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Nintendo Wants to Extend the Switch's Life Cycle As Much As Possible

Nintendo Wants to Extend the Switch's Life Cycle As Much As Possible - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 02 October 2020 / 4,551 Views

The Nintendo Switch launched in March 2017 and is now nearly three and a half years old. However, Nintendo has no plans to replace the hybrid video game console anytime soon. 

Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa speaking recently during a Q&A session with investors said that with their focus all on one platform now, instead of split between a console and a handheld, they can pour all of their resources into it and extend its life cycle.

"Our current console, the Nintendo Switch, is living its fourth year now, but its popularity is still increasing," Furukawa said. "We believe there are two factors behind this. First there’s how we have two hardware with different characteristics, the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite.

"The other reason is the fact we only have the Nintendo Switch as a platform, so we can focus all of our firm’s development resources to make software for it. We want to make the most out of these factors and extend the Nintendo Switch’s life cycle as much as we can."

Nintendo Wants to Extend the Switch's Life Cycle As Much As Possible

Ko Shiota, a senior executive officer at Nintendo, added, "Our consoles are based on how to make fun software for our customers rather than high specs. Nintendo Switch can be played on both TV or on the console’s screen itself, so compared to other consoles, customers get more occasions to play.

"New ways for game machines to interact with the customers’ daily lives have been discovered thanks to the Nintendo Switch. We see that all the time on social media, with customers sharing videos of their families and children all playing together. It made us realize once again the value of our game consoles. We will keep all of this in mind while thinking about how to develop our consoles in the future."

Thanks Famitsu and DualShockers for the translation.


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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29 Comments
PAOerfulone (on 01 July 2020)

The thing about the “Switch will be outdated by 2023” or “Switch will be outdated once the PS5/XSX come out” argument is this: The Switch, technically and graphically, was outdated from the moment it released. PS3/360/Wii U level graphics in 2017? Really? That was one of the bigger reasons why a lot of users on this site thought the Switch would flop when it was first revealed in October 2016. But as we have clearly seen, being graphically and technically outdated ultimately didn’t mean jack-shit. If it wasn’t an issue then, I fail to see how it will suddenly be an issue now. And to those who will say “Once PS5/XSX come out, the Switch won’t get anymore 3rd party support or ports.” It wasn’t getting them to begin with. And even if they were in some cases (FIFA, Skyrim, Crash,) people weren’t buying a Switch for those games anyways. The Switch has sold primarily, almost entirely, on the strength of its core concept as a hybrid, its very strong 1st party support which won’t be going away anytime soon, and 2nd/3rd party support specifically catered to the system (Octopath Traveler, Mario & Rabbids, MUA 3, Astral Chain, DQXI S, Bravely Default 2). Those kind of games aren’t just going to stop because we’ve got two new powerhouses on the way. Because that would make no sense for 3rd party developers trying to take advantage or the unique capabilities and audiences the Switch brings to the table. The type of 3rd party game that will sell well on PlayStation and Xbox is not always going to get the same result on Nintendo, and vice-versa, because the audiences are different, the tastes are different, the demands are different. When the Switch inevitably starts to decline, it’ll get be because its following the natural cycle of Nintendo’s more successful handhelds, which will be a looong while. The original Game Boy got 9 1/2 years (NINE AND A HALF YEARS!!!) before the Game Boy Color was released. And the DS got close to 6 1/2 years before we got the 3DS. I see no reason why the Switch’s cycle should be shorter or longer than that. - 6 1/2 to 9 1/2 years.
Granted I don’t think we’re going until Fall/Winter 2026 (9 1/2 years) before we get a successor, but I also don’t think it’ll be as early as Fall/Winter 2023 (6 1/2 years) before we get one either.

TL:DR; I have every reason to believe the Switch will enjoy a very long life cycle. Linger than most would expect and I think Nintendo is capable if pulling it off. With that said, I don’t think we’re going to see a successor anytime sooner than March 2024.

  • +11
Bofferbrauer2 PAOerfulone (on 01 July 2020)

Nice analysis.

I do think Switch will have about 8 years lifetime before a replacement comes out, so around Fall 2024 or in 2025. In the meanwhile It will have gotten some hardware revisions, comfortably extending it's life until then

  • +3
gord352 PAOerfulone (on 02 July 2020)

Well said. I think the true successor will follow in March 2024 as well. 7 years just feels about right and it's the ideal amount of time for them to get all the major titles out - there's still some without dates (ie. MP4, Bayo 3) and many more that are unannounced yet.

