The biggest competitor to Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox Scarlett console is going to be Sony’s next-gen PlayStation 5. But the immensely successful Nintendo Switch could also steal customers away from the Xbox Scarlett. Nintendo’s console might not be as powerful as Microsoft’s beast-in-the-making, but it has its own set of advantages. In this Xbox Scarlett vs Nintendo Switch comparison, let’s find out which one would be a better investment.
Microsoft revealed only limited details about its ambitious Scarlett console at the E3 event. The Xbox Scarlett is expected to hit the store shelves in late 2020. In contrast, Nintendo Switch has been around for more than two years. According to recent reports, Nintendo is working on second-generation Switch consoles, which could launch by the end of this year.
There will be two new Nintendo Switch 2 models: a high-end model with beefed-up specs, and an affordable model designed for portability. The affordable version is expected to be priced at $200.
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Xbox Scarlett vs Nintendo Switch: Hardware specs
Microsoft said at its E3 press conference that the Scarlett would be the most powerful and best-performing console it has ever released. It is said to be four times more powerful than the Xbox One X. The Scarlett would run a custom AMD Zen 2 CPU with Navi architecture. It would offer at least 1TB of internal storage, and is rumored to support an external drive for additional storage.
The software giant has built a new SSD specifically for the Project Scarlett, which would perform 40 times faster than the current generation consoles. It would pack GDDR6 RAM and support 8K visuals with 120fps frame rate. The Scarlett will eliminate load times and run games with real-time hardware ray tracing. The console will have an optical disk drive for physical media.
The Nintendo Switch runs a custom Nvidia Tegra processor with shared GPU. It has only 4GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Users can expand storage via a microSDXC card. There is no solid-state drive (SSD) or hard drive on the Switch. It can’t store as many games as the Xbox Scarlett. It offers a resolution of 720p in handheld mode and 1080p when docked.
Xbox Scarlett vs Nintendo Switch: Performance and backward compatibility
Let’s talk about backward compatibility first. The Switch isn’t backward compatible with older Nintendo titles. But the Nintendo Switch Online vault gives users access to a bunch of NES games. In contrast, Microsoft has confirmed that the Xbox Scarlett would be backward compatible with previous generations of Xbox consoles. It would offer backward compatibility with Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Xbox games.
In terms of performance, the Switch is not a beast like Xbox Scarlett. You can’t play 4K games on Nintendo’s console. You can play at 720p resolution when it’s in handheld mode. The resolution goes up to 1080p when it’s docked. In contrast, the Scarlett would support 4K and 8K games. According to the rumor mill, the Xbox Scarlett would offer more than 10.7 teraflops of power.
Xbox Scarlett vs Nintendo Switch: Gaming library
Microsoft hasn’t revealed the list of all the titles coming to Xbox Scarlett. The company said at the E3 event that the much-awaited Halo Infinite would be a launch title for the Scarlett. Considering the upcoming Xbox will be backward compatible with previous generations of Xbox consoles, customers will be able to play the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Xbox games on Scarlett.
Nintendo Switch has an impressive library of first-party and third-party games. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild remains popular even two years after its launch. Other titles like Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Tennis Aces, Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Octopath Traveler have kept gamers hooked.
Nintendo and its partners are working on more exciting exclusive titles for the Switch including a remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Bayonetta 3, Pokemon Sword, and Super Mario Maker 2. Many Nintendo Switch titles support cross-platform gameplay, allowing you to play with your friends who own Xbox One.
Xbox Scarlett vs Nintendo Switch: Online gaming support
If you want to play Xbox games online, Microsoft offers Xbox Live Gold subscription, which costs $60 per year. It gives you access to four free games a month. The software giant is expected to offer the same service to Xbox Scarlett owners.
Microsoft has officially announced the Project xCloud streaming service, which would become available for public testing later this year. The service will use your Xbox console as your personal xCloud server, allowing you to stream games to the screen of your choice. People who don’t own an Xbox console will be able to stream directly from Microsoft’s data.
The company hasn’t revealed how much the non-console version of xCloud would cost. The console version of the service will be free of cost for Xbox owners. But you’ll still need access to games, for which Microsoft offers the Game Pass monthly subscription service at $10 per month. There is also an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service that costs $15 per month and combines Game Pass with Xbox Live and Game Pass for PC. It gives you access to hundreds of games. Microsoft hasn’t yet revealed whether it would support virtual reality on Project Scarlett.
Nintendo also has an online subscription service called Nintendo Switch Online, which costs just $20 per year. If you opt for the monthly subscription, it costs $4 per month. The quarterly plan sets you back by $8 per quarter. It gives you access to online multiplayer and a library of classic NES titles. Subscribers also get discounts on some digital purchases.
Nintendo launched the Switch Online service less than a year ago and it’s still in its infancy, at least in terms of functionality. If you want to voice chat, you have to install a separate app on your smartphone. Despite its limitations, Nintendo Switch Online has garnered more than 10 million subscribers since its launch, the company revealed earlier this month.
Microsoft hasn’t announced how much the Xbox Scarlett would cost. We know it’s not going to be cheap. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said in an interview with GamingBolt that the Scarlett would be worth around $500. But he expects Microsoft to price it at $400. On the other hand, the Nintendo Switch costs $300.
If you are a casual gamer who doesn’t want to spend a lot on a console and games but still wants to enjoy the incredibly popular games, Nintendo Switch (or its upcoming successor) could be a good choice. Another reason to buy the Switch is if you love Nintendo’s blockbuster titles. The Xbox Scarlett would be a good investment for hardcore gamers.