Trio of devs share preliminary Switch thoughts - power, NVIDIA development, what they're excited for - Nintendo Everything

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Trio of devs share preliminary Switch thoughts – power, NVIDIA development, what they’re excited for

Posted on January 8, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Switch

Well before NX was known as Switch, GamesTM spoke with three developers about the system. The UK magazine previously caught up with DrinkBox co-founder Graham Smith, Rebellion Developments co-founder Chris Kingsley, and Zen Studios VP of Publishing Mel Kirk. Now that we’re starting to get an idea as to what Switch actually is (though much more so next month), GamesTM once again posed some questions to these game makers.

You can read the full Q&A about Switch in this month’s issue of GamesTM. However, we did pick out some excerpts below. Smith, Kingsley, and Kirk shared some thoughts about Switch’s power, developing with NVIDIA hardware, and what they’re most excited about.

On whether they get the impression Switch is offering more power for developers to tap into…

MK: At the moment, the Nintendo Switch does not appear to be about system horsepower or technology that takes consoles to new heights. Rather, Nintendo is positioning the device as a home console that can be taken on the go, providing a gaming experience that can continue without interruption. While the technology available to do that is already readily available, Nintendo does have a way of enticing its long-faithful fan base with an exciting first-party library, which should lead to the tech being adopted popularly. Add in reinvigorated third-party support to boundary-pushing technology and raw processing power likely won’t matter.

CK: It is natural for developers to focus on more power for consoles, but it’s never really seemed to be Nintendo’s priority. For me, the power argument rests on getting near parity with other consoles to make it easier to bring your games onto multiple platforms. When there’s a big difference in power it’s a harder job and the risk-reward equation shifts. Switch is definitely more powerful, especially for those used to mobile platforms, but perhaps not powerful enough for some – especially those used to triple-A development. These days, of course, there’s quite a wide and diverse range of game types, so there’s a lot more opportunity for all developers.

On whether Switch will be a better platform to build on than Wii U due to it being NVIDIA-based…

CK: If development is more akin to other “standard” ways of working, that should help make life easier for developers in general, so we can spend more time making games great and less just making games work.

GS: I’m not familiar with the technology being used in the Switch, but development for the Wii U was not difficult at all in our experience. Nintendo has been in the console business for so long at this point that I’d be very surprised
if they did anything to make working with the Switch hardware more difficult than working with their previous consoles.

MK: Most developers have had experience working with Nvidia’s tech at some point. Their tools and tech are really easy to integrate, so yes, I think this makes the Switch platform much easier if not better to develop for than Wii U.

On the elements of Switch that excites them the most, of what’s been revealed…

CK: I like the flexibility of the controllers. In short, they bring new opportunities and of course new challenges.

GS: Of what’s been revealed so far, the portability of the console has me the most excited. I travel a lot, and love the idea of what Nintendo is offering with the Switch. I’m picturing myself exploring Zelda dungeons in my tent late at night while camping, or playing Smash Bros against my neighbor on the flight to GDC.

MK: For me, it’s being able to play a console quality Mario or Zelda game and take it with me when it’s time to leave the house.

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  • TDude73

    …and nothing but the truth!

  • NintendoPSXTheSecond

    Power issue is concerning but at this point I’ve stopped caring. If the Switch is successful I wouldn’t be surprised for a Switch PRO or whatever.

    • RoadyMike

      If nothing else, I’d rather rhe NS be powerful enough for things like a Switch plus/pro or the like to be unnecessary

      • KnightWonder

        With what the Switch is, that isn’t happening.

      • Jefferson Boldrin Cardozo

        I’m not sure if a “New” or “Pro” revision is a matter of being necessary or not. If the original 3DS or PS4 didn’t offered a good enough experience there probably wouldn’t be an improved version.

        But some people just want more, and don’t mind paying more for that, and if Nintendo manages to stabilish the Switch as a good system, some people may want an improved version.

    • amak11

      It’s not that concerning. Besides “pro” is a stupid name

      • NintendoPSXTheSecond

        One could argue all console names are stupid. Play Station? 64? Gamecube? Xbox?

        • awng781

          I think he means “pro” is stupid in the sense that Sony already did it with the PS4 Pro.

