Nintendo reportedly plans to release an upgraded Switch console in 2021

A child playing with a Nintendo Switch game console.

Julian Stratenschulte | picture alliance via Getty Images

Nintendo is reportedly working on an upgraded version of its Nintendo Switch console and plans to ship the device next year.

The Japanese gaming giant has looked into including more computing power and 4K graphics in the new Switch model, according to a Bloomberg report citing unnamed sources briefed on the strategy. The release of the machine would come alongside, or be followed by, several new games from Nintendo or its partner studios, the report said.

Nintendo was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC. Shares of the company closed over 2% in Japan on Tuesday.

Setting 2021 as the release year for Nintendo’s latest console would see the company avoid going head-to-head with Microsoft and Sony, which are expected to release their next-generation hardware in the fall. Both Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5 are set to launch in the midst of a viral pandemic that has given a significant boost to the video game industry.

In Nintendo’s case, the company has especially flourished during global coronavirus lockdowns thanks to the popularity of its Animal Crossing: New Horizons title, having sold 22.4 million copies since its release in March. The social simulation game quickly became a hit with consumers searching for some escapism during coronavirus lockdowns around the world.

Nintendo saw its operating profits skyrocket 428% in its fiscal first quarter results. Sales of its Switch and Switch Lite consoles grew around 167% to 5.68 million units in the quarter. The Switch Lite, announced last year, represented a more affordable and stripped down version of the Switch, lacking the detachable Joy-Con controllers that come with Nintendo’s main hybrid console. It’s not yet clear how the new model will look.

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