Given how well the Nintendo Switch is doing even now, more than five years into its life, it’s hard to gauge just how long it’s going to be before Nintendo is ready to reveal its successor (and the company doesn’t seem willing to say anything on that topic just yet). Whenever it happens though, it’ll be interesting to see how Nintendo handles that transition.
In the past, Nintendo hasn’t exactly done the best job of moving on from huge hardware successes to their successors, and the Wii and the Nintendo DS – both gargantuan sellers – both led into significantly lower-selling follow-ups in the Wii U and the 3DS (the former in particular). That, of course, is Nintendo is perfectly aware of, and is hoping to avoid with the Switch’s successor, whenever that launches.
In a recent Q&A with investors (via VGC), Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa remarked that with all of the company’s development pipelines focused on a single platform, Nintendo has a great deal of content planned for the Switch even now, and for some time to come, which should offer more longevity to the system.
“We have already announced a portion of our software roadmap releasing up to next spring,” Furukawa said. “Unlike the past, we continue to have a large variety of games scheduled to be released, even beyond five years of release. This is because the Nintendo Switch has had such a smooth launch, allowing us to focus all of our development resources on a single platform.”
However, according to Furukawa, the company is aware that maintaining a smooth generational transition from the Switch to its successor will require more than just content, and that Nintendo is, as such, “focusing on building long-term relationships” with users with online services and IP expansions outside of games.
“However, the question of whether we will be able to just as smoothly transition from the Nintendo Switch to the next generation of hardware is a major concern for us,” he said. “Based on our experiences with the Wii, Nintendo DS, and other hardware, it is very clear that one of the major obstacles is how to easily transition from one hardware to the next.
“To help alleviate this risk, we’re focusing on building long-term relationships with our customers. While we will continue launching new software on the Nintendo Switch, we will also provide services that also use Nintendo Accounts and other IP outside of gaming software. We intend for this to help build a lasting impact with our customers.”
As for when the Switch successor will launch, that remains to be seen. Earlier this year, Nintendo reiterated yet again that the system was still just at the halfway point at its lifecycle, so it’s likely that it will have a longer lifespan than Nintendo systems generally do.
While leaks have claimed that a Switch successor is in the works and might even launch in 2023, analysts believe that a new Nintendo system probably won’t launch until 2024. Several factors will decide that, of course, and the ongoing global semiconductor shortage – which is a big enough headache for Nintendo as it is – will likely be a big one.