In a terrifically detailed report by Dean Takahashi at Venture Beat, we have every reason to believe that the Nintendo Switch will have less power than Sony’s Playstation 4, which was released about three years ago. The following piece will summarize his findings ahead of more information from Nintendo next year.
What to expect from the Nintendo Switch
It appears that Nintendo, in a rush to gets the hybrid console/mobile Switch to market, was forced to use older tech than the company would like ahead of a competitor offering its hybrid system.
Takahashi cites two unnamed sources who spoke to GamesBeat recently and revealed that the Nintendo Switch would be utilizing Nvidia’s last-gen graphics processor rather than the company’s Pascal architecture that is considerably more powerful. The reason behind this “step backward” is that the Pascal architecture couldn’t be integrated into the Maxwell Tegra chip that will power the Switch.
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That’s not to say that the Switch will necessarily be a disappointment, simply that it’s an older graphics processing architecture and from what we’ve seen from the Switch, it still looks impressive especially for mobile use. We’ll certainly learn more in January (12th) when Nintendo shows us the Switch as well as providing a release date and pricing information.
It’s easy to forget that Nintendo’s library of familiar characters is enough to see steady sales of the Switch and when you add the hybrid nature of the system to the sales equation the Switch could still be a success for Nintendo.
Nintendo’s hand forced by cooling needs of Pascal?
While I mentioned Nintendo’s interest in getting the Switch to market, it’s also possible that the larger sized Pascal architecture and need for extra cooling systems made the decision necessary. As a console, the Pascal architecture would work, but it’s possible that as a portable gaming system it would have simply gotten too hot or even experience a dangerous meltdown. Hell, laptop manufacturers are struggling to deal with the cooling requirements of Pascal.
Another potential upside to the use of Maxwell is that it will allow Nintendo to find a lower price point and this behooves them as the company’s focus will likely be young adults that are looking at the portability of the new hybrid system as its biggest plus. Parents will surely be more inclined to make the purchase if it doesn’t have a $400 to $600 price tag that Pascal almost demands.
Serious gamers are going to overlook the Switch regardless and are either currently debating a purchase of the recently launched PlayStation 4 Pro or have already purchased it for near 4K graphics gaming and VR capabilities. Others are likely waiting for the Project Scorpio from Microsoft that is promised to be the most powerful console ever and will be released in the holiday season of 2017.
This was summed up quite aptly recently by Jon Peddie, an analyst at market researcher Jon Peddie Research who is nothing short of a graphics guru.
“I don’t see Nintendo’s strategy as a risk,” said Peddie. “Too many pundits and fan boys and investors make a serious mistake when they try to compare and contrast Nintendo with Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo has a niche in the affordable, accessible product, and performance is never a leading criteria for them. It is gameplay and immersion. They are never a technology pioneer. Trying to compare Nintendo to Sony is like comparing a Volkswagen to a Corvette. It’s a facetious and fallacious analogy and a discredit to fans who love Nintendo.”
Nintendo is hoping, if not needing, a couple of million Switch units are sold inside of the month of its release. If that happens, Peddie believes that five million units sold by Nintendo in 2017 should be a snap.