The Nintendo Switch isn't dead quite yet. Nintendo has a solid-looking slate of games lined up for its console stretching well into 2024, including Super Mario Bros. Wonder (which I absolutely cannot wait for), Detective Pikachu Returns and maybe, possibly Metroid Prime 4. But there's no denying that the 6.5-year-old console is getting long in the tooth, so Nintendo is gearing up for what's next. To that end, the company reportedly showed developers tech demos for its next-gen system behind closed doors at Gamescom last month.
One of the Switch 2 demos was a beefed-up version of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. That's according to Eurogamer, which points out that this was a tech demo and there's no guarantee of a remastered or upgraded version of BOTW coming to the Switch 2, so don't get your hopes up. That said, the demo was said to show BOTW running at a higher frame rate and resolution than the original Switch can handle.
Perhaps more intriguingly, VGC reports that Nintendo also showed The Matrix Awakens running on the dev kit. The captivating tech demo was originally designed to show off what Unreal Engine 5 can do on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, but Nintendo managed to get it working on an early version of its next system too. What's more, the Switch 2 demo was said to feature NVIDIA’s DLSS upscaling tech, ray-tracing and visuals comparable to those seen on the PS5 and Series X.
It's unlikely that the Switch 2 will compete with the Sony and Microsoft systems in terms of pure horsepower. It definitely won't if Nintendo retains the hybrid handheld format of the Switch, unless the company is content with a battery life of about 20 minutes. DLSS support is key, as that could help Nintendo run games at higher frame rates and resolution without having to jam more powerful components or an oversized battery into the Switch 2.
Nintendo is expected to release the Switch 2 (or whatever the console will actually be called) in 2024. It will be doing so in a far different gaming landscape than the groundbreaking Switch ventured into due to the likes of the Steam Deck and more advanced mobile gaming experiences. We're seeing a new handheld PC gaming system show up almost every week at this point. Thanks to emulation (and poor piracy protections on the original Switch), it's not exactly difficult to run Nintendo games better than the company's current console can handle, even while you're on the go.
Nintendo might have its work cut out to convince gamers that both an upgrade from the original Switch is worthwhile and that the Switch 2 is a better option for them than a handheld gaming PC. Still, more advanced hardware, the company's stellar track record of exclusive games and quality-of-life features like an easy way to transition to the Switch 2 could make the next-gen system enticing enough for those who might have been on the fence about snagging the upcoming console.