The Nintendo Switch hasn’t even been out for two years, but it seems Nintendo is hard at work on new hardware. According to The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo will release a new Switch model in 2019. The report cited “suppliers and others with direct knowledge of the plan.”
Though the report doesn’t offer many specifics about the hardware, it will “likely share many features with the current version and be compatible with existing Switch game software.”
As far as enhancements go, Nintendo could be looking to upgrade the Switch’s screen. The Switch’s current display is “without some technologies that are standard in more recent smartphone LCDs,” the report stated. Nintendo is considering adding technology that “would make it brighter, thinner, and more energy-efficient.” It’s unclear exactly how “current” of technology Nintendo might use for an updated display, but it “isn’t expected to adopt the organic light-emitting diode or OLED panels used in Apple Inc.’s iPhone X series.”
Battery life is probably the biggest downside of gaming on the go on Switch, so a more energy-efficient screen would be a welcome addition. As of now, the Switch currently holds a charge for about three hours when playing AAA games like Super Mario Odyssey.
While it may sound surprising to some that Nintendo is already planning new Switch hardware, it actually falls in line with Nintendo’s typical handheld release schedule. Nintendo released the DS Lite in 2006, two years after the original model launched. Just a year after releasing the Nintendo 3DS, the manufacturer released the Nintendo 3DS XL. Nintendo constantly iterates on its handhelds (three Game Boy Advance models, four DS models, six 3DS models). Since the Switch also doubles as a handheld, we’d actually be surprised if this is the only hardware upgrade the system receives in its life cycle.
The Switch started off on a tear, moving roughly 10 million units in its first nine months. In July, Nintendo announced it had sold nearly 20 million units. However, only about 1.9 million consoles were sold between April and June, less than Nintendo expected. While that’s no reason for alarm, it makes sense why Nintendo would want to reinvigorate interest in its console.
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