I like the idea of Nintendo continuing their mid-generation console releases. It shows that they're not directly competing with Sony and Microsoft and are just focused on doing their unique thing.

  • +1
super_etecoon (on 01 July 2020)

I see many comments across the gaming space about the Switch becoming outdated. What's funny about this, is that the Switch is kind of timeless. It has the ability to render modern graphics, though it generally caters to an audience that cares more about gameplay than ray tracing. It has a unique controller concept and even includes the motion fad from yesterdecade, but also features one of the best standard controllers in the Switch Pro controller. It needs not do anything but continue to provide robust and innovative gaming experiences to remain relevant. At this point, I'm not sure an update need ever be introduced as long as there are developers that continue to push the system with amazing games and iterations of past IPs. I say don't retire this beast until every last IP in Nintendo's catalogue gets an update, and those that launched early get sequels. The shelf life on fun is infinite and with an install base that will soon be in the 9 figures, there's plenty of customers to ensure that even the most niche titles will get some of that good money loving. Nintendo has never been in this position before in all their history, and as much of their revenue comes from publishing they sit at a bit of a different vantage point than Sony or Mcrosoft. All that releasing another system would do for them is to lower their current install base and require them to play the "modern" game of diminishing graphical returns. Certainly I can see iterations of the Switch being released, but a Switch 2 isn't necessary now and it won't be once the other guys start their install bases over again either.

  • +7
Mnementh (on 01 July 2020)

Well, as long as the machine sells and the games sell, sure they should ride that as long as it goes.

  • +6
SanAndreasX Mnementh (on 02 July 2020)

Yes, but hopefully they are also making plans for a successor that can be released in a timely manner. I love my Switch, but at some point it will need a refresh.

  • 0
noemie75 (on 01 July 2020)

I think the more they wait the better. Xbox series and PS5 don't (or do not seem to) have something similar to DLSS and their ray tracing capabilities seems poor compared to nvidia solution. If DLSS and ray tracing from Nvidia continue improving, Nintendo may be able to release a mobile hardware not far from PS5 and series X in 2024/2025. We will know more when Ampere and next gen console release at the end of the year.

  • +2
noemie75 noemie75 (on 01 July 2020)

Not far computational wise I mean

  • 0
hush404 (on 01 July 2020)

It's kind of early in the system's life cycle to think about replacing it. That said, I would say this is THE time for Switch right now. Once the new systems come out, ports are going to start drying up (some good ps4/xb1 ports exist, others struggled, but porting from the likes of PS5/XSX is going to be a much harder task). It'll continue selling, continue succeeding, but I feel you're going to see things start slowing down a bit.

  • +2
Shiken hush404 (on 01 July 2020)

Nintendo is the only of the big 3 that can sustain themselves on their IP alone with all their dormant IPs. All they really need to do is outsource their IPs that they won't work on to 3rd parties for more exclusive games and that would be enough to counter any lost multiplats (which is light anyway). Japanese support will mainly remain active throughout the Switch's entire life however. Throw in a ton of gen 8 ports that can still come over, and I can still see a lot of life left in it.

3rd party support does not have to be multiplats, and we know that Nintendo has been more willing to work with 3rd parties for exclusive games, as seen with Astral Chain, Mario Plus Rabbids, Triforce Heros, the capcom Zelda games, Hyrule Warriors, and Fire Emblem Warriors. If they play their cards right, the decked is already stacked for further success.

  • +9
hush404 hush404 (on 02 July 2020)

@Shiken - No hate on the big N :) I don't think they're in any kind of situation where they're in trouble, I just feel that you'll see a change in their sell through with the shift and because of that, the huge variety of titles they're seeing now will change, which leads to a system that did get nearly every multi-plat release suddenly miss bigger releases. They certainly do have lots of IPs and will likely enjoy 8th gen ports to the system, but I too look at both the Wii and WiiU as systems that, once the competition moved to newer hardware, regardless of install base (Wii at least), the ports dropped off (due to the underpowered hardware in comparison and the extra work to port down) and the system started its progression into a release trickle as Nintendo prepped what was to succeed it. This will be something that takes a number of years, but as I said above, it'll likely start soon after the hardware shift of the other guys... thus, right now is the perfect time for the Switch. Again, not spelling out their doom, they're still going to stack millions on millions of system sales on top of what they've built now, just that I feel we'll see a shift that will prove that the current frame is the Switch at its most enticing (at least in terms of the above mentioned offering of titles).

