that development on the console “seems to be progressing well” and that “a product launch won’t happen before next spring at the earliest,” and it’s hard not to be curious.
Nintendo has a big holiday season planned for the Switch, with Super Mario Bros. Wonder, a remaster of Super Mario RPG, a new WarioWare title, and a sequel to Detective Pikachu each launching in October and November. But rather than a new phase of the Switch’s lifecycle, this might be the last hurrah for the aging hybrid console.