Nintendo Switch 2 shown off to developers

Originally published at: Nintendo Switch 2 shown off to developers | Boing Boing

Saying that the launch of the PS5/XSX “left Nintendo in the dust as far as hardware capabilities go” is … well, just not true. The Switch was already massively underpowered compared to the PS4 and XO, let alone the PS4 Pro and XOX. Not even in the same ballpark. Which makes what the Switch has done all the more amazing, to be clear - but it has also shown that convenience and fun (in whatever form “fun” may come for you) trump hardware one-upmanship in the mass market. I mean, the 2017 Switch launched with a 2015-era Nvidia Tegra X1 SoC, a relatively low performance SoC even for 2017. The only reason the Switch is able to run anything resembling a modern game is through amazing developer effort and optimization. It’s truly a marvel.


I can’t wait to play Starfield on it.

Skyrim on Switch has gotten me through a few intercontinental flights.

1 Like

This has basically always been Nintendo’s MO since the Genesis debuted. They always get dragged for it and with every new generation of console the gaming literati lose their shit and declare Nintendo dead, yet… here we are.

The launch trailer for the original Switch was revelatory. Nothing else even comes close to its functionality, usefulness and cross-generational appeal. Ours literally bounces around the house (and the car and vacation rentals and…) between hands 3, 17, 37 and 45 years old.


Agreed; if hardware specs alone were the main draw for a gaming system then Sega would have blown the competition away when they launched their Dreamcast console in the late 1990s.


There’s definitely a large audience out there who are too focused on specs, but ultimately people just want fun games. Nintendo makes some incredibly fun games only available on the Switch, stretching its capabilities but also showing off the fact that their design philosophies are and always have been top notch. It’s something people forgot about in the N64 and GameCube eras, but Nintendo brought it back to the forefront with the one-two punch of the DS and Wii.


Nintendo is also still the go-to system if you want to do some casual gaming with friends who are sitting in the same room. After all these years the PlayStation and Xbox still don’t really have anything that quite matches the simple joys of Mario Kart.


A fundamental issue is that most games need to release on as many platforms as possible to have any chance of economic viability. If one platform is difficult to port to - has non-standard controls, has less processing power than what’s being made use of on all the other platforms, it’s a huge impediment to games also showing up there (and few developers can risk making games specifically for it). So a hardware refresh might mean porting more old games onto the system, but as long as it’s less “powerful” than the other consoles on the market, the problems remain for new games.


When the switch came out, I had zero interest in it - my friends with it were all playing games I’m not interested in, and it just seemed like “oh nintendo made a toy console again lol”. Well I was such a jerk for thinking that.

I bought one to be able to play mario kart or something and a) have played some fantastic games on it as a regular home console, and b) the fact that you can unplug it and just play the same games for HOURS in portable mode? That’s amazing!

I think it helps that it’s kind of Xbox 360/PS3-era horsepower, and games from that era are still fully enjoyable in a way that perhaps a PS1 game may or may not be. On the other hand, some current AAA games are going to have such a graphical horsepower requirement that porting them back to the Switch will make them feel like they were 360/PS3-era games…


I don’t get the power argument. I think more often than not, the weaker, if not the weakest, has won its generation. There’s plenty of precedent to ignore power

Slight tangent: I will contend that couch co-op in Diablo 3 on console is a fantastic experience. You’re on the same screen, you’re fighting together, you can walk around like in a ‘regular game’ instead of a ‘click to move’. The gameplay is entertainingly moronic - you’re just hitting enemy pinatas with your magic laserbeams until they explode into Extremely Rare Leather Pants of the Squirrel item drops.

1 Like

I kind of think the Dreamcast did, but it was also pretty short lived, like a 2.gG console? It had better hardware than anyone else for what a year? Then the next PlayStation came out and the new Xbox and Sega hadn’t made enough to make a new hardware platform and curled up and died.

Nintendo has managed to keep getting by with marginal graphics and novel input and its own games and a smattering of 3rd party support for quite some time. The Wii was hugely popular and like the Switch started out underperforming the graphics on competing systems and not only survived but prospered. The…ummmm Wii-U on other other hand didn’t do much to capture everyone’s imagination. The Switch was a huge hit.

