The Nintendo Switch has probably been one of the most talked about pieces of technology this year. Lots of mystery was surrounding the device when it was known as the NX, and just as much mystery is still present now that we know the truth. But there's something remarkable about it all, and Nvidia's CEO explains why.
Speaking to VentureBeat, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang talked about why the technology for the Nintendo Switch beckoned for Nvidia's involvement. He also explained why this particular machine from Nintendo is remarkable enough to warrant such time and dedication for them to have crafted a proprietary design based on their Tegra platform...
In the case of Switch, it was such a ground-breaking design. Performance matters, because games are built on great performance, but form factor and energy efficiency matter incredibly, because they want to build something that's portable and transformable. The type of gameplay they want to enable is like nothing the world has so far. It's a scenario where two great engineering teams, working with their creative teams, needed to hunker down. Several hundred engineering years went into building this new console. It's the type of project that really inspires us, gets us excited. It's a classic win-win.
I can only imagine the heart ache and frustrations borne from the creative roundtable to turn the Nintendo Switch into a reality. Some people have said that it's not that innovative and there's nothing inherently special about the Switch. But there's a lot happening with this little device that not only separates it from the home consoles, but from other portable gaming devices and even creates separation from the standard tablet and smartphone market.
For one, the ability to keep playing from your living room right into portability is groundbreaking. Every other device out there usually requires a soft boot or a reboot or being shut down before it goes from the television screen to your pocket while performing intensive GPU tasks. Keeping something like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild open and running while you switch from portable play to home living room play without skipping a beat is remarkable. It will be fascinating to see what the Nintendo Switch docking station is like to make that possible in such a smooth transition while scaling the resolution and fidelity for output on the TV.
There's also the multiplayer factor, which has always been an important component for Nintendo. They really do value the family gaming concept, and this time they've managed to capture that concept in the form of something that still honors the local and online multiplayer model- whether it's portable or docked in front of your TV. For instance, two people can sit down at the couch and play Mario Kart 8 in split-screen, but then they can also play split-screen in Mario Kart 8 while the Nintendo Switch is portable by using the detachable controllers as player 1 and player 2 control schemes. It's brilliantly complex.
It will be fascinating to better understand how they've made the multiplayer work with the Nintendo Switch and see it tested under various play conditions.
I'm sure a lot of people are also terribly fascinated to know where the Tegra-style GPU benchmarks compared to the Xbox One and PS4, but we'll have to wait a while before that data becomes public. But there's no denying that the Nintendo Switch is something unique -- remarkable even, according to Nvidia. Whether or not this "remarkable" technology will translate into sales for the Big 'N' is a whole other story.