The Nintendo Switch 2 will offer backward compatibility, a reliable leaker has said. This claim is yet another piece of evidence suggesting that the next Nintendo console will have access to the entire Switch library at launch.
Since the Switch marked Nintendo's return to physical game cartridges, it was fundamentally unable to offer traditional backward compatibility with the Wii U catalog, whose physical releases used a Blu-ray-derived format called Optical Disc. While some fans were hoping that the hybrid console would at least support playing digital versions of Wii U games, that did not come to pass, possibly due to the fact that the two systems used completely different chip architectures. Be that as it may, the handheld's final feature set left many gamers convinced that the Switch 2 would be a misfire without backward compatibility.
That demographic ought to be pleased to learn that the next Nintendo console should indeed be able to play Switch games, according to well-known industry insider NateTheHate. Taking to the ResetEra forums, the insider recently wrote that the Switch 2 backward compatibility capabilities are currently in testing after already being presented to Nintendo's developer partners.
NateTheHate has still maintained that it is currently unclear whether the console will offer significant performance improvements when playing games from its predecessor's catalog, labeling the potential extent of such benefits as a «major unknown.» Back in September, the insider reported that the Switch 2 can run Breath of the Wild at 60fps in 4K, citing a developer presentation that Nintendo had allegedly held behind closed doors at Gamescom 2023. But even taking that claim at face value doesn't guarantee that all Switch games will benefit from such major improvements on the next system. If anything, Nintendo games performing better than third parties would be par for the course, given the Japanese company's reputation for unparalleled optimization.
NateTheHate is far from the only industry insider who believes that the next Nintendo console will offer backward compatibility. But despite numerous corroborating reports on the matter, the manner in which the system is actually meant to handle previous-generation games remains unclear. Emulation has historically been a popular choice among console manufacturers looking to offer such a feature, but emulating the Tegra X1 chip could still pose problems for the Switch 2 backward compatibility.
Game Boy Color
Backward-compatible with the Game Boy library.
Game Boy Advance
Backward-compatible with the GBC and GB libraries.
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