Some time has passed since the last time we glanced over the Nintendo Switch. The machine was standing proud in the hands of Jimmy Fallon not too long ago. Now, a swarm of leaked and released information has put the console in a kind of hurricane that sometimes blows tormentuously, and others rocks tenderly over the future of the console.
There has been some good news and some bad news. Let's go through them.
To dock, or not to dock. That's the question.
Eurogamer recently released an article in which they explained the Nintendo Switch's various properties. Among that information, the CPU and GPU clock speeds were revealed. Here's the little chart.
Notice something weird? The chart explains the different speeds at which the Nintendo Switch will perform when docked and undocked. At first glance, everything seems to be the same, except for the GPU speeds. The portable-home hybrid GPU will run, when docked, at a speed of 307.2 or 768MHz, depending on the demands of the application running. But when undocked, the console's GPU will run at a cap of 307.2 MHz, exactly 40% of its capabilities. Some outlets have said that it runs 40% slower, but that indicates that the console is running at 60%. That is not the case. I did the math!
This annoyed some fans of Nintendo, which were deeply disappointed at the console's possible performance. You have to ask yourself, why would Nintendo do this? Well, the decision was probably made with battery consumption in mind. Nintendo, more than likely, wants a decent battery time in the Switch, more GPU consumption, means more battery consumption as a whole. Also, high GPU performance tends to heat portable devices, which translates into a higher draining of the battery.
Fans replied to this explanation by pointing out that Nintendo could have easily chosen the new Pascal architecture of chips, over the current Maxwell, since the first one offers more power for significantly less power consumption.
Of course, this does not paint the full picture of what the hardware will be capable of as a whole. All we can do is wait and see. Most gaming outlets went berserk over the subject, when in fact, with the information we have, nothing is 100% sure.
Give us those factors, Pachter.
In episode 47 of Pachter Factor (a web series in which Michael Pachter, market analyst, talks about video game related subjects), the host was asked the following question:
If the Nintendo Switch can't handle direct ports from PS4 and Xbox One without the developers having to do extra work, what are the console's chances of success?
After explaining that there is no such thing as a direct port, developers always have to do some extra work when porting a game, Pachter said the following:
I've actually heard from developers that the Nintendo [Switch] is the easiest of the three to develop for. The issue is going to be processing power. If the processor is a lot slower, and it doesn't use the same configuration of cores. If it doesn't have the same graphics capability, they'll have to do something different. They'll have to either bottle down the game, or make a new one from scratch. If they have to do one from scratch, the console will not have third party support.
He then went to point out that the third party support that has already been confirmed for the system.
This information, coupled with the Skyrim gameplay from the trailer, and the rumor that Dark Souls 3 was ported by FromSoftware to the Switch seem to indicate that if perhaps the quality in graphics is not going to be the same, porting for the Switch will be rather easy.
Unreal Engine 4 is reportedly running on the Nintendo Switch
According to an article from TweakTown, some users have scrutinized the Unreal Engine's 4 master bin file for any mention of the Switch. People have actually found some information, and it is rather interesting.
This looks a little complicated, I know. But what this basically means is that the Nintendo Switch, when docked, runs the Unreal Engine 4 at a medium setting, and when undocked, at a low setting. This might not be impressive for some, but the fact that the Switch is actually capable of running this engine is great. This means that, most likely, the console will be able to run other engines at give or take the same settings.