Nintendo has insisted for a long time now that the Switch is going to have a longer life than most Nintendo consoles generally do. Earlier this year, the company proudly talked about how the Switch is “redefining what a console life cycle can look like”, while back in May 2020, it insisted that the console was barely halfway through its lifecycle at the time.
As you’d expect for a console that refuses to stop selling – it’s worldwide shipments currently stand at almost 93 million units – Nintendo is sticking with that outlook. In a recent Q&A following Nintendo’s quarterly earnings report, when asked about the company’s plans for a Switch successor, president Shuntaro Furukawa said that there was no information to share at this time, particularly because thanks to the Switch’s strengthening momentum and success (for which the Switch OLED is also partially responsible), it’s clear that the console is currently just at the “mid-point” of its lifecycle, in his words.
“We are not able to comment about the next game system at this time,” Furukawa said. “It is now the fifth year since the launch of Nintendo Switch, and the total hardware sell-through has exceeded 90 million units. We recognize that the system is at the mid-point of its lifecycle. The launch of Nintendo Switch – OLED Model has also been contributing to continued sales momentum and we are now offering consumers three Nintendo Switch models to match their play styles and lifestyles, as well as a wide range of software. With this, we believe a foundation for growth has been laid that exceeds what we previously considered to be a conventional hardware lifecycle.”
Other than the NES, there is no Nintendo console that has been on the market for longer than six years before its successor was released. Having launched in March 2017, the Switch is close to five years old, but if it continues to keep up its momentum in the sales department and keeps on adding to its increasingly impressive software library, it’s highly likely that it’ll end up sticking around for longer than you’d expect from a Nintendo console.
Of course, with the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S now being out, the power gap between the Switch and other consoles has become significantly larger, though it’s possible that Nintendo tries to remedy that to some extent with a mid-generation refresh for the Switch offering more powerful hardware.
Interestingly, however, a recent report claimed that what had started life in production as a more powerful variant of the Switch has now morphed into a full-fledged Switch successor and is now targeting a late 2022/early 2023 launch. You can read more on that through here.