Since the reveal of the Nintendo Switch, there has been a constant string of naysayers that have done their best to downplay the system on every front. “The price is too high, it will never sell!”, “It’s too weak to make good games!”, and “It won’t get third party support!” are battle cries for a crowd that would seemingly rather hate on Nintendo than enjoy games. Every single argument they make continues to be debunked as the Nintendo Switch keeps trucking from one success to another.
The $300 price point has not hurt the Nintendo Switch in the slightest. The hybrid console is still consistently selling through allotted stock, and after playing with the Nintendo Switch myself, it’s not hard to see why: The portability of console quality games is something I never knew I needed this badly. It honestly feels like I got an extremely good deal on a decent home console and the best, most powerful handheld on the market.
To see why the price point of the Nintendo Switch feels like a deal, one need only compare it to the last generation of Nintendo hardware. A Wii U and ‘new’ 3DS XL would run gamers at least $450 plus tax. The Nintendo Switch in handheld mode can run games better than the Wii U, and has the go anywhere appeal of the 3DS, but with higher quality games. The 720p display has a beefy 296 pixels per inch, which is on par with Apple fans’ beloved “Retina display.” The handheld mode looks gorgeous, as most people will be unable to distinguish individual pixels without holding the Nintendo Switch close to their face, unlike the awful looking 3DS and Wii U displays. All of this in a console that’s smaller than the Wii U’s controller.
What about the lack of power though?
Power isn’t as necessary as many people think it is. Very few games have made great use of the increased power of the PS4 and XB1. Aside from visuals and cosmetic effects, what has changed about Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, Injustice, Grand Theft Auto, etc. on the PS4 and XB1 that makes it impossible to run those games on weaker hardware? Nothing.
Games can be scaled down and optimized to run on on the Nintendo Switch. Metal Gear Solid V is the perfect example of a vast, realistic open world that was “next gen” when it released, but scaled down to to run in a feature complete state on the PS3 and XB360. Seeing as the Nintendo Switch is stronger than those two platforms, and only needs to render at 720p in the handheld mode, people shouldn’t be pretending that passable ports are some sort of impossibility.
In fact, we now know that creating passable ports of PS4 and XB1 games for the Nintendo Switch will be easier than anyone ever imagined.
Nintendo recently collaborated with the Japanese branch of Epic Games to give a lecture titled “Switch & Unreal: Making Game Development More Unreal.” The purpose of said lecture was to illustrate the ease of porting Unreal Engine 4 games to Nintendo Switch. How easy is it? To make an UE4 game run on the Nintendo Switch, developers “only need to push a button.” The game will still need to be optimized for the hardware, but the overall process is incredibly simple and efficient.
Epic Games Japan’s Noriaki Shinoyama highlighted this ease of porting by taking UE4 project “CASA BARRAGAN” and running it on the Nintendo Switch. The resolution was dropped to 720p in order for it to run, but this was without any adjustments. The speakers then claimed it should be possible for the demo to reach 1080p with further refinements and optimization. Nintendo went out of their way to make Nintendo Switch ports easy, and it looks like it will pay off spectacularly.
Now that we know how easy it is to port UE4 games to the Nintendo Switch, I thought it would be best to end this article with a reminder that there are 20 UE4 powered Nintendo Switch games coming from Japan, and leaving a small list of notable UE4 games that we know are currently in development:
- Kingdom Hearts 3
- Final Fantasy VII Remake
- Tekken 7
- Injustice 2
- Shin Megami Tensei
- Psychonauts 2
- Unreal Tournament
- Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
- Code Vein
- Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
- Ace Combat 7
- Ark Survival Evolved
- Dragon Quest XI
- Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
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