Hopefully the Switch2 doesn’t firmly establish a "every other one sucks pattern for them :slight_smile:

(I don’t have a strong opinion on the game cube v it’s contemporaries, the SNES was better then other consoles of it’s era, and I think the NES was on-par)

There’s precedent for that, and then there’s precedent for the opposite. Nintendo has had several runaway successes with far less processing power than competitors - but then you have the smash hit PS4 (which while only marginally more powerful than the Xbox One was the most powerful of its generation) while the Wii U was a major flop (I still liked mine, but there sure weren’t a lot of games for it!), in the generation before that the Wii won out in sales numbers but all three major consoles of that gen are very close overall, the GameCube was again trounced by the PS2, and so on. And of course by that point were getting into the messy pre-2000s era where deciding which console is the most powerful becomes increasingly difficult as it’s more down to feature inclusions than processing power (as that was before our current relatively standardized unified graphics architectures).

Still, it’s definitely worth pointing out that having the most powerful console isn’t a recipe for victory. Having the least powerful isn’t either though. It all comes down to a highly complex confluence of factors, from interfaces, audience trends, developer support, first party games, pricing, global economic trends, and much, much more.

But the hardware disparity here is still notable. AFAIK, even with the Wii being much weaker than the X360/PS3, the power disparity was nowhere near the Switch v.XO/PS4 - despite those launching four years before the switch! There has never been a console so popular yet so fundamentally outdated and underpowered in terms of hardware, and certainly not one that has seen the level of third party games and ports from more powerful platforms that the Switch has seen.

1 Like

Starfield is not being ported to Switch, I thought I read today? No mac steam version either.

Hardly surprising - it’s very likely that Starfield (as well as many recent AAA games) is simply too far outside of the capabilites of the Switch hardware, even when accounting for the amazing optimization work done for various other games ported to it. But I think what they were saying here is that they’d want to play Starfield on whatever the successor to the Switch turns out to be, which is far more likely to happen.

1 Like

Regardless the capabilities, the only way Starfield will happen on the Switch 2 is game pass streaming. Microsoft is making a huge deal of this being exclusive. Maybe if Starfield 2 comes out in order to promote that, but considering ES 6 and FO5, that would probably be 2077 or so.

There’s a lot of precedent for exclusives trickling out to other platforms after a few years though, and any Switch port would most likely be handled by a studio specialized in Switch ports simply due to the amount of optimizations necessary and the significant hardware and software differences between it and all other relevant platforms. Still, you might absolutely be right about it not showing up. Not about Game Pass streaming though - there’s no way Nintendo would allow that on their device.

Then again, for anyone needing a portable Starfield fix, the PC gaming handheld market is taking off these days, and no doubt will be going strong for quite a while yet.

Exclusives, yes. Exclusives done by the console manufacturer? The only thing that comes close to that is some of the Sony tent poles coming to PC.

And a significant portion of why that is, is that MS/Xbox hasn’t really focused on exclusives for the past half-decade or so. There have been a few, yes, but mostly timed (i.e. it’s announced from day one that the game will come to other platforms at a later date), but mostly their explicit strategy has been “we don’t care what platform you play on as long as you buy our games or pay for Game Pass” - in part acknowledging that PC gaming is arguably more significant than Xbox gaming, at least in mindshare (I can’t remember a single Xbox console exclusive game from the past half decade or more, but I’m sure I’ve missed something). Which is of course in perfect alignment with the traditional console strategy of hardware being a loss leader driving the sale of profitable software, but with a contemporary “software distribution is essentially free” twist. Of course a significant portion of the reasoning behind this is likely that Xbox has a significantly lower market share and mindshare than Playstation, making exclusives inherently less profitable (unless they’re so good that they drive console sales, which is really rare these days). Nintendo on the other hand is notoriously walled off, conservative and slow to change, to the degree that the Swich is revolutionary in its openness to third party developers. Seeing actual Nintendo games on competing consoles or PC won’t happen unless there is a massive culture change in the company, which is extremely unlikely.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.