With whispers about a new 'Nintendo Switch 2' console running rampant in the gaming community, here's everything we know about the next console so far.
The Nintendo Switch was released in March 2017, following months of leaks and rumors as to what it would look like and how it would perform.
It allows players to move between both a stationary console and a handheld, showing Nintendo were aiming to give players two different types of gaming experience. This is very different to the 'entertainment system' approach from Microsoft and Sony with the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4.
The Nintendo Switch has now sold 34.74 million units overtaking the iconic N64 console. In short, it has proven very profitable for the premium handheld console suppliers.
But, in what direction will Nintendo take us with their next console? Here's what we know so far...
The biggest piece of information we have so far about a potential Nintendo Switch 2 console is based on hints towards new technology.
Nintendo pushed a 5.0 firmware update to its current Switch console, which was found to make reference to technology that is not included in their gaming systems at the moment. Switchbrew Hackers found reference to a new Tegra 214 chip, which will be an improvement on the Nintendo Switch's T210 chipset. There was also a mention of upgraded RAM in their post, which could be rising from 4GB to 8GB in a future console, as well as an upgraded Print Circuit Board.
Rumors had also been circulating that Nintendo would consider cutting the price of the Switch in 2019 in an effort to boost sales. There was also talk of a new version of the original Switch, which would be focused on the handheld aspect of the console entirely. However, Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa has debunked both of those claims, stating that the Nintendo Switch is their primary focus, and were not considering a revision or a price cut at the moment.
It doesn't seem a completely alien concept that there could be multiple versions of different consoles coming with the next-generation. Microsoft is reportedly working on two versions of their next Xbox - aimed at different audiences.
It also appears as if Nintendo could be doing similar too. A report from the Wall Street Journal noted that "people familiar with the matter" have stated that Nintendo will release two versions of the next Switch console - one for the more dedicated gamer, and for one the more casual players.
Back in October, The Wall Street Journal also reported that, according to "suppliers and others with direct knowledge of the plan", a new console is likely to include several performance updates, upgraded LCD display and new software functionality.
It's sometimes difficult to predict when a new console is going to be released, especially something like the Nintendo Switch 2, but we do have some key pieces of information which could help us work out a potential timeline.
The Wall Street Journal article from earlier also states that we could see a new console from Nintendo during 2019, however, during an interview with GamingBolt, industry analyst for Wedbush Securities Michael Pachter suggested that we shouldn't expect a brand new Switch console to arrive this year, but more of a Switch lite.
"Nintendo may position it as a reinvented Switch. My guess is that Nintendo will take the Switch and get rid of the “Switch” part, so it’ll be handheld only" he said, after being questioned on console sales.
"They’ll probably just make the joycons part of the integrated body of the tablet and probably drop the price. Get rid of the docking station, and the external power supply- just turn the thing into a handheld that’s rechargeable with a power cord, you know, like a normal handheld, and charge $200 for it.”
Despite the denials from prominent Nintendo figures, rumors continue to be pushed that we will in fact see an upgraded Switch in 2019. Specifically, the upgrade would improve the screen, battery life and move away from the docked element of the Switch. It would make it a true handheld console and although there are contrasting reports about the potential price, make it cheaper also.
The Nintendo Wii U was released in 2012 and there was a five year wait until the Japanese game developer decided to bring out the Switch. So, judging by that, you might be inclined to believe that we could be waiting a pretty long time for the next one.
Other rumors even suggest that a Nintendo Switch lite could release in the fall or even as early as June.
Interestingly, in a recent call with investors, Nintendo's President Shuntaro Furukawa said they have no plans to announce anything hardware related at E3 2019. Nintendo's dedicated E3 site makes no mention of new hardware either. Whether this is true or not, or if plans have changed, will be revealed at the annual gaming exhibition.
If you look back at the five-year lifespan for the Wii U, it's possible that Nintendo could potentially replicate that and look towards 2022 as a general release date for the Switch 2, with a Switch lite console being released sometime in between.
That sometime in between could potentially come in 2019. While the murmurings of a E3 2019 annoucement have been categorically shot down, the gaming industry is a dynamic one which could leak to a change of plans.
While there will be a lot of rumors to keep up with in the meantime, what we have to work with right now is purely speculation. However, if the announcement of a new console does come sometime in 2019, there's a chance that prototypes of any Switch 2 console could spring up later this year - like Microsoft did when they first showed us the Xbox One X at E3 2017.
It remains to be seen just what Nintendo will do before they decide to re-enter the handheld console with a second version of their Switch.
Last updated 07:57 ET, May 23, 2019.