If you’ve been paying attention to games long enough, not even in the month-to-month big releases but the day-to-day news mill, you’ve seen stories about the theorized Nintendo Switch 2. This informal moniker has become one of the biggest question marks dangling over 2024.

Days into the new year, and even before the calendar flipped over, headlines with rumors, speculation, and discussion popped up everywhere. Where is the Nintendo Switch 2? What is it? When could it arrive?

It’s really hard not to feel like we’ve been here before. I, myself, have done my fair share of reporting on and speculating about a new Switch. Before it was Switch 2, it was a Switch Pro. We’re closing in on seven years of the Nintendo Switch, and fans are wondering where its successor is.

Frankly, and I know I’m just laying out a rake to step on here, this is the most likely year yet that we’ll see a Switch successor. As you’ll read on down below, all signs are pointing that way, though predicting Nintendo’s next move has always been a tricky target. More than anything, it feels like the collective speculation and curiosity about the next Nintendo console boil over, to the point that the ghost of ’90s cheat cartridges has risen from the grave to add fuel to the fire.

Somehow, GameShark returned

Yes, that GameShark. The cheat machine you bought so you could mess with your Pokémon files is now back as “AI Shark,” an AI-powered help engine. Apparently, rather than cheat tools that manipulate hardware, AI Shark “focuses on aiding individuals in improving their gameplay over time.”

Look, does that sound like a computer that will tell you to just parry? A little bit, yeah. But the revived corpse of GameShark is somehow not the big news. Rather, it’s a note about the AI Shark’s release window, as spotted by Digital Trends: “The official launch is planned to coincide with the Nintendo Switch 2 in September 2024.”

Either Altec Lansing and the AI Shark crew know something and let it slip, or they don’t know for sure and just said that. Both options are equally amusing to me. Typing the sentence “GameShark is back as an AI tool, and it leaked the Switch 2 launch window” gives me a new appreciation for the strange times we live in.

In a follow-up comment to Digital Trends, AI Shark pulled back on the stick. It “backtracked” on the September month, but also confirmed the tentative launch for platform is “Fall 2024,” which it then backtrack on again in a second follow-up, noting “Nintendo has not officially clarified a launch.” We have reached out to Nintendo for further information and clarification.

Whatever spurred the company to put that info in the press release, its own speculation and expectations are out there. It’s fair to ask why they’d do so in the first place. But GameShark is hardly the first. There’s a Rainbow Road of Switch 2 rumors, stretching back for several weeks and months at this point.

Everybody 1-2 Switch

Analysts, speaking to sites like CNBC and GamesIndustry.biz, seem confident in a Switch successor arriving this year. Former Nintendo employees Kit and Krysta also shared their own expectations for a Switch follow-up.

“The time is finally here for a Switch successor, even though I can say a ‘Pro’ model actually did exist and certain developers were already working with the dev kit,” analyst Dr. Serkan Toto told GIbiz, and he went on to speculate that it will price out at $400 and potentially see its games climb to the new-gen $70 price point.

Turn the clock back to July 2023, and VGC was reporting that a Nintendo Switch successor is set to arrive in the second half of 2024. Skip ahead a few months, and you’ll read about rumors that Nintendo demoed a theoretical Switch 2 for developers at Gamescom 2023, from Eurogamer and VGC.

GameShark may have tipped the Jenga tower of Switch 2 fervor, but plenty of blocks were already pulled. Heck, even the broader Nintendo rumor mill is getting wrapped up around the potential of a new console. Known leaker Zippo makes mention of the next Nintendo console in write-ups about a rumored new 3D Mario and a full Xenoblade Chronicles X remake. (God, please, let that one pan out.)

Point being, it feels like everyone is talking about a Switch 2 but Nintendo.

A Switch’s legacy

Honestly, it’s not like Nintendo has really needed to talk about a new console, either. The 1-2 punch of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the COVID-19 pandemic injected Wii Sports levels of life into the Switch back in 2020, and it’s not like the Switch hasn’t delivered bangers every year since. Tears of the Kingdom took home our big GOTY trophy last year—in spirit only, I don’t even know where you commission trophies these days—and the Pikmin fanbase seemed to love the latest entry.

Nintendo’s been riding high on the success of the Nintendo Switch. So even nearly seven years removed from the launch of the console, the hybrid device still feels like a dominant force in the market. I personally ascribe the handheld PC revolution to the success of the Switch, alongside Valve’s willingness to dive headfirst into the unknown. I still see developers get the “when’s the Switch port” question beneath trailers and promotional materials.

So, is this finally the year where Nintendo ditches the Switch? Where it determines the path forward as something new, whether that’s a beefier hybrid or something new entirely? Could the clamshell design rise from the dirt, like GameShark before it?

As Giant Bomb’s Jeff Grubb recently pointed out, Nintendo’s got a habit of hosting Directs in February. And outside of a few games like Princess Peach: Showtime arriving in the first quarter of the year, there aren’t really any big, big titles (kicks Metroid Prime 4 under the fridge like a stray ice cube) on the horizon.

This is a year where, more than ever, it feels like a new Switch is on the horizon. But I also recognize that we, collectively, have been in this boat before. Though I have to say, I really hope it’s real, because “GameShark leaked the Switch 2 launch window” is just too good.

Eric Van Allen

Senior Editor – While Eric’s been writing about games since 2014, he’s been playing them for a lot longer. Usually found grinding RPG battles, digging into an indie gem, or hanging out around the Limsa Aethryte.

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