5 Things Nintendo Switch 2 Needs To Succeed

Nintendo Switch 2 will need several features and tweaks when compared to the original for it to be successful. Here is a list of some things that will prevent the new device from falling flat on its face when it eventually releases.

5 Things Nintendo Switch 2 Needs To Succeed

The Nintendo Switch has been a resoundingly successful console, but one would be hard-pressed to say that there’s no room for improvement. First released in 2017, the Switch is unique among modern consoles with its hybrid functionality that gives gamers the option of either playing in handheld mode or enjoying the big-screen experience by docking the device. As of writing there are 3 different versions: the original Switch, the undockable Switch Lite, and the OLED version.

Talk of a successor to the Switch has been doing the rounds for the last few years, with Nintendo recently confirming that it would not be releasing the Switch 2 until after March 2024. While this is a relatively vague statement, it is confirmation that Nintendo’s next console is on the horizon and could even be in the late testing phase.

Below you will find some of the things that the Switch 2 will need to be a success, ranging from some of the more obvious points to borderline (and blatant) nitpicks against the original Switch. Take a stroll down memory lane below with what was the first look at Nintendo’s then-new hardware back in 2016.

First Look at Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch 2 Needs Backwards Compatibility

Let’s start with the elephant in the room. The Switch 2 would be remiss if it abandoned the massive catalogue that the OG Switch has built, and there are some conflicting rumors and speculation around backwards compatibility features. As of writing we have absolutely no idea what the new hardware will look like, but for the purposes of this article we will assume that the Switch 2 will have a similar form factor to the original and ignore the challenges of including backwards compatibility.

Nintendo has put a lot of effort into creating a system that offers a huge library of games and gives gamers access to a fairly meaty selection of games from its back catalogue through various emulators. For its next system to be a true successor to the Switch, backwards compatibility is a must; there will also have to be a fair amount of cross-generational games.

One of the most prevalent rumors about the next version of the Switch is that it will run at 4k; this is a massive step up from the current 1080p max. Nintendo could adopt a similar strategy as it did with the 3DS by adding a tab to Switch 2 game cards that will prevent them from being inserted into the original Switch, but there is something else the company needs to do to prevent any undue confusion.

It will be disappointing if hits like Mario Kart 8 aren't on the new Nintendo Switch

It will be disappointing if hits like Mario Kart 8 aren’t on the new Nintendo Switch

A Name That Sets Switch 2 Apart

Nintendo’s own Wii U is perhaps the best case study for naming conventions and how they can directly affect sales. The Wii U is regarded as a well-conceived and enjoyable device and boasted several excellent games in spite of a name that confused consumers and led to sales figures that paled in comparison to the original Wii.

The Switch 2 would do well to have a name that clearly sets it apart from the original Switch so that it isn’t confused for some kind of add on for the Switch. Nintendo surely knows better than anyone after the ill-fated Wii U suffered from poor sales that had some gamers worried that the end of Nintendo home consoles was nigh. On the other hand, one could argue that Nintendo used similar naming tactics for the DS family of handheld consoles, but the company did manage to market its handhelds far more effectively than its then-new home console.

With that said it isn’t as if Nintendo hasn’t taken risks before when introducing new consoles; the DS as an example, where Nintendo vaguely spoke of it as a “third pillar” in its lineup alongside the Game Boy Advance and GameCube. We haven’t seen another console carrying the Game Boy name ever since, but Nintendo did soften that blow by including backwards compatibility.

The Game Boy branding has not been seen on a console since the DS launched in 2004

The Game Boy branding has not been seen on a console since the DS launched in 2004

Better Joy-Cons

While the Switch Joy-Cons are fairly decent as far as controllers go, they are infamous for developing input inaccuracies known as Joy-Con drift. When Nintendo unveiled the Switch OLED gamers were disappointed to find out that the updated Switch would release with the same Joy-Cons that are found on the original. It could be that Nintendo elected not to update the Joy-Cons since that could have been viewed as an admission of guilt in the various class action lawsuits that have been leveled against the company in recent years.

There have been some aftermarket solutions to the Joy-Con drift issue, one of the main ones being to install Hall sensor joysticks. It appears that this works with varying degrees of success, as it seems that these aftermarket parts do not respond in quite the same way that the original joysticks do. Hopefully Nintendo has taken note of this and implements a more robust joystick in the Switch 2.

Nintendo’s joystick woes are nothing new; many 3DS owners suffered from broken Circle Pads, particularly after the release of Super Smash Bros 4 for 3DS. It could also be argued that joysticks are prone to wear and tear, and this formed part of Nintedo’s response to the class action lawsuits it faced. The Joy-Cons are otherwise decent controllers, and it’s nice that they are effectively modular and easily replaced by pairing new ones. The Joy-Con situation is bad enough that it is by and large one of the biggest complaints that people have about the Switch. The fact that many gamers struggled with poor Joy-Con connectivity right out the gates doesn’t help the matter.

