Rumors about the next Nintendo console have been swirling in recent months as we approach the seventh anniversary of the Switch. In all likelihood, the Switch 2 (or whatever Nintendo calls it) will be unveiled early next year, with a launch reportedly slated for Fall 2024. In the meantime, we still don’t know what the Switch 2 will look like, but Nintendo recently published a new patent that might have spoiled some significant changes to the design.
As spotted by Game Rant, the patent in question was filed in late 2022 and published in October 2023. The patent includes four drawings of a portable gaming device that is similar to the Switch but with a few notable differences in the design:
In the first drawing, we see a joystick and four face buttons on the front of the handheld device. Provided this patent is about the Switch 2, this would seemingly suggest that Nintendo is doing away with detachable Joy-Con controllers and placing the controls on the console itself. There are shoulder buttons on top of the console as well.
This would be a big shift from the previous generation, as the Switch and Switch OLED require players to use a separate controller in order to play games. It looks more like the Switch Lite, but it’s missing a second joystick and a D-Pad. It’s also more in line with some of the Switch’s recent competition, such as retro handhelds and portable PCs like the Steam Deck.
Another interesting change is the home button moving to the bottom of the console, as Nintendo claims that players rarely need to access the button while playing games. Game Rant also notes that the volume rocker and the power button have apparently swapped places on the Switch 2, while the headphone jack and cartridge slot were untouched.
The patent also talks about a pressure-sensitive touch screen, which might allude to Nintendo’s latest gimmick, as all of its consoles have at least one.
Take all of this with a grain of salt for now, but it’s possible this is our first look at the new design Nintendo is considering for the Switch 2 next year.