          • NintendoPSXTheSecond

            It was merely an example. Nintendo can call it anything they want.

    • hi v3.0

      Right ? Just like the New 3DS

    • ForeVision

      4 days, and then we can hopefully lay this power debate to rest.

    • TheDrunkenClam

      You want power, build a PC. Whenever someone mentions power in the same sentence as console, I just have to cringe.
      Consoles being underpowered are what holds back the potential of games on the PC in many cases.
      Nintendo makes great games, that’s why I will buy the Switch. When I want good graphics, I’ll play on my PC.

  • KnightWonder

    So long as it’s easy to develop for and port to, that’s all I care about when it comes to its power.

    • amak11

      The Wii U was easy…. Tech specs are usually the reason for “difficult” ports

      • Segata Sanshiro

        Wii U was tricky because of a odd and outdated architecture plus Nintendo’s API GX2 was not very friendly to developers. NS is seemingly using Vulkan a very Dev friendly API plus a more modern chipset

        • NintendoPSXTheSecond

          Which is equally odd considering lots of other developers equally claiming the Wii U wasn’t hard to develop for.

  • awng781

    Do these devs actually have Switch dev kits, or are they speculating like everyone else based on rumors?? I’m not saying there insight isn’t appreciated, because it is, but I’m just wondering about their position in the situation.

    • ben

      I doubt they have seen a dev kit.

    • Valliebpasternak

      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj394d:
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    • BreadFish64

      I think the dev kits were just tegra x1 boards

  • Abra

    i think the Switch will sell as well as the 3DS maybe a bit less..

    • Aline Piroutek

      DS Master Race. Nothing will surpass the king.

    • hi v3.0

      Sounds reasonable

  • link2metroid

    “Switch is definitely more powerful, especially for those used to mobile platforms, but perhaps not powerful enough for some – especially those used to triple-A development.”

    And that right there is why I think Switch will fail. It’s partly about perceptions, and a large chunk of the market will perceive the Switch as being weak and therefore ignore it.

    • awng781

      It will be Nintendo’s job to convince the mass market why power won’t matter when the console is also a portable. Whether they succeed in that has yet to be determined. I remain cautiously optimistic.

      • Michelermarshall

        Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj318d:
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    • ronin4life

      The same market that will ignore and hate Scorpio but loves PS4 Pro/slim.

      It’s not partly about perception, it is 100% about perception

    • ForeVision

      I would challenge that perception: What is power? Are we talking portability? Specs? Graphics? What is it that power truly means? If games can be ported readily, and yet they run well, with at least reasonable graphics (as in have even Monster Hunter look better) then I do not see why a power argument should hold that much weight. People who truly want power, invest in a PC, that no console could hope to match for at least a couple of years, so what is power? Why would it be overwhelmingly important?

      • KnickKnackMyWack

        I think peoples’ first thought is graphics and anyone with more knowedge and experience will understand it’s about processing power. Nintendo systems have historically great GPUs but lower clocked processors and I believe that is typically to prevent them from overheating Xbox 360-style.

        But yes, anyone who is silly enough to get into a specs debate needs to buckle down and get a PC. Consoles are not for you if specs are the forefront of your thought when decided to buy hardware.

        • ForeVision

          They have to be an acceptable at a functional level, as we all know they can’t match a PC. That said, they do affect the scope of the games made for said console, and can severely limit a dev’s creativity etc, which is why it should at least be able to handle ambitious games in my opinion.

          • NintendoPSXTheSecond

            Perhaps maybe this time, if a Nintendo console actually matches sales of PS4 and Xbone, it will be less about power and developers will have their games multiplat on Switch too because it equally sells. Power is very important but so is money, even more so. Even if the Wii U was powerful enough to run games we saw on Xbone and PS4, we didn’t get them since it’d incur a sales loss for the company.

            I think this time, developers will be keenly looking at the sales and if it truly has a viable market against the giant of the PS4 and the soon to come Scorpio.

          • ForeVision

            Actually this brings me to a question: Why do you think the PS4 sold as much as it did, considering it had a line-up of mostly remasters?

            As for what you’ve typed, yes I think that if Nintendo can get both handheld and console people on board, and into a sizeable base, then I doubt developers would/could afford to ignore the Switch.

