After denying the existence of new Switch hardware for years, Nintendo’s now choosing not to comment at all – implying things have changed.
For the past several years, Nintendo has repeatedly insisted that it has no plans for new Nintendo Switch hardware. While we have seen the Nintendo Switch Lite and OLED model, they’re both just physical remodels with no change to the internal hardware.
The fabled Nintendo Switch Pro was a popular rumour for ages, but Nintendo has repeatedly stated that no such thing existed. Only last year, after the OLED model was announced, it said it had ‘no plans for launching any other model at this time.’
However, during a recent media briefing, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa was asked about when the company might announce a new console. Rather than reiterate that there are no plans for a Switch 2, he instead declined to comment.
The irony of choosing not to comment is that it usually means plans are in motion, that Nintendo is unwilling to talk about. It’s also a way of getting around not imparting secret info without outright lying and saying nothing’s happening (it’s actually illegal to lie to investors).
Considering Nintendo’s usual go-to comment has been to emphatically deny any new Switch hardware, the shift to not commenting at all may mean that the situation has changed, and work is underway on a successor or new model.
Furukawa believes that Nintendo’s hardware sales can be sustained with high-profile releases. This year saw strong sales from Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Kirby And The Forgotten Land, and the likes of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Splatoon 3, and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are expected to follow suit.
However, a report from Bloomberg says that Nintendo only enjoyed a mere 0.6% rise in profit for the most recent quarter and is now expecting to sell 21 million consoles this year as opposed to the initial 21.7 million target.
What’s more, Switch sales have been declining as of late, which Nintendo chalks up to the ongoing global chip shortage, which it believes isn’t going to end any time soon.
You would think said shortage would also make it difficult for any new hardware to be made, but analyst Hideki Yasuda argues that Nintendo needs to release upgraded hardware.
‘The only option for Nintendo to prop up the hardware’s sales momentum is to release upgraded hardware,’ he says.
Indeed, it was only a very small decline in PlayStation 4 sales that convinced Sony to push forward with the PlayStation 5, despite the older console having plenty of life left in it.
Bloomberg’s Nathan Naidu adds ‘Nintendo may be destined for another round of declines in the top and bottom line in fiscal 2023 ending March, particularly as both hardware and software sales are likely to be weaker this year, barring the release of an upgraded, yet unconfirmed new Switch console.’
Nintendo has always marched to the beat of its own drum, so it’s difficult to predict when it will announce a new Switch, let alone release it.
Some fans think one will release alongside the Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild sequel, even attributing that as to why the game was delayed to 2023. As relatively plausible as that may be, at least for a Switch Pro upgrade, there’s zero evidence and, as usual, Nintendo’s plans remain largely a mystery.
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