  • 0
Chazore (on 01 July 2020)

I'd like for them to catch up a bit sooner, like 2023 for a Switch 2, but not 2025 or later.

  • +2
Ryng (on 01 July 2020)

I'd love to have Switch 2 in 2025, bit that seem very far away. :-/
Holiday 2024 would already be fine

  • +2
Kristof81 (on 02 July 2020)

I wonder of Nintendo will take a traditional approach and release Switch 2, like they normally do with their successful systems (NES-SNES, GB-GBA, DS-3DS, Wii-WiiU) or will they do incremental updates and slowly phase out older models, like mobile phones companies do? If they release updated Switch based on Xavier, or better Orin, I would buy it in a heartbeat.

  • +1
VAMatt (on 02 July 2020)

Of course they want to ride it as far as it will go. But, if they're gonna do that, they need to start hitting some of their core franchises for more entries. The most obvious are cart and 2D Mario.

I haven't purchased a switch game since Mario Maker 2. I buy Nintendo systems for Kart, 2D and 3D Mario, Zelda, and an occasional platformer from other IPs. I think these are the same franchises that drive half or more of the hardware demand. And, there just haven't been enough entries in these franchises lately.

  • +1
shikamaru317 (on 01 July 2020)

I personally think they should aim for maybe Spring 2023. Microsoft releasing a weaker next-gen console in the form of Lockhart gives them a rare opportunity. Switch has largely struggled to get 3rd party support, especially from western developers, because the specs are so much lower than PS4/XB1 that it makes porting to Switch an expensive process. However, because Lockhart seems to be about 4 tflop, Nintendo should be able to manage something like 3 tflop docked by Spring 2023, close enough to Lockhart's specs that they should have a much easier time getting 3rd party ports on a potential Switch 2 than they have been having getting them on Switch. However, they have to act fast if they want to take full advantage of that, if they wait too long to release Switch 2, PS6 and Xbox Series 2 will be out maybe 2 years after they release Switch 2, once again moving the bar further ahead of Switch and killing 3rd party support again.

  • +1
padib shikamaru317 (on 02 July 2020)

Honestly, I think relying on 3rd party ports in an important way often hurts Nintendo. Right now they are getting some nice hand-picked ports like Witcher III and Skyrim, they should just continue like that since their console is selling very well as it is.

  • 0
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DonFerrari (on 02 July 2020)

As do the other two console manufacturers, the market is the one who decide when it is going to be discontinued by sales curve.

  • 0
VAMatt (on 02 July 2020)

I'm certainly going to keep my switch for as long as it goes. But, if they want to sell software to people like me, they're going to need to hit their core franchises more often. It doesn't do them any good for me to own your system if I'm not buying any software.

  • 0
FormerlyTeamSilent13 (on 01 July 2020)

Only makes sense if 2021 has a switch pro release.

  • 0
Otter (on 01 July 2020)

"First there’s how we have two hardware with different characteristics, the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite."

They will surely add a third (Switch TV) and I think the 4th should be a cross generational device, so they never start a generation from scratch and are always releasing software across an established audience.

  • 0
S.Peelman (on 01 July 2020)

200 million confirmed.

  • 0
Moonhero (on 01 July 2020)

Mario Kart 9 would do it.
Also, a TV only "pro" version with a sizeable hard-drive would help.

  • 0
Jranation Moonhero (on 01 July 2020)

Saving MK9 at launch for Switch 2 will be a better idea.

  • +3
160rmf Moonhero (on 01 July 2020)

If they want to keep Switch life longer as possible, holding a brand new Mario Kart would be stupid. Plus it has been 6 years since the last MK, releasing MK9 this or next will give them plenty time to develop MK10 for switch's successor if they stick to the plan to keep Switch longer

  • +2
160rmf Moonhero (on 01 July 2020)

*this year or next

  • +3
Pemalite Moonhero (on 01 July 2020)

Or they could do a Mario Kart 10 for a Switch 2.

Switch TV needs to happen. And should happen.

  • 0
siebensus4 (on 01 July 2020)

Well, we'll see. If 2020 should be Switch's peak year, a successor is very likely in 2023. More than 6 years would be very unlikely for a Nintendo console, though handhelds had a larger lifespan. But from a technical point of view, Switch should be very outdated in 2023.

  • -1