NINTENDO SWITCH WIll devs get on board?

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The Switch has been a huge success for far. This comes as a pleasant surprise to many critics and tech bloggers who had all but written off the Switch before its official release. This isn't a big surprise when you look at the disaster that was the WiiU. The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild has been the giant hit that the Big N desperately needed to launch it's latest console.

The Master Sword, Breath of the Wild


The reasons for the Switch's initial success could easily be chalked up to the new Zelda title alone. However, I think there is much more to it. Over the past few years, mobile gaming has been steadily growing in popularity. Many gamers of my generation are now older and have less time to spend on binge gaming sessions in front of the television. The problem with most mobile games is that while they may scratch the itch for a quick gaming fix, they lack the overall depth and complexity of a full console or PC gaming experience. Enter, their Nintendo Switch.

The Switch is changing how I approach gaming.

What if you could have a system that could play console quality games on the go? Not a watered down handheld version like we have seen in the past, but full blown AAA titles. What if that same system could be instantly docked and transformed into a home console when you had some extra time to sit on the couch for a longer gaming session? Effortlessly, hassle free, and resuming right where you left off when you were on your lunch break or commute home. This is the real key to the success of the Switch.

I have spent many hours exploring the vast world of Hyrule.

I have logged over a hundred hours in Breath of the Wild, but It doesn't seem like it. Normally, a massive, task filled, sandbox game like Zeld intimidates me. I just know I will run out of time before I get to finish the game, so I hesitate to even get started. With the Switch, I accumulated well over 70% of my total play time in small increments spread out throughout the day. A quick fifteen minutes to gather some supplies here, ten minutes to solve a shrine there, an maybe a quick side quest before dinner. This has been my approach to BotW, and it has been incredible!

Only have a few minutes? Solve a shrine or cook some food for your next big battle!

Accumulating dozens of bite sized play session in between my full blown two or three hour sit-ins gazing into my big screen, is changing how I approach gaming. The fact that it's the same exact game weather your playing in handheld mode, or on the couch really feels new and different. It also helps that Nintendo nailed the experience of the transformation too. Popping off the joycons to connect them to the grip, then sliding the the tablet into the dock takes only a few seconds. The Switch quickly switches(**sigh**) to displaying on your big screen and you are off and running without a hitch.

Splatoon 2, Global Test Fire.
The ability to transition from mobile to home console suits other games too.


So the new Zelda is great, but what about other games? Well the Splatoon 2 global test fire showed me how cool it could be to play a competitive online shooter on the Switch. Fast RMX, a very good F-Zero clone, also plays really well on the Switch. It has a solid frame rate and the visuals are stunning. The two player co-op with each player taking one Joycon worked surprisingly well too.

My first month with the Switch filled me with a lot of hope and excitement for the future of gaming. I couldn't help thinking about all the games I would prefer to play this way if I had the option. Sure, the graphics will take a hit compared to what the same title would look like on my PS4 Pro or Xbox One S, but I would actually get to play them. There is a lot to be said for that.


Could we ever see a game like Overwatch on the Switch?

The biggest question about the Switch now is weather or not Nintendo can convince the big name publishers to bring there biggest titles to the new hybrid console. If the Switch continues to see strong sales success, they will certainly have to consider it very carefully. Many critiques argue that it simply can't be done due to the lack of processing and graphics power of the Switch. I don't think this is true for several reasons.

Here are some popular games shown running on Nvidia's Shield Android TV console.

Metal Gear Rising, Borderlands the Pre Sequel on Nvidia Shield.

We now know that the Nintendo Switch is basically running the same version of the Tegra X1 found in Nvidias latest shield device, the Shield TV game console. There have been some fairly high profile ports to the Shield TV that many could never imagined running on an android based device utilizing beefed up mobile hardware. Keeping in mind that the android platform is known to have problems with efficiency in terms of frame rates and performance with games, you can imagine that devs could achieve even better results on Nintendo's hardware.

whatever 'secret sauce' Nvidia and Nintendo have cooked up here has produced a transformative effect on what is seemingly the same hardware. - eurogamer

Obviously on Tegra X1 based hardware, there will need to be some sacrifices. As I stated earlier, games on Switch will not be able to run at the same frame rates, resolutions, and detail levels as the two big console kings of this generation, but we shouldn't expect it to. Just in the same way we don't expect to be able to get up in the middle of Gears of War 4, walk out the door, and continue playing on the Xbox One S. It's two completely different experiences and each comes with a different kind of sacrifice.

PC and Console ports

Another reason I think the switch could handle many top tier PC and console ports, is my experience with the Surface Pro 4. As you can see in the video above, many people have been able to successfully run some fairly demanding games on the Surface Pro's modest hardware. I even had Killer Insticnt running at a playable frame rate, even if it was at cost of eliminating many of the games coolest effects.

Killer Instinct running on a Surface Pro 4.

Getting these games running on Intel integrated graphics usually means turning all the games settings to the lowest available, lowering the resolution(sometimes even resorting to registry hacks to force a custom resolution), and using the lowest geometry settings when available. Even then, the results can be unpredictable. Now, the Nintendo Switch graphics hardware far exceeds anything available on any Surface Pro tablet. Combine this with developers doing some optimization for the Tegra hardware in the Switch and possibly creating new, lower resolutions texture assets, and I think these games could not only be possible, but thoroughly enjoyable on Switch hardware.


For now, I am content to spend all my time exploring Hyrule and unlocking all the secrets of the newest Zelda's massive world. Eventually though, the Switch is going to need solid third party support to be truly successful. With titles like NBA 2k18 and this years FIFA from EA already coming, it will be interesting to see how many people purchase those games for the Switch. Sports games are another genre I could see myself playing more of on the Switch than my other, traditional consoles. Their success could play a major roll in other publishers decision to port games to the system.

I am glad to see the Switch off to a great start sales wise, and I am hopeful for the future of Nintendo's latest platform. Hopefully Nintendo has been continuing to woo the big name publishers behind the scenes and we can look forward to a diverse and exciting software library for next several years.

Created By
Shawn Alfenito


Photos by Shawn Alfenito

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