The big picture: Nintendo was originally expected to launch the successor to its Switch handheld later this year, perhaps as the crown jewel of the 2024 holiday season. That's no longer the plan, however, as multiple reports now claim the launch window has slipped into the first quarter of 2025. But, why?

Missing out on the lucrative holiday season isn't idea, but there are some valid arguments as to why Nintendo would elect to do so. Delaying launch would give developers additional time to complete launch titles, but history has shown that this alone is not enough to deter Nintendo from launching new hardware (the Nintendo 64 landed in the US with just two games).

According to a new report from Nikkei, there is another – perhaps even more important – reason to hold back launch. Doing so would give Nintendo more time to stockpile consoles for launch and, with any luck, deter scalpers from buying up inventory and reselling it at a hefty premium.

The Switch 2 (or whatever Nintendo ends up calling it) has some pretty big shoes to fill. The hybrid Switch launched in March 2017 at a time when Sony and Microsoft were dominating with traditional home consoles, and on the heels of the disappointing Wii U. Despite the odds, the Switch proved wildly popular and has demonstrated incredible staying power. As of December 31, 2023, total Switch console sales sat at 139.36 million.

Hardware scalpers took advantage of a perfect storm in recent years to seriously disrupt new console and video card distribution. Using bots to buy up already limited inventory, scalpers could then control the market and charge exorbitant prices when reselling their hauls.

With Covid-era supply chain issues and bans on in-store sales a thing of the past, one would hope that hardware scalping is now a distant memory. Nintendo could be the first to test this theory, and it will be a victory for gamers if they are successful.

Image credit: Aleks Dorohovich, Aishah Lenore