The recent unveiling of the Nintendo Switch has started a console war in 2017, with the Xbox Scorpio also due for release later this year and the PS4 Pro already on the market. But although the Nintendo Switch will inevitably be conpared to its next generation rivals, it is perhaps more relevant and reasonable to juxtapose it with the existing PS4 and Xbox One.
Nintendo has never focused on excessive specifications in its console releases, and has always aimed for the more affordable and family-oriented end of the market. This means that the Nintendo Switch will be priced to be more readily compared with the PS4 and Xbox One, as opposed to the next generation releases from Sony and Microsoft.
The Nintendo Switch will feature a 1,020MHz Nvidia custom Tegra SOC, although the Japanese corporation has declined to mention the clock speed of this unit. However, the Wii U featured a 1.24 GHz Tri-Core IBM PowerPC “Espresso” processor, suggesting that the Switch will be clocked at a higher speed than this.
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Meanwhile, the Xbox One has a custom 1.75GHz AMD 8-core CPU; an eleventh-hour upgrade over its original 1.6GHz processor. Sony’s PS4 CPU remained clocked at 1.6GHz and contains a similar custom AMD 8-core CPU with x86 based architecture.
Nintendo has indicated that the Switch GPU will be capable of 768MHz when docked and 307.2MHz when undocked. An Nvidia custom Tegra SOC unit is included in the forthcoming console.
Sony’s GPU is clocked at 800 MHz, while Xbox One features the most powerful GPU unit in processing terms, being clocked at 853 MHz. However, the fact that the Sony PS4 features far more GPU shaders than the Xbox One has been critical in the performance of the console, and unquestionably gives the machine the edge in this department.
But it looks as if the Nintendo Switch will be pretty competitive in this area compared to the Sony and Microsoft consoles.
This area is rather simple to compare, with both the PS4 and Xbox One featuring 8GB of RAM memory. Nintendo has armed the Switch with 4GB of memory, which may be considered somewhat paltry considering that the Galaxy Note 8 smartphone may feature 50 percent more than this.
However, Nintendo’s consoles have always benefited from their unique combination of proprietary hardware and software, similar to the Apple iPhone. Therefore, the Nintendo Switch should compete and perform quite admirably, despite this relatively small amount of memory.
Again, both the Sony and Microsoft consoles are on par here, with both the PS4 an Xbox One offering 500GB of storage in their standard models. The Switch seems miles behind in this department, with Nintendo offering just 32GB of native storage, but it is important to understand that the gamecards utilized in the Nintendo console work fundamentally differently to either of the other consoles compared here. It does also possess a micro SD card slot to possibly expand its 32GB of internal storage as users may deem necessary.
Both the Xbox One and PS4 feature Blu-ray drives, whereas the Nintendo Switch offers a completely different ethos, being based on gamecards. Thus, the Switch will have its own proprietary card-based cartridges, and doesn’t support any DVD or Blu-ray-style discs.
Online play costs $60 annually with both the Xbox One and PS4. Nintendo disappointed some fans of its console range when it announced the Switch, by stating that it will charge people for online gaming from the fall. The fee isn’t yet known, but it is expected to be significantly less than the $60 that Sony and Microsoft charge.
The Nintendo Switch is unique in this department, providing gamers with a 6.2-inch 1,280 x 720 resolution multi-touch capacitive display. Neither the PS4 nor Xbox One feature such technology.
Both Sony and Microsoft have built 4K support into their consoles, even though in gaming in terms it is pretty much impossible for any developers to even remotely consider 4K games. 4K resolution content on the PS4 and Xbox One is instead limited to the streaming and viewing of movies.
Nintendo has stated that there will be no 4K support, which seems an entirely rational decision considering that the console is clearly unprepared to provide this.
Both Sony and Microsoft provide HDR for their entry-level consoles. The PS4 and Xbox One have both received patches in order to achieve this. It is not yet known whether this will be possible with the Nintendo Switch, and speculating on the subject is rather challenging. What can be said is that given the previous ethos of Nintendo, HDR is not the sort of thing that the company usually focuses on.
If it is easy for Nintendo to deliver HDR then it will undoubtedly do so, but if it is in any way challenging and debilitating for the machine, it is certain that the corporation will opt against it. Ultimately, no one will be buying a Nintendo Switch in order to experience ultra high-definition gaming.
The Nintendo Switch is priced competitively against both the PS4 and Xbox One. Both of the Microsoft and Sony consoles are currently retailing at around $265, even having been on the market for some years. As mentioned previously, Nintendo always aims at the more affordable niche of video gaming, and thus it has already been confirmed that the Nintendo Switch will arrive at a very reasonable price tag of $299. However, some my baulk at paying a higher price for a console with a less established game library.
Finally, the Nintendo Switch has been criticized for the small number of launch titles Nintendo has confirmed. Furthermore, there are a lack of stellar releases in the first 12 months of the console, even if the emphasis is undoubtedly on quality more than quantity. Zelda and Mario titles will emerge, and these will no doubt be as popular as ever, but whether this is enough to sustain at the console against the vast established library of both the Xbox One and PS4 is debatable.