According to rumors from insiders, Tears of the Kingdom is slated to be the last major first-party release for the Nintendo Switch. If this is true, then the Nintendo Switch is approaching the end of its lifecycle. This also means that Nintendo has to be preparing for the launch of their next console by this point, though they’ve barely even uttered a word about it at this point.
As it turns out, a manufacturing company, Sharp, has recently revealed that they involved in the R&D (research and development) stage of a console’s development. More specifically, this console is said to have a screen of some sort associated with it. Needless to say, there are reasons to speculate that Sharp is involved with the development of a follow up to the Nintendo Switch.
As discussed during a recent podcast episode from Digital Foundry, Sharp actually has a history of working with both Nintendo and Sony as a manufacturing company. While there are rumors about a PlayStation Q-Lite in the making, the Digital Foundry crew believe that this is likely the Nintendo Switch follow up. Of course, Sharp’s history with Nintendo dates back as far as the 1980s.
A partnership with Sharp as a manufacturer for the next console appears as a logical decision being that Nintendo added Sharp as an assembler for the Switch back in late 2020. Due to the success of the Switch, Nintendo likely won’t be deviating too much from the Switch’s design.
It’s rumored that the console in question will supposedly be using an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), like the original Switch model. This is a somewhat puzzling as it would be a downgrade from the Nintendo Switch OLED, which uses a multi-touch capacitive touch screen.
Following Sharp’s reveal that they’re involved in a contract that notes how they’re working on a console with an LCD screen, news sites (like Bloomberg) predictably began reporting on this news. Needless to say, everyone began speculating about a partnership with Nintendo to develop the Switch follow up.
As a result of all this, Sharp’s documentation about this contract has mysteriously been removed. While this is unconfirmed, it almost seems as though a certain partner company wanted them to remove references to it after speculation emerged that Sharp was working on the assembly for the Switch’s follow up.
Insiders close to Nintendo say that we probably shouldn’t expect the next Nintendo console to release before spring 2024. However, even this feels too soon considering that Nintendo has yet to even announce any details about the next console.
During the Digital Foundry podcast, it’s speculated that a Holiday 2024 release window seems more likely. Of course, Spring 2025 could also be in the cards.
It was also pointed out that Nintendo has a troubling history in which a console that follows after a hugely successful one tends to flop. One of the biggest examples of this is how poorly the Wii U did in comparison to the hugely successful Wii.
Backwards compatibility feels like a must for this next console to perform well in the market. Additionally, the console will need a strong lineup and announcements to keep fans interested.
Reports recently indicated that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the third best-selling title on the Switch at the moment, has surpassed 31 million sales worldwide since the game was released back in December 2018. While it might seem like it’s time for another Super Smash Bros. entry, Masahiro Sakurai has seemingly been taking it easy while managing his new YouTube channel as of late.
Other successful series like Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, Legend of Zelda, Mario, and Pokémon will also theoretically need sequels as these series saw their success continued on the Switch.
Shortly before Sharp announced that they were involved with this mysterious console, a source close to Nintendo supposedly told Nikkei Asia that development of Nintendo’s next project “seems to be progressing well.” Based on all these factors, we are likely to start hearing news about Nintendo’s next console in either late 2023 or early 2024. We’ll just have to keep an eye out for more news like this as well as official announcements from Nintendo themselves.