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What will Switch 2's gimmick be? [roundtable]
Feel free to include multiple guesses. Exaggerated parody guesses will also be allowed, but only if they're genuinely funny!

It would be insane to not attempt to carry the Switch's white-hot momentum forward into the next generation. So I do think that Nintendo will release another hybrid console. I think it'll be backwards-compatible, even if that requires a second/hybrid cartridge slot. DLSS upscaling, more memory and power, better online service, yadda yadda... That's the boring stuff. But it would be totally un-Nintendo to release a purely iterative console with the same exact input devices. You just know they're gonna get a little funky and throw some spanners into the works. And Miyamoto is never shy about implying that Nintendo is always looking to build a better mousetrap (controller).

So what gimmick will(s) form the unique selling point for Switch 2?

I have a few guesses:

1) From Dock to Dongle - I think Switch 2 could include an encoding/transmitting chip like the Wii U's. Instead of a dock, you would plug a decoder dongle into your TV's HDMI port. Same Switch functionality, more convenience, less gaming gear in your living room. But that's not all! We know that Nintendo loves to mimic the functionality of previous systems. The extra power of Switch 2 could allow for simultaneous dual-screen output, enabling Wii U features such as asymmetrical play, handy inventories and maps, etc., in addition to DS/3DS emulation! Ran out of Wii U games to port to Switch, you say? Why, help yourselves to some NintendoLand, Star Fox Zero, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, Xenoblade X, Mario Party 10, Wii Party U, Game & Wario, Yoshi's Woolly World, Paper Mario Color Splash, Zombi U, etc. While you're here, please allow us to bring key additional functionality back to Mario Maker, Splatoon, and Zelda!

In short, Switch 2... could be Switch U. But now developers need to allow players to switch seamlessly between Handheld, Dongled, and two-screen Dongled.

2) VR support - And VR mode. I'm no VR evangelist, trust me. But the very same elements which would make Switch 2 a great handheld (nice, hi-res screen, fast VRR display, robust graphical capabilities) would allow for pretty cheap, pretty good VR integration. Think Oculus Quest, but with more Nintendo support and less Zuckerberg. Like the dual-screen thing, this just opens up the methods of interacting with the system. What if Switch 2 supported both features? Imagine fuckin' VR NintendoLand! Especially with some snazzy new...

3) Controllers - How much can they add, really? They could make them more comfortable, include hall effect sticks... But those are just iterative. I think they might include Sakurai's scrollable trigger buttons. Here's his case for them:

I mean, who are we to argue with Sakurai?

It might also be cool to make the entire skin of the controller into a touch membrane. It would allow a generational leap in cow-milking mini-games. And No More Heroes 4! Seriously, I think that it could make controls/UI more intuitive. I'm just not sure how yet...

4) Camera/Mic on system - Again, Switch U. Also, I think a camera was part of some Switch 2 rumor. This would also allow weird, moderately satisfying AR games like Face Raiders, 3DS mini golf, and that dumb DSi WarioWare game. Having a little Toad assistant on your Switch that you can talk to would be cool, too. "Toad, what are my friends playing?" "Toad, play Spelunky 3."

Anyway, I'm tired of typing. What do you guys think the Switch 2's gimmick will be?

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01/16/24, 05:18    Edited: 01/16/24, 05:42
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Sorry to burst your bubble, but it's not "totally un-Nintendo to release a purely iterative console" and believe me this will probably be the most iterative console ever. For fear repeating the WiiU they will play it safe.

1) will not happen, it would be too tasking on the hardware especially the battery life to do that for the switch. Remember the WiiU was receiving the signal to the gamepad, not sending it.

2) possible but the same way switch did it, not a huge focus or push to use this feature.

3) let's add digital/adaptive triggers first, that depth control on triggers was a great touch on GameCube

4) meh, probably would never use that. For AR it would require at least 2 camera, or some sensor array like on phones for an improved experience over 3ds. I'll probably remain 99% usage docked.
01/16/24, 12:00   
OK, to reply with some sincerity in thinking of what the gimmick of the console will be. I believe as i said there will be no hardware gimmick, its too risky right now that would affect the overall momentumn of the company, putting other projects at risk of performance objectives that in turn have a knock on affect to other tie-in products. Nintendo is in a period of IP leverage, creating movies and theme parks, so to take moves that would result in a poor uptake of their consoles would severly limit the appeal for games to tie in to the movies/theme park attractions as well as other merchandising. You can see how this would knock on and on and on...

