Reports have suggested that an upgraded version of the Switch game console — with improved power and graphics — could be released by Nintendo early next year.

Rumours of the hardware upgrade to the Japanese firm’s popular hybrid console have originated from supply chain sources, Taiwan’s Economic Daily News reported. 

Nintendo did release two new models of the Switch last year — one featuring a new chipset that reduced battery drain and a handheld-only version, the Switch Lite. 

The release of the hardware upgrade would be accompanied by a series of new game releases, both from Nintendo and its partners, according to reports on Bloomberg News.

Picture: Pexels

These are suggested will include games targeted at both the casual and ‘hardcore’ gamer demographics.

A number of major titles previously announced for the Switch have yet to be released — including ‘Metroid Prime 4’ and an untitled ‘The Legend of Zelda’ sequel — which could potentially be being timed for release with the new console version.

In fact, the relative sparsity of Switch releases this year could be explained by keeping titles in reserve until the hardware update is ready, argues the Verge.

The hardware update will reportedly include additional computing power and 4K high-definition graphics, unnamed sources told Bloomberg News.

It would be the first major overhaul to the console’s specs since it was first put on the commercial market back in early 2017. 

Photo by Jippe Joosten on Unsplash

Sales of the Switch have continued apace in 2020 — with more than 61 million of the hybrid consoles having been sold up to the end of July alone.

This places the Switch on a par with the Nintendo Entertainment System  — or NES, for short — the 8-bit console which is credited with reviving the flagging home video game market in the mid-eighties.

Much of the Switch’s success has been attributed to the popular life simulation game ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’, which was released in late March, around the time that countries began implementing lockdowns to combat the spread of COVID-19.