There are problems with the Joy-Cons that need to be addressed with the new Nintendo Switch

There are problems with the Joy-Cons that need to be addressed with the new Nintendo Switch

Built-In Ethernet Connectivity

While connecting to the internet via Wifi is fine, many gamers prefer the stability of a cabled ethernet connection. This is possible with the Switch by buying a dongle, but it would be nice if the dock had a built-in ethernet port. Nintendo has addressed this with the updated OLED Switch, but for the purposes of this article I am looking at the base model even though it is likely that the improvements made on the OLED will carry over to the eventual successor.

This is a bit of a nitpick, honestly. However, if the Switch is set to get big competitive multiplayer games like Call of Duty, Wifi latency might become an issue for some players. I am not knocking the Switch; I personally love the console, but I am trying to cover all the bases here. Not having an ethernet connector in the dock seems like a slight oversight. Even with games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate latency can be a big issue.

I followed all the rumors and discourse about the Switch right up until it was announced, and one of the main talking points was around the dock itself. In hindsight it is understandable that Nintendo didn’t include extra hardware to boost graphical performance in the dock, and the Switch is (in my opinion) a formidable little machine in its own right even in 2023. 

Nintendo Switch 2 will hopefully have an ethernet port in the dock

Nintendo Switch 2 will hopefully have an ethernet port in the dock

A Better Switch Online Social Ecosystem

Nintendo’s efforts to make the Switch as family friendly as possible has been something of a double-edged sword. The Switch gives you the ability to add friends and join them in game, but things like voice chat and messaging are extremely limited; there is no way to message or party up with friends from the home menu, and voice chat requires players to download an app on their smartphone and communicate through that. A convoluted mess of a system, to be frank.

The logic behind Nintendo’s approach to online communication is a head scratcher to everyone but Nintendo. One could even say that the situation has devolved when comparing the current system to the historical Miiverse. Granted, the Miiverse did have some problems of its own, and it was apparently very difficult for Nintendo to moderate content on the platform, but generally speaking it was a fun and novel online community that allowed players to express themselves.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I would love to see the Miiverse return. It is, after all, still possible to create Miis on the Switch, although the use of Miis has been limited to a handful of games since the console launched. 

The Switch 2 should take some cues from the 3DS when it comes to social features

The Switch 2 should take some cues from the 3DS when it comes to social features

Lest We Forget StreetPass

Another innovative and unique social feature that Nintendo has abandoned is StreetPass. For the uninitiated, this was a feature on the 3DS that enabled gamers to connect with others and even share game data. For example, if you were carrying your 3DS and passed by someone else with a 3DS, you would see their Mii in Mii Plaza. Nintendo built minigames into the 3DS Mii Plaza called Puzzle Swap and StreetPass Quest (Find Mii if you were in North America) that you could use your StreetPass buddies in. Gamers could also purchase several other games for Mii Plaza as DLC content.

As someone who owned a 3DS, I was a little disappointed that Nintendo didn’t include any social features like StreetPass on the Switch. I had also hoped that better social features were in the works, but alas; we are already talking about the next iteration of the Switch and it still doesn’t have anything more than the bare minimum when it comes to social features.

More Entertainment Apps On The Switch eShop

One of the more puzzling omissions on the Switch is the dearth of commonly used apps used for streaming TV and movies. There are a few, but more variety would be almost certainly appreciated by Switch owners so they can use their console as a centerpiece for home entertainment.

Sometimes its nice to take a break from gaming and watch a show.

Sometimes its nice to take a break from gaming and watch a show.

Some of the streaming options currently available on the Switch are Funimation, Crunchyroll, and Youtube. If you are a big anime fan like I am, this is fantastic; but those who want to watch the latest shows on, say, Disney+ or Netflix are either forced to use a different console or the dedicated app on their smart TV where applicable.

The Switch lets you take your entertainment anywhere you go, and it’s nice to have some variety on the Switch; one doesn’t always feel like gaming, sometimes its nice to just kick back and catch up on the latest episode of that series. The lack of apps for  mainstream services may have more to do with said mainstream services than Nintendo itself, but it’s difficult to say for sure.

The Switch Launched 6 Years Ago, Still Has No Themes

When I first bought my Switch around a year after it launched, I was hopeful that it would get some interesting themes; the 3DS had plenty, replete with different UI sounds. It was a nice way to customize the look and feel of the 3DS.

Switch 2 needs to have some additional themes

Switch 2 needs to have some additional themes

The Switch still only has the 2 themes it launched with, either a plain white or plain black. The latter is much easier on the eyes, but it would be nice to have a richer, more customizable experience when navigating the home menu. Nintendo needs to remedy this with the new Switch, regardless of what form it takes.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of what the new Nintendo Switch will be like, Nintendo will probably deliver by releasing a fun and innovative successor to one of the most successful consoles on the market today. There are likely other features that it might need that I have missed, so fee free to weigh in below and share your thoughts on what the Nintendo Switch 2 needs to succeed.

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