So I would think Nintendo would attempt to develop a piece of software that would help users utalise the Super Switch in new ways, I am not nearly imaginative or wacky enough to think of what this could be tbh. But they may even test bed several unique ways to drive interaction with fans through their hardware and IP. No doubt that if this is outside the realms of "gaming" it would be quickly identified as a gimmick by the hardcore gamer bros but also bringing widespread appeal to the non-traditional gamer.
01/16/24, 18:35   
More of me just unloading my mind rather than adding to the conversation...

It would be goofy to set up and use, but if you could use keyboard and mouse on Nintendo consoles I imagine it would make a lot of the online games a lot more intense. Playing Duck Game on PC I eventually switched from controller to keyboard and after getting used to it I noticed some immediate and significant improvement. Being able to use all 10 fingers instead of 4 gives you a pretty sharp edge. I imagine Smash would end up even more of a hardcore game for serious players if they could use keyboard.

Needless to say the precision of the mouse would upend Splatoon and other shooters.

I can see the obvious problem with this, that people with thousands of hours of experience with pc shooters/2D fighters would come in and troll the casual Nintendo player. Like I said, ("Implied" more like.) a random thought.
01/17/24, 01:10   
@Stan McStanly
That's a potential feature of the touch membrane controller: mouse look! Also, multidimensional swiping! Imagine Infinity Blade-esque knife usage in Resident Evil. Marble Madness and Centipede! And a potential Dragon Quest Sword port. To say nothing of the intuitive menu navigation!

I always wished that Nintendo would do more with the modularity of the Joy Con. There was a Fishing Con, but no Trackball Con, no Paddle Con... no Gundam Con.

Actually, that could be a cool inclusion: Paddle Con and Trackball Con in the Box! The benefits to Arcade Archives games alone would be immeasurable! Wario Ware Paddled! With Wario being spanked on the cover. (My touch membrane controllers could also mimic paddle functionality. You just can't stop these things!)

I don't think that Nintendo will make changes to the hardware that subtract Switch features, but I think that additive features are definitely on the table. Including extra functionality in the box or with a cheap (VR) peripheral would really open up the types of gameplay available to devs. I mean, it would mostly be Nintendo utilizing them, but still...

Also, I don't even necessarily WANT Nintendo to mess around with hardware every generation, but they pretty much always do. Miyamoto often talks about not releasing new hardware until it can realize new types of gameplay. And he's still striving to make the input devices more intuitive.
01/17/24, 03:34   
Edited: 01/17/24, 03:41
I agree, I doubt anything will be subtracted from switch capabilities. especially for backwards compatibility. I believe the extra functionality will honestly be just the camera thats rumoured to be in the hardware. Whether that be a singular camera, enhanced sensor array like smartphones or dual cameras for AR gameplay via a VR headset etc

With Tatsumi Kimishima having been the CEO at what would have been predevelopment of hardware, I believe with his background he would have told Miyamoto to "wind his neck in" and not go mental with gimmicks. They were just off the back of a huge financial shock from WiiU and needed to ensure a steady P&L off the back of what was apparent at his exit a success in the Switch.
01/17/24, 15:59   
I dunno if an interim guy like Kimishima would have had that much influence over future direction. But the shoot-for-the-stars mentality really does seem in Nintendo's DNA. Not because they're especially noble, but because they truly believe that: 1) The audience will get fatigued with the same ol' same ol'; and 2) The audience can be expanded. And they've tasted enough success in that expansion to continue to strive for it.

However, they often allow for one 'conservative' console after each revolutionary one, even if they still mess around with the controllers.

The Wii U actually hit a nice medium-ground between evolution and revolution. Was it a failure of concept? Or marketing?

Anyway, Nintendo sure does like encompassing as much of their previous system functionality as possible with each new release, moving ever closer to the Nintendo Singularity, their (and humanity's) final console.

Which allows them to leverage their treasure trove of a back catalog.
01/17/24, 18:30   
Don't underestimate Kimishima's sphere of influence and/or control. He was there for nearly 3 years, the CEO of my company came out of retirement to take up the position and has driven the company from an average shareprice of 4.30 per share to around 9.50 per share in these years and has just retired again handing over the reigns to a new technology focused CEO, after approximately the same time at the helm. There was a refocus on a lot of things at the company, back before then the company was described to have been under "special measures".
So I would say that Kimishima himself would have been highly influential in the direction that Nintendo would take to plan the successor to what the Switch was, an apparent market success. As much as the audience can be expanded, the wrong decision and the audience can collapse.

As for WiiU i believe it was not just 1 angle of failure, but most importantly out of all it was concept. But, if the device connected with the consumer, marketing would help assist that. Failure to capture the mindshare and intrigue can never be overcome by marketing.

