The new Nintendo Direct reveals that, more than ever, the end of Switch is in sight


Is Nintendo Switch too old? Can Nintendo’s blockbuster handheld, now in its sixth year, maintain its momentum amid concerns about power and a potentially barren release schedule in the second half of 2023?

These were some of the questions that were raised for the first Nintendo Direct of 2023, a program that Nintendo usually uses to set the agenda for the rest of the year. Nintendo fans were excited, but also wary. After a year marred by releases with notable technical problems, and with the much-rumored Switch Pro never materializing, Calls for a next-gen Switch have become hard to ignore.

In the end, Nintendo fans didn’t get their Switch 2, not even much new information about The Legend of the Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. However, they could see several important rumors come true, such as the long-awaited arrival of Game Boy and GBA games on Switch. The much-rumored Baten Kaitos collection also made the cut, and Advance Wars finally got a release date. Even Mario Kart 8 got some love with a new character and track.

As a sign of the increasing age of the Nintendo Switch, many of the ads focused more on the past than the future. Retro Studios’ Metroid Prime remaster, rumored since the dawn of the Switch, was one of the biggest headliners at the Direct, even receiving a surprise release following the unveiling. This is a version that has been highly requested by fans over the years, especially since Metroid Prime is so hard to come by nowadays. Will the remaster be enough to fill the gap between now and the release of the next Switch? It will have to be.

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Nintendo fans know it could be a lot worse

Of course, Nintendo fans know that it can always be worse. Much worse. Wii U saw fewer than 20 games for sale in 2016. The GameCube fared little better, but both consoles withered in their later years as third-party developers fled to other platforms and new releases were pushed to successors. of the next generation.

Compared, Nintendo Switch is surprisingly robust, far surpassing PS4 and becoming the third best-selling platform in history. Pokémon Scarlet and Purple, despite all their technical problems, managed to sell some 18 million units last year. With a mix of sequels, standalone releases, and remasters, Nintendo has maintained a steady pace of new releases on the platform. Add to this the occasional major release, and the Switch has managed to remain relevant (even essential) despite being several generations behind in technology.

That feeling has increased with the expectation that the new trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has aroused. Since its brief reveal in 2019, the long-awaited sequel to Breath of the Wild has risen on the horizon as a glittering treasure for Switch owners.. Its predecessor has grown in esteem to the point that many fans consider it the best game in the series, if not the best game ever made. Tears of the Kingdom has come to symbolize the hope and anticipation that have defined much of Switch’s journey, fueling endless speculation surrounding the next Nintendo Direct, the next Smash Bros. reveal, the next remaster, the next sequel…

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Nintendo has been content to let the speculation run a little longer with the latest trailer, offering Zelda fans about two minutes of new footage. It’s not much, but it seems enough to overcome the discontent at its price of 70 euros, especially high on a console as old as Nintendo Switch. It seems unlikely that Tears of the Kingdom will live up to the sky-high expectations fueled by years of waiting, but Nintendo has a habit of matching and exceeding expectations with Zelda.

A cloudy future for Nintendo Switch

However, after Tears of the Kingdom, Nintendo faces many questions. Most of the expected sequels are already out; the well of remasters is almost dry. With so few future titles featured during the Direct, it’s hard to know what the rest of 2023 holds for Nintendo Switch. Even now, there’s a growing consensus among fans and observers that it’s time for Nintendo to ditch Switch.

It won’t be easy for Nintendo. The Switch has easily been Nintendo’s most successful platform in 25 years, surpassing even the Wii’s highs. The company has enjoyed a creative and cultural renaissance that will be difficult (if not impossible) to repeat. A new Switch will raise a lot of anticipation, but it’s hard to imagine another moment like Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Nintendo has fulfilled many rumors and long-cherished dreams with the first Direct of 2023. After today, there won’t be many left. More than ever, the end is in sight.