Nintendo says it’s working to make it easier for Switch owners to transition over to the console’s successor.
During an investors Q&A session this week, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa discussed how the company is approaching the shift to new hardware. “As for the transition from Nintendo Switch to the next generation machine, we want to do as much as possible in order to smoothly transition our customers while utilizing the Nintendo Account,” Furukawa said, as translated by Twitter user @Genki_JPN.
Although he didn’t elaborate, he noted that there are nearly 300 million Nintendo Accounts across console and mobile, so there’s clearly a sizeable audience.
In the past, Nintendo has struggled to create a throughline between its consoles. For instance, the Wii U and 3DS used Nintendo Network IDs, a system that was scrapped with the Switch. That said, those who wanted to buy digital Wii U and 3DS games earlier this year before they became unavailable still had to do an odd workaround to link their Network IDs to their Nintendo Accounts.
The company’s online infrastructure as a whole is also dated in some respects, such as through in-game audio chat that is only available through mobile app or ‘Friend Codes’ in lieu of actual usernames like PSN IDs or Xbox gamertags. It’s unclear whether Nintendo aims to improve any of this with its next console.
In general, we don’t actually know anything about the company’s new hardware. Historically, Nintendo has introduced a new gimmick with each new console, such as motion controls with the Wii, the Gamepad with the Wii U and console-handheld hybrid functionality with the Switch.
However, the Switch has been so popular — the second best-selling console after the PS2, and third best-selling system overall after Nintendo’s own DS — that it seems unlikely that Nintendo would want to deviate from that system’s core hybrid appeal. It’s also unclear how — or even if — the company might tackle backwards compatibility with the Switch, which is something the Xbox Series X/S and PS5 offer with their respective predecessors. The ability to bring your old games to the next generation with you certainly adds to the feeling of a “smooth transition.”
As it stands, though, we simply don’t know what direction Nintendo is taking with its next console. Last month, Furukawa simply confirmed that we won’t get new hardware from the company until April 2024 at the earliest.
For now, the company has been riding high on the massive success of May’s The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, which is already the second best-selling game of the year in the U.S. Looking ahead, the Switch has a comparatively quieter but still steady release calendar that includes July’s Pikmin 4, October’s 2D Super Mario Wonder and November’s Super Mario RPG remake.