The Nintendo singularity has its footprints lain out in front of us now, we see small glimpses of how Nintendo will handle this. Nintendo Account, NSO apps, NSO account app and even website integration. I see this being expanded too as recently Nintendo was in a process of integration biometric authentication for logging into their platforms and I can see this being adopted into the theme parks and beyond for account utalisation.
01/17/24, 18:53   
Pretty much everyone I've played NintendoLand with has loved it, though. And the Switch is kind of the completed version of Off TV play. I honestly don't think most people even knew what the hell the Wii U was. And it became really fashionable to dunk on it, even when its first-party games were miles ahead of the competition's.

Anyway, when Nintendo makes us implant their subcutaneous chip into our arm, it should at least have a few cool mini-games.
01/18/24, 00:22   
Edited: 01/18/24, 00:23
An additional thought I have had thats not a gimmick but would definitely be an improvement for the Super Switch that I believe Nintendo should be working on is an improved cooling system.

If you look at the current switch, ontop of the Tegra SoC is literally a club sandwich of metal and thermal paste. In the image below you see the heatpipe thats on a frame, below that is thermal paste, then its the SoC shield, below that is more paste and then its the Tegra chip. From watching many youtube tech channels, this is highly inefficient. We would hope that they may come up with a direct to die thermal transfer system.

With a more efficient system for heat transfer, and my earlier hope of a more effective cooling solution Nintendo should be able to more accurately hone in on performance to thermal throttling issues. This could be seen in higher clocks in handheld mode and being less held back in docked mode. Plus they would have a wealth of data out there for improved thermal solutions in the prevelancy of high performance mobile devices available today. After all, I would think that thermal solutions would be one of he last area's for planning as they set their limits on the console, how many times have we heard developers being told "target specs" a year or more before release to have that reigned back closer to release.
01/18/24, 13:31   
Edited: 01/18/24, 13:42
Heat transfer is life. The chip should be a lot thinner this time, so that should help. The new architecture might be more efficient, too. And more multi-threaded? That stuff will be beneficial for battery life, too. But maybe DLSS will negate some of those advantages. So maybe that will only kick in when docked?
01/18/24, 14:45   
Edited: 01/18/24, 14:45
Personally I see DLSS being a big winner for handheld mode, allowing a more stable frame resolution than the current dynamic scaling, but I did hear it's lesser effective at lower resolutions. So maybe then if they say handheld will be fixed at 20fps and use dlss frame gen to up that to 30+ allowing Devs to target that with low power mode at a fixed resolution? Maybe I've just talked myself out of that but that's why Nintendo hire people much smarter than myself to figure this all out 🤣

Yeah a smaller fab process 6/7nm (switch was 20nm, but everyone seems to be leaving 12nm processes behind these days) will help with lower heat output but as far as I can make out they're more susceptible to wilder swings up to throttling the SoC, so a more robust cooling solution will alleviate that! Maybe a vapour chamber design and dual fans? Or even a thicker fan if they go for a slightly thicker frame!
01/18/24, 17:25   
Who knows, perhaps they'll finally embrace the memes and give it an actual toaster function.
01/19/24, 19:18   
@Mop it up Bread sized game cartridges with the cartridge slot doubling as a toaster slot. (Wait NES had bread sized cartridges/slot, why aren't NES toasters a thing??) [Edit, I guess there are but it's a toaster turned into an NES and not the other way around]
01/19/24, 21:36   
Edited: 01/19/24, 21:39
Yeah, I think the Nvidia chip in Switch 2 is better suited to upscaling than frame generation.

@Mop it up@Stan McStanly
Nintendo wouldn't want to seem like they were copying Microsoft.

01/19/24, 22:41   
Edited: 01/19/24, 22:41
@Anand I was expecting you to mention this instead! But the issue is, that's a separate device, it isn't an actual functioning Xbox. Like how Nintendo unified console and handheld, so, too, can they finally unify toaster and game system.
01/19/24, 23:57   
@Mop it up
Goddammit, I thought that actually existed! But my first Google result was the fridge, so I thought that I was misremembering.

Anyway, this weird-ass fusion also comes pretty close. Talk about heat transfer!
01/20/24, 01:03   
Edited: 01/20/24, 01:04
@Anand Come to think of it, the overheating problems with the PS1 mean you could prop it up on two books and slide the bread underneath! But then only one side would get toasted, so only eat bagels or get another PS to put on the bottom!
01/20/24, 17:04   
@Stan McStanly
That's a common Toaster issue. You gotta flip that bread if you really want consistency.

I do like your dual PS1 idea, though...
01/20/24, 18:45   
@Stan McStanly
PS1 toasted cream cheese bagel
01/22/24, 12:03   
@weeman_com Great minds think alike.

Now, *drumroll* picture a combo PS3 and this kind of grill.
01/22/24, 20:52   
Edited: 01/22/24, 20:53
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