Nintendo has a habit of releasing a bunch of iterations of its consoles and handhelds and this has been the case for decades. We tend to see more of these iterations occur in the handhelds, like with the DS or Gameboy Advance lines, but the consoles aren’t totally ignored. The Nintendo Switch, which is arguably both, has already received a new model and there are rumors on the horizon that another might be on its way, even if Nintendo has officially said that it won’t release any more consoles in 2020. What might we want from a Nintendo Switch system in 2021 or beyond, though?
It’s a tricky question and it, in part, depends on what you use the Nintendo Switch for. Part of what makes the system so great is its portability. Through that lens alone, there are a few obvious features that would make the Nintendo Switch function even better as a handheld.
For starters, it is unlikely that anybody would complain over the inclusion of a new, higher resolution screen. Current rumors, ignited by a Bloomberg report, suggest that a Nintendo Switch with 4k support could be on the way. While improvements like that aren’t easy to see on a small screen, and it might not even be possible with the limited functions of an un-docked Nintendo Switch, it would still be nice if the screen could support the 1080p resolution that the console can output to a television.
Were that to happen, though, there could be an increased drain on the system’s power and resources. For that reason, a better battery would be appreciated. In all fairness, this is almost always the case with batteries that more is better, but the Switch is a handheld that could really benefit from this philosophy. It is a great system for hanging out on the patio on a nice night, and that experience is improved by wireless freedom. Don’t make gamers plug their system in more than necessary. Also, improvements to power would stop slowdown that occurs in the handheld mode.
The Nintendo Switch Lite, which is adorable, can last around 3 to 7 hours depending on use. That’s not bad although the system does come with some setbacks. There’s no kickstand for playing multiplayer and it doesn’t support docked mode. It also requires extra controllers to use motion controls. The motion controls, however, require you to still play on the small screen. It would be great if the Switch Lite, which currently serves a lot of purposes, could somehow be enhanced to connect to a television. That way players could engage in fully realized local multiplayer. Alternatively, if Nintendo doesn’t want to bridge the gap in quality between the two versions of the system, they can make cooler looking versions of the normal Nintendo Switch because, let’s face it, the Switch Lite is far more attractive.
Perhaps the biggest improvements to the Switch don’t even require new hardware, though. Sure, a place to plug a headset into a controller in dock mode, or support for Bluetooth headsets would be nice, but real leaps and bounds would be made if Nintendo just fixed the way they handle online gaming. Using their mobile app to talk to players is unwieldy, especially considering voice chat is an issue gaming has already solved. You can even join party chat from mobile or console on the Xbox One. Work arounds that allow you to chat with fellow players often mean sacrificing some game sound to avoid feedback.
Then there’s a demand for cloud saves and easier ways of playing across multiple systems. Basically, Nintendo shouldn’t give up on innovating in all the impressive ways that makes them important, but maybe they should be content with copying some fully functional ideas from their rivals. Oh, and maybe throw Netflix on there for good measure.