Nintendo Switch supposed to make Nintendo great again. After all. Nintendo already struggle with Wii U abysmal sales. The main problem seems to be lack of 3rd Party Game Developers for Wii U. From what I’ve heard from the news, Developers got a difficult time to develop or port their game to Wii U due to its weak hardware. They chose to develop for Xbox 360 and PS3 only because developing games for these two consoles is much easier.
But that was the problem of Wii U. Nintendo Switch supposed to be a game changer, right?
The basic package offers the console, Joy-con, dock, Joy-Con Grip, AC Adapter, HDMI Cables, and Joy-Con Straps. Seems to be good but the lack of Nintendo Switch Pro Controller out-of-the-box means you need the spend extra pennies for multiplayer at home.
SoC : Custom NVIDA Tegra SoC
Screen : 6.2″ 720p resolution, Capacitive Touch Screen
Storage : 32 GB internal memory, expandable using Micro SDXC Card
Connectivity : 2.4/5GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi
USB Port : 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0
The console comes with 32GB of internal memory and expandable using Micro SDXC Card. Okay… That is much less space than what PS4 and Xbox One offer. Purchasing high capacity Micro SDXC is more expensive than HDD. Port AAA Games to Switch can be a problem because of the storage limitation itself. Developers will need to compress a lot of data to make save some spaces.
How about the display? Nintendo Switch internal screen is only 720p. But when docked, it can output to 1080p display. Finally, Nintendo can offer Full HD gaming with its console. But PS4 Pro render the game at QHD and upscale it to 4K. Xbox One S is even better because it will support native 4K. Nintendo is already late to the party but only offers Full HD, or even worse at HD when using internal screen.
This part is my concern about NVIDIA Tegra SoC inside Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo decides to go with ARM-based CPU and NVIDIA while Sony and Microsoft are siding with AMD for both CPU & GPU. I understand Sony and Microsoft decision. They want to make developers’ task easier to port their game between Windows PC – Sony PS4 – Microsoft Xbox One. And I think it works well. Many games available on PC are also available on PS4 and Xbox One. But Nintendo wants to be different. Dammit Nintendo! ARM-based CPU is easier on power consumption but it adds extra effort on developers side to make sure their code run in different CPU Architecture. After all, Windows, PS4, and Xbox One rely on x86 CPU. Only Nintendo is different. Oh… So, Nintendo wants to be exclusive? But why the hell they demoed Switch running Skyrim? That game is from 2011 and also available on PS3, Xbox 360, Windows, PS4, and Xbox One. Not an exclusive game and Nintendo is going to be 6 years late to the party.
Back to screen resolution again. Internal HD Display to make sure the battery runs longer. External output to Full HD while docked to provide better visual experience. Also, from what I’ve learned, Switch CPU & GPU clock speed is more controversial because they will run at lower clock speed when not docked (to extend battery life of course). It sounds to me like Nintendo is asking game developers to develop two version of the same game. Isn’t that another extra work for game developers?
Okay… I’ve only talk about the bad side of Nintendo Switch. But let’s just admit it. Nintendo Wii U abysmal sales is caused by the lack of 3rd party game developers who willing to make extra work developing game for Wii U. When Sony and Microsoft both decided to use AMD Custom SoC for PS4 and Xbox One, game developers can’t be happier. It’ll make their work easier to port between platform. Many people guess Nintendo will follow their step but they were wrong. On the good side, it appears Nintendo already get major game developers backing up games for Switch.
Nintendo always wanted to be different. Switch is a unique hybrid home and portable console. That is what makes Switch special. What is the benefit of Switch over PS4 and Xbox One? It’s portable and playable everywhere. Instead of just staying at home, you can play your game everywhere like on your way to school or work. You can go hang out with your friend and play the games on Switch together while having direct chat. Just like on your mobile phone. I am actually impressed with the concept. But I more or less know the failure of Wii U reception is mainly because the lack of 3rd party game developers. Switch hybrid concept will add extra work on game developers side. But if they didn’t mind the extra work and trust Switch can be a success and well-receipt, Switch could beat PS4 and Xbox One.
One thing that Nintendo must realized, Switch will also compete against mobile phones. System-on-Chip (Soc) inside Switch is likely weaker than Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 or Samsung Exynos 8890 on high-end Android Phones. This sounds to me like another limitation. But the success of Nintendo Switch will be likely based on the initial sales. Great initial sales will motivate 3rd Party Developers to develop games for Nintendo Switch. That way Nintendo Switch users will be happier and more people will buy it. Nintendo and game developers will be happy. NVIDIA will be happy. Everyone will be happy. Well… Maybe not AMD, Microsoft, and Sony.