Porting Games to Nintendo Switch Could be Difficult

/ 2 years ago

Porting Games to Nintendo Switch Could be Difficult

While we await the official reveal of the Nintendo Switch’s hardware specifications – the unveiling of the Japanese company’s new console is set to occur in less than two weeks – we have to rely on leaks and insider speculation to get an idea of what the gaming platform can achieve. We do know that the Switch will be powered by a custom NVIDIA Tegra chip, strongly rumoured to be the Maxwell-based X1. If that turns out to be true, it could be difficult for developers to port existing games to Nintendo’s new console.

Sebastian Aaltonen – a former lead renderer at Ubisoft and co-founder of Second Order – revealed on the Beyond3D forums that, assuming the leaked specs are real, it’s unlikely that we’ll see many multiplatform titles released for the Switch:

Aaltonen (aka Sebbbi) writes:

“Around 50% of modern game engine frame time goes to running compute shaders (lighting, post processing, AA, AO, reflections, etc). Maxwell’s tiled rasterizer has zero impact on compute shaders. 25.6 GB/s is pretty low as everybody knows that 68 GB/s of Xbox One isn’t that great either. ESRAM is needed to reach good performance. But I am talking about the POV of down porting current gen games to Switch. Switch certainly fares well against last gen consoles, and Maxwell’s tiled rasterizer would certainly help older pixel + vertex shader based renderers. Too bad last gen consoles already got their last big AAA releases year ago. Easy ports between Xbox 360 and Switch are not available anymore. Xbox One is a significantly faster hardware. Straightforward code port is not possible. Content also needs to be simplified.”

The Nintendo Switch is to be publicly unveiled at an event on 12th January, prior to its release sometime in March. Pricing is yet to be announced.

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