The Nintendo Switch Is Seven Years Old – What’s Next For Nintendo?

Nintendo Switch in use

Last week, the Nintendo Switch celebrated seven years on the market, and entered its eighth year. That’s a long time for a video game console. For reference, both the Xbox One and the PS4 had successors announced before they hit their seven-year mark, the Wii was replaced after six years, and the Wii U was replaced after just five years.

The Switch has seen an incredible amount of high quality games released in its seven years on the market, but so far there’s no word from Nintendo about a Switch successor. We’ve seen plenty of rumors, but until Nintendo announces it, a rumor is just a rumor.

Related: A New Pokémon Legends Game Set In Kalos Has Been Announced

But there are a lot of questions up in the air about the future of Nintendo. We have a few games in the pipeline, but with the exception of the recently announced Pokémon Legends: Z-A, all of Nintendo’s first-party games are in the first half of 2024.

Take a look for yourself — here’s the full list of currently announced Nintendo first-party games:

  • Princess Peach: Showtime! – March 22, 2024

  • Endless Ocean Luminous – May 2, 2024

  • Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door – May 25, 2024

  • Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD – June 27, 2024

  • Pokémon Legends: Z-A – 2025

  • Metroid Prime 4 – TBA

You’ll notice that there isn’t really a holiday big hitter for the Switch this year, at least so far, and honestly, I don’t expect there will be. Maybe we’ll see a Mario Party game, or we may just see discounted bundles of existing games. Of course, there is an elephant in the room, though, so let’s talk about Switch 2.

Pokémon Legends: Z-A won't arrive until 2025. <p>The Pokémon Company</p>
Pokémon Legends: Z-A won't arrive until 2025.

The Pokémon Company

At this point, we’ve had years of speculation about a stronger Switch. We started hearing rumors of a “Switch Pro” in late-2019, and those rumors have resurfaced every few months since. They eventually morphed into Switch 2 rumors, and the latest buzz is that there won’t be a Switch successor until 2025, after it was apparently initially planned to launch in 2024.

We have a pretty good idea of what kind of hardware will be inside the next Nintendo console, and we can be sure that the hybrid handheld console is going to be the form factor that Nintendo sticks to. Rumors go back and forth seemingly every week about whether or not the Switch successor will have backwards compatibility with Switch games, but it’s widely expected that it will.

So if the Switch’s successor is launching in 2025, what does that mean for the rest of 2024? Once Luigi’s Mansion 2 comes out on June 27, there’ll be nothing left – or at least nothing announced – to fill the release schedule. Sure, we might see some third-party releases, but third-party support has dried up something shocking in the last year or so, so even that might be up in the air.

Luigi's Mansion 2 HD probably didn't break Nintendo's bank. <p>Nintendo</p>
Luigi's Mansion 2 HD probably didn't break Nintendo's bank.


It’s not all bad news, though. Another thing you’ll notice about the list above is that it’s entirely made up of lower-budget games, Metroid Prime and Pokémon Legends aside. This is the key to Nintendo’s strategy as the Switch starts singing its swan song — outsource a bunch of smaller games to external studios and let the in-house teams work on whatever’s next. It’s a bold strategy, but it’s worked in the past, and we see no reason it wouldn’t work going forward.

So what can we expect to see from the Switch in the second half of 2024? I would expect more of the same. HD ports and remasters of old games, minimally enhanced ports of Wii U games like Wind Waker HD and Xenoblade Chronicles X, maybe a new Kirby game if we’re lucky. Anyone expecting a new 3D Mario game is fooling themselves, though, and will assuredly be disappointed. We’re in life support mode, and the aim of the game is dedicating resources to a strong launch lineup.

There is one wildcard left, too, and its name is Hollow Knight: Silksong. Look, it’s become a bit of a meme at this point, but Hollow Knight exploded in popularity following its Switch release. There are even more Switch owners now, and Silksong is highly anticipated among Switch fans more than any other platform. It might not necessarily be the biggest game to hit the platform, but it could just give the Switch one final, banger year. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

Related: Should You Buy A Nintendo Switch In 2024?