Nintendo will release its latest console contender, the Nintendo Switch, on March 3. After the lukewarm reception for the Nintendo Wii U, the Japanese video games giant will be hoping to get back on track with the Switch. But this latest console will enter a marketplace already containing the PS4 Pro, with the Sony machine having garnered a strong reputation in its short lifetime.
Nintendo Switch vs PS4 Pro – Specs
There is a clear gulf in performance between the Nintendo Switch and PS4 Pro. The console from Nintendo will deliver 1 Tflop of performance, which translates to a significantly lower speed of processing than either the PS4 Pro or forthcoming Xbox One Scorpio. The Nintendo Switch will also benefit from the Maxwell-architecture Tegra chip for graphics, but it is generally believed that this will not match the Pascal-based 16nm process included in the PS4 Pro.
There is no doubt that the PS4 Pro is the technically superior console, particularly as it is able to deliver 4K resolution. While some have been critical of the decision of Sony to omit 4K Blu-ray support from the PS4 Pro, even this decision ultimately makes sense when examined in the cold light of day. Physical media is becoming considerably less important, and streaming in 4K is already entirely feasible. There just isn’t the compelling argument for a physical disk drive for anything other than gaming in the PS4 Pro, as was the case with the PS3 and particularly the PS2.
However, the Nintendo Switch will be unable to deliver 4K resolution, considering the specs of the console. 1080p will be the maximum screen resolution delivered by this new release. But Nintendo has never really focused on massive specs in the past, and this was never really expected from the Nintendo Switch either. The Japanese company has explicitly stated that it it care little about market trends such as 4K resolution, and would instead rather focus on delivering an innovative experience for gamers.
Nintendo has also always targeted families with its products, and even if this strategy has hit the rocks in recent releases, it would seem to be wise to completely abandon this ethos with the Nintendo Switch. Thuus, early reports indicating that the new Nintendo console would target to the more affordable and of the market were hardly surprising.
Thus, the Nintendo Switch’s retail price of $299 will make this a very competitive console. The PS4 Pro’s RRP is still $399, but Sony will likely cut this significantly at some point this year, particularly ahead of the release of the Xbox Scorpio. Nintendo will be well aware that the Switch is entering a challenging marketplace.
One of the interesting aspects of the Nintendo Switch is its portable nature, which enables users of the console to play on the go. Nintendo is effectively attempting to kill two birds with one stone with this console, delivering a device that suits both the home and handheld markets. This could provide a Nintendo Switch with a significant advantage in the marketplace, particularly considering the success of its previous handheld devices.
Naturally enough, the PS4 Pro does not boast similar features, with Sony having struggled to penetrate the handheld market with its PSP and Vita releases.
This is one of the most interesting points for comparison between the two consoles. The PS4 Pro benefits from a massive raft of software, with every mainstream developer already involved with the Sony console. All existing PS4 games are compatible with the machine, and the jewel in the Sony crown of exclusives are the Uncharted and The Last of Us titles produced by Naughty Dog.
However, several major developers have already announced that they will produce titles for the forthcoming Nintendo Switch. These include Capcom, Bethesda, Square Enix, Konami and Ubisoft. And Nintendo can also boast its own tranche of inimitable proprietary games, with new Mario and Zelda titles in particular an absolute certainty. Indeed, Nintendo has already confirmed a new Zelda game as a launch title. This will always attract people to Nintendo machines, and should help ensure that the Nintendo Switch is extremely competitive.
However, aside from the sheer power of the machine, the PS4 Pro does have other advantages. Perhaps the most notable of these is that virtual reality is already established as a major facet of the Sony brand. This has been achieved via the release of the PlayStation VR headset, which is already available in the stores, and has received a strong response from consumers and critics alike.
Nintendo clearly has virtual reality in mind with the Nintendo Switch, though, and it has been pointed out that the JoyCon control system included with the console is indeed ideal for VR. However, the relative lack of power of the machine will certainly pose challenges for developers, and it will be interesting to see what Nintendo is able to deliver in this department with the Nintendo Switch.
The PS4 Pro remains a rather conventional console, albeit the most powerful one that Sony has ever produced. Although virtual reality is a major innovation related to the PS4 Pro, it would nonetheless not be controversial to state that it isn’t a particularly innovative machine.
This isn’t true of the Nintendo Switch, with the Japanese corporation once again looking to produce a genuinely original device. And central to this will be the touchscreen tablet included with the Nintendo Switch, which has the capability to interact with a dock included in the console. This enables a television connected to the console to recognise the tablet within a a few seconds, with the display of the tablet immediately showing up for gameplay once it is removed from the Nintendo Switch docking device.
There is no such technology included with the PS4 Pro.
In many ways, the PS4 Pro and Nintendo Switch are targeting different demographics. Sony is keen to brand the PS4 Pro as a hardcore gamer’s machine, while Nintendo will instead emphasize the family-friendly qualities of the Switch. The Sony console provides an extremely powerful package, while the Nintendo Switch is more versatile and delivers excellent value for money.