          • DeltaPeng

            Good point, I’d say ease of software portability (like others have mentioned) is pretty important, as that is a time/resource cost, and if it’s easy then more devs could be enticed to at least release a digital copy of their game onto the Switch.

            The large factor, as you mention, is install base. The more people who own the system, the more potential sales a dev can get. The Wii had so many users that 3rd party dev swarmed to it, makes sense.

            The software portability at least sounds like it’s better than before, so now I hope Nintendo gets the sales right. The hype is there, the hope now is that Nintendo creates enough Switch units to satisfy all pre-orders plus a plentiful supply within stores. Part of selling it is production, and as people have said over and over, the value the system presents (price, specs, strong launch line up, etc).

            As a fan who will get the Switch, I’m primarily hoping they get the production issue right, they can’t afford to short-bake these or otherwise prevent people from buying them on demand (or shortly soon after).

          • awng781

            “Why do you think the PS4 sold as much as it did, considering it had a line-up of mostly remasters?”

            Have you seen the PS4 lineup?? Even if you ignore all the remasters, there are still plenty of new games for consumers to enjoy. Those new games may not interest you personally, but they are certainly there, and should not be disregarded.

          • ForeVision

            I do not know about the PS4’s exact line-up, only the couple of games that good friend of mine has that has a PS4. Point out to me which games are good according to you then, since I am more of an old-school gamer who does not give a toss about things like the annual CoD or Fifa.

          • NintendoPSXTheSecond

            Because for most it was a choice of Xbox or PS4 for their games. Xbox ruined themselves at E3, so Sony got a free pass. Plus, everyone knows the games would come eventually and they have (though it took a while).

          • ForeVision

            I’ve seen E3, but I never think too much of it. Could you elaborate how Xbox ruined themselves at E3?

            I do wonder who would come out on top, if all the next consoles got the same third-party games at least.

          • NintendoPSXTheSecond

            What didn’t they ruin?
            – DRM service
            – Focus on TV
            – Lack of being able to use shared/used games
            – High price point

            Just a few of many.

          • ForeVision

            I did hear that Microsoft focused more on being a “media device” rather than gaming console, which is what you’re confirming.

            Perhaps a little off-topic but, what is your take on Nintendo “avoiding” competition?

          • NintendoPSXTheSecond

            It’s fine to avoid being just another product but that shouldn’t mean them forsaking the actual components inside to be able to “compete” with the rest. Unique does not have to equal underpowered.

          • ForeVision

            If anything I hope it does have quite the bit of power, because I’m very curious to see what, in specific, Monolith Soft can do with such hardware. And of course (hopefully) getting good third-parties again.

            I’ve got the feeling those specs will be alright, especially after seeing what they can cram in that super thin laptop of Razer’s.

    • smashbrolink

      Well, From Software has Dark Souls 3 running on it, in their own words, “at a level they are happy with”, and that’s a decidedly AAA game.
      I think he’s just talking about the unreasonably graphics-heavy stuff that only runs at a truly smooth rate on the Pro, which will not be the majority of AAA games.
      Heck, the team behind ME Andromeda said a port later, if the Switch sells, isn’t out of the question.
      They wouldn’t leave that door open, if the Switch couldn’t handle the game at all.

      • R.Z.

        In a light trolling spirit I would say that From Software being happy with how their games are running is … not much to get excited about.

    • SortableShelf19
  • “development for the Wii U was not difficult at all in our experience”

  • Kenshin0011

    Power will certainly become an issue after its first year being out, unless it gets an external GPU accessory. Without it, it likely won’t be able to handle most AAA multiplats. The console could still of course be a commercial success without those titles, but who knows…I’d love to see a Nintendo console with the same multiplats more or less like during the GameCube days

    • ronin4life

      Decent Laptops can handle most modern multiplats when devs actually optimize their games. Horsepower isn’t a driving factor and arguably has never been.

      Triple A devs didn’t turn down the Ps2 back in the day. They increased focus on lighter machines like Macs and low end PC’s all throughout last gen and won’t be ditching standard Xbones any time soon either. So why would Switch magically be different?

      • Kenshin0011

        Well firstly, no one knows full or final specs, so this is speculation all around.

