The next-generation of consoles is here, but the Nintendo Switch continues to reign supreme. Whether due to limited supplies, high prices, or a lack of games on new consoles, the Switch remained the top-selling console throughout 2020 even with the arrival of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
That said, this new competition puts the Switch woefully behind its peers in the console gaming space in the specs war. The hardware was already considerably less powerful than the Xbox One and PS4 when it was released in 2017. With most of the true next-gen titles coming in 2021, Nintendo will have to step up its game if it wants to remain on top.
With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of what we want to see from the Nintendo Switch in 2021. Scroll all the way down to vote for what you’d like to see most (or enter in your own suggestion).
1. New hardware
It’s no secret that the Switch is underpowered. It has a 720p display when most consoles push 4K. It has a puny 32GB of storage (25GB useable). It’s powered by 1 teraflop of graphics power compared to 10+ on next-gen consoles. At this point, even flagship phones can pull more fps in cross-platform titles like Fortnite.
The Nintendo Switch Lite proved that the company is willing to tweak current hardware while retaining the same ecosystem. However, we’d like to see more powerful hardware released in 2021. We’ve previously put together a full Nintendo Switch Pro wishlist. You can read it below, but here’s a brief outline of what we’d like to see.
First up, we’d like to see a 1080p screen. This shouldn’t be too much of an ask considering many phones are pushing QHD+ at 90 or 120Hz. A few additional hardware elements in the dock to enable 4K upscaling on TVs would be a nice touch, too.
As for the internals, we’d like to see some improvements, but nothing that would jeopardize battery life. It won’t take much to outperform the more than half a decade old Tegra X1 chip. A bump up to 128GB or even 256GB of internal storage would also largely eliminate the need for an SD card expansion.
2. New Joy Cons
While we’re on the subject of hardware, we have to mention the current Joy-Cons. Despite the ingenious concept behind it, Nintendo’s split controller solution has been nothing but trouble since launch. The analog sticks drift, the connection often fails, and the ergonomics leave a lot to be desired.
At this point, the unreliable nature of Joy-Cons has lead to several class-action lawsuits against Nintendo. The company offers free repairs (in some regions) but still hasn’t come up with a permanent solution. Sure, you can buy a Nintendo Switch Pro controller or a third-party alternative, but the point is you shouldn’t have to.
Considering how Nintendo has been essentially printing money with the Switch, it’s past time it put out some updated Joy-Cons. Analog sticks are an easy fix, but other improvements would help too. Things like improved battery life, better ergonomics, and a tweaked design for larger hands would make picking up a new pair more than worth it.
3. A better Nintendo Switch Online service
Nintendo Switch Online is in a strange spot. Like Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus, it’s required to play games like Mario Kart 8 and Animal Crossing: New Horizons online. Yet, while it’s cheaper, it doesn’t offer anywhere near the same benefits as its peers. This includes the baffling omission of private party chat support.
One of the other big gripes is that there are no monthly free games on offer. PlayStation Plus gives you two or three free modern games every month, while Xbox Live Gold’s Games with Gold scheme offers up a mix of modern and retro titles.
Related: The best Nintendo Switch accessories
That said, you do unlock a small collection of classic NES and SNES games while subscribed to Switch Online. I love me some Donkey Kong Country as much as the next millennial, but it would be nice to get a bit more.
At the very least adding Nintendo 64 games to the service would make it more worthwhile. Or a larger collection of SNES and NES games. Nearly a year and a half after SNES titles were added, there are still fewer than 40 Super Nintendo games currently available.
4. Support for streaming apps
Of all the items on our Switch 2021 wishlist, this is the one that’s the easiest to achieve. Streaming services have taken over the world of entertainment (more so now that everyone is at home). Yet, I still can’t watch most of them on my Nintendo Switch.
For whatever reason, YouTube and Hulu apps slipped onto the Switch, but other big hitters like Netflix and Prime Video are nowhere to be found. Likewise with Disney Plus, which Nintendo has previously promised to support.
Nintendo could even take things to the next level and add game streaming apps. Stadia has been quietly improving over the last year, and Amazon Luna is set for wider release in 2021. The odds of this happening are near zero, but a boy can dream.
5. Nintendo eShop improvements
Although the Nintendo Switch is far from all-digital, the Nintendo eShop is a big part of the experience. Most indie games and minor titles are not available in physical form. Therefore, the eShop is the only way to buy many games that land on the platform.
And the experience is pretty terrible. Finding new or interesting games is a chore (unless you look them up online). Additionally, any interesting deals are buried beneath a mountain of poor quality titles abusing the discount system to appear higher in the list.
Read also: Nintendo Switch deals
Curation is what the eShop really lacks. Even the Wii U did a better job, offering lists of all games from a popular franchise like Zelda or Mario Bros. Category pages are also all over the place, with strange choices like including Breath of the Wild in the RPG category.
One way to help users find good games is to add user reviews. These are obviously controversial (and sometimes prone to brigading), but they were found on the Wii U. Reading some feedback from other gamers about whether or not a game is family-friendly or catered toward a more hardcore crowd would be useful when considering a purchase.
Another feature we’d like to see added to the eShop is gifting. Virtually every other platform allows you to buy games for other people. Get with the times, Nintendo.
6. Moar games
Games are the lifeblood of any console, and the Nintendo Switch already has a solid list to its name. Still, with next-gen consoles threatening to take over the gaming narrative, Nintendo needs to keep the new releases flowing.
Fortunately, there are some great games in the pipeline. The Breath of the Wild sequel is one title that we’re eagerly awaiting. We may also see Metroid Prime 4, Bayonetta 3, and New Pokémon Snap land in 2021.
Learn more: The best upcoming Nintendo Switch games
The Switch has always been a unique proposition when it comes to games, and we’d like to see Nintendo continue to lean into that. Playing The Witcher 3 on the Switch was certainly interesting, but porting games like Cyberpunk 2077 to Nintendo’s underpowered hardware is not something the world needs.
You tell us: What do you want to see from the Nintendo Switch in 2021?
So far we’ve listed six things that we want to see from the Switch next year, with some more likely than others. Now it’s time to hear what’s most important to you. Just drop your vote in the poll below, or enter a new suggestion in the comments.