Fans Must Calm Down about The Nintendo Switch 4K Rumor
As the video game world anticipates the release of Sony and Microsoft’s next-generation consoles, the Nintendo Switch remains the most popular platform across the industry. On September 9th, Bloomberg published a report indicating that Nintendo increased its annual target of Switch console sales by 120 percent. While the statistics are impressive, Bloomberg revealed another pivotal detail concerning the Switch: Nintendo has asked developers to make their games 4K ready. Fans responded with profuse enthusiasm; however, the staff at GamingROI believes fans should temper expectations. Let’s dive in.
Component Availability & Performance
It is no secret that Nvidia’s Tegra line of products rely heavily upon Nintendo Switch sales. Released in 2015, the Tegra X1 powers the Nintendo Switch with 8BG of RAM and a 256-core GPU. During the first half of 2020, revenue from the Tegra X1 fell by 26 percent as a result of production problems for the Nintendo Switch. Sales have rebounded; however, the Nvidia Tegra X1 chip is nearing the end of its life-cycle. Automakers and other tech companies also rely on Nvidia product and are demanding higher performance. As these users transition to newer processors, Nvidia has less incentive to produce the outdated Tegra X1 model for Nintendo.
If the Bloomberg report is true, Nintendo will need to upgrade the internal processor. To render native 4K graphics, the tech industry recommends at least 16GB of RAM and 8 TFLOPs of GPU power. While native 4K remains a challenge, processors can upscale to 4K with slightly lower specs. For this reason, Nintendo is likely eyeing the Nvidia Xavier processor. Released in early 2019, the Xavier NX model boasts 32GB of RAM and 6 TFLOPS of GPU performance, which could increase the Nintendo Switch’s performance to similar levels as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and allow for upscale 4K gaming.
Given the graphical limitations of the current Switch model, the news of a “Pro” upgrade is exciting. If Nintendo releases a Switch upgrade, the question then shifts to the games that the enhanced console could support. While a transition to the Nvidia Xavier processor likely opens the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 libraries, the concern of platform exclusivity quickly surfaces.
Seven of the ten best-selling PlayStation 4 games are console-exclusive titles. These titles include Uncharted 4, God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Horizon Zero Dawn, and The Last of Us Remastered. Sony has no incentive to release these titles on a Nintendo platform; therefore, Nintendo is dependent upon cross-platform options. The most notable cross-platform titles include Grand Theft Auto V, Call of Duty, Fallout 4, and other first-person shooters. Although the aforementioned titles remain popular, none are likely to drive sales of an upgraded Switch model.
The analysis begs the question: what studios is Nintendo targeting with a Switch upgrade? The most sensible answer is the company’s host of first and second-party studios along with a select few third-party developers. The latter is the most obscure; however, Ubisoft, Platinum Games, Capcom, and Square Enix are presumably at the top of Nintendo’s list of third-party developers. While rumors of an upgraded Switch could result in expanded third-party support from these companies, platform exclusivity remains an issue that performance cannot overcome. As a result, fans should temper expectations concerning a Nintendo Switch 4K model.
But we want to know what you think. Do you believe that Nintendo will release a Switch 4K model next year? What games would you like to see ported to the console? Let us know in the comments below or the social media links on the right. Also, be sure to check out our other news items on Mario, Zelda, Modern Warfare, Blizzard and more.
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