Sources reveal that the Nintendo Switch is actually less powerful than the three year old launch version of the PlayStation 4, thanks to outdated processor architecture.
For the last few generations, Nintendo has made it a point to not compete with Sony or Microsoft in terms of raw console power. The company focuses on strong, console-exclusive IPs and mass appeal, instead of the best frame rates and fastest load times. With that recent history in mind, few consumers expected the Nintendo Switch to be more powerful than the PS4 Pro or Microsoft’s upcoming Scorpio. Not only is that true, but it sounds like the Nintendo Switch might not even be able to keep up with the three year old launch version of the PS4.
According to reports from Gamesbeat, the Nintendo Switch is less powerful than the PlayStation 4. The sources claim that the Switch’s custom Nvidia Tegra processor is actually based on the older Maxwell architecture, instead of the latest Pascal graphics technology that the company has been rolling out in 2016. If this ends up to be the case, then it is very possible that the Switch won’t be able to support 4K gaming when in home console mode. Some gamers may be fine with the trade off in quality because of the console’s ability to also become a handheld device, but the outdated processor is sure to be a disappointment for Nintendo fans who were hoping to play cutting-edge games on the console in March 2017.
Nintendo has likely been working on the Switch for a long time at this point, so it is not terribly surprising that the console isn’t utilizing the newest Nvidia processors. There’s a very good chance that the Tegra processor will offer performance on par with the Xbox One, but we can’t say for sure until more details about the console are released. Hopefully some of these specs will be clarified during the price and release date announcement in early January.
After the Switch’s first trailer revealed gameplay of Skyrim: Remastered Edition, there were a lot of questions about how well a demanding game like that one would run on Nintendo’s upcoming console. If the console is on par with an Xbox One, then it seems like it shouldn’t have any problems delivering an experience like Skyrim, although it obviously won’t compare to playing the game on a 4K TV with the PS4 Pro… Or to playing the original Skyrim on a PC with some texture mods for that matter.
At the end of the day, it is still likely that the power level of the Nintendo Switch won’t be what makes or breaks the console. Nintendo is trying to capitalize on a gaming market that the company considers untapped and if it succeeds, and can draw in mass appeal like the original Wii, then most users won’t have any idea what the difference is between Maxwell architecture or Pascal graphics technology. If the Switch technology is as convenient and quick as it appeared on Jimmy Fallon, then Nintendo just needs to launch at a reasonable price with a solid first year of games to make the Switch an appealing product.
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Nintendo Switch is aiming for a March 2017 launch.