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Is a Nintendo Switch Worth Buying Right Now?

It’s been nearly seven years since the original Nintendo Switch came out. In that time, the company has sold a staggering 132 million-plus units and has become the portable home of dozens of exclusive and indie games. But we’ve also been waiting a long time for Nintendo to announce its next console, and a new one is surely around the corner. But if you’re considering jumping into Nintendo's world, is a Switch worth it right now? Or does it make sense to wait?

Here's the short answer: If having the latest games or hardware matters to you, the Switch will still be the latest console for a while longer. Since the original NES, Nintendo has never taken longer than six years to release a new console, but we're living through extraordinary times. The global disruption of the pandemic in 2020 set back … everything. It's unlikely the Switch's successor will arrive in 2024.

Even if Nintendo announced a new console this year, I'd still argue that waiting isn’t necessary. The Switch has a robust library of games, and they’ll continue to work on the console. It’s not like a new Switch coming out makes Tears of the Kingdom any less fun. If you want a handheld gaming console to play fun games on, the Switch remains one of the best, especially with the OLED refresh in 2021. That said, let’s go through the long answer.

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Rumors Are Unreliable

Nintendo hasn’t officially announced anything about the Switch’s successor. There are rumors out there, but they are notoriously unreliable. For example, if you were reading about the Wii U’s successor in 2016, you might’ve heard that it would “include both a console and at least one mobile unit,” or even an oval-shaped controller that’s also a screen. That didn’t happen.

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With that in mind, there are a few nuggets that might be certain. The next console is likely to remain a hybrid home and portable console—reporting from VGC indicates this is the case, and it’s a natural progression given Nintendo’s recent trajectory. After the company has sold more than 132 million portable consoles, it’s unlikely to revert to a system that can’t leave your TV’s side.

Other reports suggest the next console might have a slightly larger screen, use an LCD panel (as opposed to OLED, found on the more recent Switch refresh), and presumably have more powerful processors. But specs are specs. They can tell you only so much about how a console works or feels in person.

We don’t know whether the new console will be backward compatible with old games. Nintendo has only occasionally supported the previous generation of games on its newer consoles. Until we know for sure, it’s hard to say whether it’s worth waiting for the new console. If it can’t play most of the games available on the Switch, then it’s not a question of whether to wait, but which games you want to play. Since the Switch already takes the cake for the longest gap between prior Nintendo consoles, it's a safe bet that developer kits are already in developers’ hands to prepare games for the new console.

2025 Might Be the Year

It's unlikely the next Nintendo console will arrive in 2024. Multiple outlets, including VGC, Eurogamer, and Bloomberg, have reported that Nintendo has delayed the Switch’s successor to the first quarter of 2025. Additional reporting by Japanese outlet Nikkei (via VGC) further corroborated this information, citing that the delay is intended to shore up supply to reduce scalping and device shortages.

We might still find out more about the Switch's successor in the coming months. Previous reports suggested that Nintendo was originally aiming for a holiday 2024 release. The original Switch was announced in October 2016 and released in March 2017, about five months apart. If Nintendo plans to launch its next console in the first quarter of 2025, we may get an official announcement this fall.

Nintendo tends to use less powerful, more outdated hardware compared to Xbox and PlayStation consoles—though it pulls off some incredible feats with it—so it's natural to be eager for the next model when the current one is looking so long in the tooth. Nevertheless, the Switch will be Nintendo's primary console at least for another year. And even after that, it's still a great console that will be able to play some truly excellent games for a long time.

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