Nintendo Switch 2 might ditch backward compatibility

The Nintendo Switch 2 will reportedly drop Nvidia’s Tegra X1 GPU for a more powerful chip, resulting in incomplete backward compatibility.

The current generation of the Nintendo Switch console is still posting excellent sales numbers and showing little signs of slowing down despite its obviously aging hardware. The smart move for the Japanese multinational video game company is to look forward to its next hardware release, which should be the rumored Nintendo Switch 2. Unfortunately, not only is the next Nintendo console not coming soon, it's probably not going to have backwards compatibility.

How many titles can Nintendo carry into the future?

Recently, we've received a lot of new and unverified information from multiple sources regarding Nintendo’s next console. Most of them point to the same conclusion, which could be a problem for those expecting to continue clearing through their Switch backlog.

This particular rumor first originated from a leaked UK government report, then it was amplified by a somewhat questionable post spotted on 4Chan. Now in a recent video YouTuber ModernVintageGamer(VGC) details how titles for the current Nintendo Switch console might be incompatible with the new and improved chips that Nintendo is planning to use for its beefed-up Switch console.

Something is brewing over at Nintendo

The root of this issue stems from the fact that the current Nintendo Switch (and its variations in the Nintendo Switch Lite and Nintendo Switch OLED) are powered by Nvidia’s Tegra X1 GPU. Considering the chipset was originally designed for the Nvidia Shield, a device older than the Nintendo Switch which just celebrated its sixth birthday, it's only natural to move away from it as Nintendo sets its sights on the raw computing power posted by the latest hardware for 2023 like the PS5 and Xbox Series X.

In turn, moving away from this chip forces Nintendo’s hand in a few ways. It either has to recompile its entire library of games to target that hardware or emulate the Tegra X1 chip in an eventual Nintendo Switch 2 console, including it as a co-processor. The problem here is that both of these options are a tough pill to swallow, as well as introducing their own challenges and limitations.

Emulating the chip would mean increased production costs and a larger console in terms of size, something undesirable when targeting the handheld market. With thousands of games populating the Nintendo Switch library, recompiling every one of them sounds like a daunting task.

Nintendo could go another route, making its first-party games backward compatible and throwing third-party developers under the bus. If there isn't enough interest in their own titles, they probably won’t push the new major update and their game won’t make the leap to the next-gen console.

Nintendo is scheduled to release The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom on May 12 and a two-part expansion for Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.

Scott Kostov

A passion for writing and gaming has propelled Scott down the path of content creation. When he isn't scouring every known source on the internet for information, he's a track addict vibing to music in the countryside of sunny Macedonia. Link up with Scott on Twitter and Steam.
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