        Given the rumored specs that I believe are likely about correct, the Switch will be considerably weaker than Xbone. That’d make this a much different situation than the PS2 generation. It’d take more than simple optimization. Considerable downscaling could be required, and I don’t think many AAA devs will water down their giant games that much to put them on Switch, regardless of its sales.

        Devs will already be wringing their fingers to downscale the eventual games that will run spectacularly on Scorpio to also support the weak Xbox One. Going even further down to Switch levels seems unlikely to me.

      • AJK

        This. Scalability is the key word. If the tools that it seems Nvidea have built help devs release games from xbone and ps4 that can be scaled to Switch then no worries. Plus any game built using Unreal 4 are going to be very easy to release on Switch.

        • JustGaming

          Exactly. Graphical parity may not be 100% achievable, but the ports will be easier. This is key in the long-term.

    • smashbrolink

      Well, From Software has Dark Souls 3 running on it, in their own words, “at a level they are happy with”, and that’s a decidedly AAA game.

      I think he’s just talking about the unreasonably graphics-heavy stuff that only runs at a truly smooth rate on the Pro, which will not be the majority of AAA games.

      Heck, the team behind ME Andromeda said a port later, if the Switch sells, isn’t out of the question.

      They wouldn’t leave that door open, if the Switch couldn’t handle the game at all.
      I don’t think you have any cause for worry.

      • JustGaming

        The whole DS3 thing is a rumour at present, albeit more believable since LKD has commented on it. If they bring a HD compilation over to Switch, I’ll be grateful for my reinforced monitor screen due to every ounce of spare change that will be thrown at it.

  • Samma

    So i see they asked the opinions of an Indie dev (fair enough, but I question his expertise with highly hardware-demanding software), a co-founder of a company I have little reason to believe he’ll ever make a game for Switch and someone who doesn’t do coding, but publishing.

    I don’t see this article as very informative about the Switch’s capabilities.

  • ForeVision

    Triple A development? As in bugs and day-one patches? Oh yes, I am used to those alright. Stable frame-rates, well running games, third and first party and good ports, that ‘s what I’d like to see.

  • The truth-ier

    Being under powered and gimmicky has worked well before….sigh.
    And while the wii sold a ton, the third party support dried up due to crap software sales.
    And now you have the same thing for every console launch…third parties are onboard(same as wii and wii u), then when the system gets past its 3 months of die hard supporters, and it falls to number 3 in sales, rinse and repeat.
    PS4-XBOX ONE- SWITCH(i didnt add wii u because they obviously killed it).
    PS4 50 million lead, xbox one 35 million lead…… so the switch will obviously be like the last two nintendo systems when it comes to major 3rd party game releases…an afterthought. Wii and Wii U have shown that nintendo first party games sell good to great, but it does not translate to anyone else.

    • ForeVision

      It depends on a number of different factors. One thing you forget, is that yes the previous systems had “gimmicks” but this one isn’t really a gimmick, it’s a control method, an opportunity to play your console games on the go and this will potentially (not certainly, since it’s not even out yet) bring 2 markets together: The home-console and the handheld.

      Tapping into both those markets with 1 system, should be too enticing not to go with, is my guess.

  • metalpants

    Lol I’m surprised by the level of ignorance in the comment section on this one.

    Check the actual link guys, lol. This interview is from June. These devs are essentially giving their opinion on the “NX” based on their individual experiences with Nintendo during the Wii U console cycle.

    I’m really not sure what’s with the timing of releasing this interview now (especially when it’s such a sensitive time concerning the Switch’s specs/power) but everyone just ate it up as if it was relevant.

    Why are some of you guys taking *dated opinions* as fact? Nothing in this interview represents what’s transpired in the past couple of months since the unveil. I’m still pretty puzzled by the timing you guys at NE chose to post this up. But oh well. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  • azoreseuropa

    We will buy it if a 3rd party is fully support like PS4 because if it is not then we are not going to waste our money at all. Be wise. Do your homework. Just wait to see if 3rd party is fully support.

  • JJ

    So it won’t have 3rd party AAA games, I have a bad feeling about this…the Switch will be marginally more successful than the WiiU when all is said and done. There will be some good games for it (mostly from Nintendo), but I don’t forsee major 3rd party support. If they kill the 3DS as well (a fantastic system) it’ll be doubly bad for Nintendo in 2018-2019.