Nintendo Switch owners itching for online connectivity wherever they would also normally have cell service may not need to wait much longer for that dream to become reality, as Nintendo is reportedly looking into 5G technologies - possibly for use on a new Switch revision. 5G is one of the tech industry's hottest watchwords at the moment, and its addition to the current repertoire of Switch hardware features would be an incredibly welcome change for owners of the otherwise wifi-restricted device.
Since the hybrid home-handheld console launched in 2017, talk has consistently circulated that Nintendo will eventually release additional versions of the console tailored to different segments of its consumer base, with a smaller, handheld-only revision sounding more and more likely. As such, the idea of a cellular data-enabled Switch has long been rumored because it just makes sense, and the next generation of cellular network tech would be the perfect opportunity for Nintendo to make the leap to less limited connectivity.
Speaking at a company shareholder Q&A session relayed by Nintendo Life, Nintendo hardware division director Ko Shiota was asked about the possibility of pursuing 5G technologies in the near-future. Characteristically non-committal for a meeting of this type, Shiota said that Nintendo is "investigating" 5G in order to better size up how it could possibly be implemented in future hardware and if the potential cost would be worth the hassle. Shiota made no direct mention of the Switch, though it's hard to imagine what other revolutionary piece of hardware on which the company would be willing to take such a risk. Shiota's full remarks were:
5G can send a large amount of data without latency. We are aware that this technology has been gaining a lot of attention, and Nintendo is also investigating it. However, we don't only chase trends in technology. When considering what to offer in our entertainment and services, we think about both how the technology will be applied to gameplay and what new experiences and gameplay we can offer consumers as a result of that application. Cost is also an extremely important factor when it comes to 5G. It's difficult to use even an outstanding technology if the cost is too high, so we will continue to also thoroughly investigate the cost of new technologies.
It's not a sure thing by any means, but the Switch's continued status as a best-seller for Nintendo - coupled with its incredibly loyal fanbase and the fact that it has plenty of cash-on-hand - means that the Japanese gaming company has plenty of room for experimentation with the console. If the Switch revision that Nintendo is suspected to have in the works is destined for launch sooner rather than later, then it'll obviously ship without 5G, but that doesn't rule out future or current-generation mobile data technologies making it into that revision or others.
When it comes to Nintendo's home consoles and internet connectivity, it often feels like a slow dance of one step forward for every two steps back, so hyper-fast 5G tech coming onboard any near-future Switch revisions may remain a long shot for now. However, it can't be discounted that Nintendo is the bold trend-setter that pioneered motion controls, glasses-free 3D displays, and handheld gaming before any of the concepts had gained mainstream popularity among other consumer goods, so if any company is capable of further bridging the gap between console and mobile gaming, it's Nintendo.
Source: Nintendo Life