The Nintendo Switch is essentially a gaming tablet. This is the approach I am taking in regards to measuring my expectations. Just like Project Scorpio, we don’t know much about the Nintendo Switch. That said, there is still more information about the Switch, than Scorpio. I’ve put together features to still be concerned about, and what I still want to know. Since there is so little information, majority of this is speculation.
CPU & GPU
The Switch has been rumored to be receiving the NVidia Tegra X1. This is a mobile chip which is intended for tablets like this device. The Tegra X1 is the first mobile chip that is capable of 1 teraflop performance. The Xbox One is capable of 1.3 teraflops, while the PS4 is capable of 1.84 teraflops. All 3 devices are octacore. That said, will the Switch really be capable of providing the experiences they showed? I do not think so, but it will be fairly close. The chip also supports the following: Unreal Engine 4, DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, CUDA, OpenGL ES 3.1 and the Android Extension Pack. This gives use a good idea of what it is capable of CPU and GPU wise. I love the play anywhere idea behind the Switch, but the games will be downgraded.
There is a small chance that by the time it comes out, it may receive the NVidia Tetra X2 instead. Since NVidia just announced Tetra X2 recently, the full specifications are not available yet, but NVidia confirmed that it would have 1.5 teraflops. I sincerely hope this is what Nintendo will do. This would absolutely increase the capabilities. It very early to assume these things, but given that past mobile devices have not been able to output the same graphical quality as a stand-alone console, I doubt it will perform as well as the announcement made it appear.
Cartridges & Storage
Nintendo is going to a cartridge model again. I hear “cartridge”, but when I see them, I think “that’s practically an SD card." Calling it a cartridge makes it appear that Nintendo is appealing to the fan base with a hit straight to the nostalgia. I know they’re not technically SD cards, but they might as well be. The recommended cartridge size is 32 GB, but with the games like Call of Duty, Battlefield and The Witcher 3, I’m sure that it will require more storage. This makes me curious how much internal memory will the device have.
This brings me to my next point. I want to talk about the dock for a moment. Nintendo has not given any information as to what the dock does, besides charge the tablet and project the tablet to your TV. I would hope that there’s a hard drive in there for downloaded games and other features. Keep in mind, this is all speculation, so don’t quote me on these features if they don’t happen. If Nintendo can do this, then the Switch would have to have a Wi-Fi streaming ability with the tablet. This is the only way to be able to play those games that are on the hard drive in the dock, wirelessly. If you’re able to use the dock for that kind of support, will you also be able to use the dock independently? Again, if there is a hard drive in the dock. It is very likely that it does nothing, but charge and display.
The hot topic as of right now seems to be better life. It’s a hot topic for a good reason, because it’s the most important part about being able to play a game while on the go. There needs to be proper battery life, otherwise gamers will not be able to stay out very long and play their games. At least not for as long as they played in the video. So here are my questions and concerns about the battery life. Number one, the battery type is very important to the ability of being able to fast charge but also the longevity of the battery life. Nintendo also needs to make sure that the battery doesn’t have the same issue as Samsung’s Note 7 have had. I don’t want the device to catch fire, and/or explode.
Just like my phone and tablet, there are many apps and games that will drain the battery very, very quickly. This begs the question, will there be certain games that require higher support, that will it drain your battery faster than a simple Mario game? For this device to succeed, in my opinion, Nintendo will need an extremely light operating system. If the Switch OS is anything like I’ve seen on current consoles, it will not perform as well on a mobile gaming tablet without eating battery life. If this is the case, Nintendo needs to make sure that the tablet can be charged outside of the dock. What type of charging port will they use? USB type-c seems to be the best option.
There have also been rumors that the Switch will work with other gaming consoles, which I highly doubt. I don’t see the need for this ability, unless Nintendo only wants to sell these as game tablets to get more revenue. It may be convenient to have the Xbox and PlayStation streaming apps, but this would truly surprise me if it was possible.
I’m not sure what the wireless controller that they displayed with the Nintendo switch is, but I assume it is Bluetooth. The Switch will not compatible with Bluetooth controllers from Sony or Microsoft. Nintendo will definitely take advantage of the opportunity to make a variety of different gamepads. There may even be special gamepads for particular games with different functionalities. Those would obviously come at an additional charge, no doubt.
Judging by the look of that little kickstand, I am a bit worried about the durability of this device. I don’t know about you, but I have dropped several expensive phones and tablets. That kickstand looks like it would pop right off if not taken care of properly. Once it broke off, how would I get a repair? Ugh, it just sounds painfully time consuming for something so small.
I would say you could buy a case, but that thing looks like it fits real snug in the dock, so you’d probably have to remove the case when you dock it. Then there’s the issue of sliding the controllers on the sides. It doesn’t sound like a case would be the way to go either. All in all, the Switch needs to be extremely durable.
Lastly, before everyone gets all excited about the Nintendo Switch, I need to talk about the price. Nintendo has not announced any price, nor have they released a date of when the price is available. If Nintendo does what they did with the Wii, they will mark up the price for more than what it actually cost to make. If this is the case, expect a price similar to an iPad Pro or a Surface Pro. Judging by the specifications with the dock and the tablet, I see a price range from $350 to $800, depending on the possibility of a dock hard drive and Tegra X2 situation.
If Nintendo can keep the price down below $450, then it will have the Tegra X1 and the dock will just be the charging and display station. There are rumors that the price was leaked at $299, but there is no way they will make any profit. They will be selling this at a profit, like they’ve done many times in the past. Nintendo already know that the Nintendo faithful will absolutely buy the device.
Don’t get super hyped about a device you know so little about. Nintendo will keep their mouths shut until sometime next year, so be patient. There will be many rumors of leaks, but be sure to take them with a grain of salt. Don’t get me wrong. I am looking forward to the Nintendo Switch, if they deliver on what they showcased. As soon as I finished watching the announcement, I immediately remember having the same feeling when I saw the Kinect announcement. Lots of staged events that never turned out (ie. Milo). Let’s just pray that it’s not the same outcome with the Nintendo Switch.