Much of Nintendo’s success has resulted from the company going against the grain, but there is one area where it desperately needs to catch up with its competitors: Online infrastructure. While PlayStation and Xbox owners have used the same PlayStation Network or Xbox Live account for multiple generations, Nintendo has never had one consistent online service. That’s finally going to change when the Switch 2 launches in 2024.
Back in June, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa told shareholders that Switch owners who upgrade to the company’s next-generation console will be able to “smoothly transition while still utilising their Nintendo Accounts.”
Since then, we have been inundated with rumors about the Switch 2, but that was the only time Nintendo itself has really alluded to the new console. We don’t expect an official announcement until 2024, but in a recent interview with Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser, Inverse made a valiant effort to find out more about the Switch 2.
Inverse asked Bowser how Nintendo plans to help Switch owners transition to the next platform without losing all of the time and money they invested in the Switch. Bowser’s answer sounded very similar to what we heard from Furukawa:
Well, first I can’t comment — or I won’t comment, I should say — on the rumors that are out there. But one thing we’ve done with the Switch to help with that communication and transition is the formation of the Nintendo Account. In the past, every device we transitioned to had a whole new account system. Creating the Nintendo Account will allow us to communicate with our players if and when we make a transition to a new platform, to help ease that process or transition.
Our goal is to minimize the dip you typically see in the last year of one cycle and the beginning of another. I can’t speak to the possible features of a new platform, but the Nintendo Account is a strong basis for having that communication as we make the transition.
There’s nothing here that we didn’t already know, but it is notable how similar Bowser’s answer is to Furukawa’s. Obviously, Nintendo is comfortable revealing that Nintendo Accounts will carry over from the Switch to the company’s next console. This will undoubtedly be a key talking point when the Switch 2 is announced in the coming months.
It’s also hard to imagine Nintendo putting this much emphasis on the smooth transition between console generations if it does not plan to include backward compatibility for Switch games on the Switch 2. After all, any digital games you buy on a Switch are linked to your Nintendo Account. If that account carries over to your new console, your game library should as well. But if it doesn’t, Nintendo likely wouldn’t be so inclined to talk about the transition.