Porting games over to Nintendo Switch might be easy

Nintendo's new Switch console-handheld duo has strong third-party support, and NVIDIA CEO Jen Hsun-Huang hints porting games over might be easy.

Published Wed, Nov 16 2016 3:33 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 11:57 AM CST

One of the major worries about Nintendo's new Switch handheld-and-console hybrid is games--specifically if it's easy for developers to port their games onto. The Wii U, in comparison, failed because it was a nightmare for developers. Considering the Switch has massive third-party support from the greatest devs and publishers in the games industry, one could assume that porting its quite easy and efficient, as NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang seems to hint.

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During NVIDIA's most recent financial earnings call, company CEO Jen-Hsun Huang mentions that the Nintendo Switch shares a link to existing platforms like PC, PS4 and Xbox One. This could possibly hint that the system is equipped with specific optimizations and tools to allow easy porting of existing and upcoming console and PC games.

"The quality of games has grown significantly. And one of the factors of production value of games that has been possible is because the PC and the two game consoles, Xbox and PlayStation, and in the future - in the near-future, the Nintendo Switch, all of these architectures are common in the sense that they all use modern GPUs, they all use programmable shading and they all have basically similar features."

NVIDIA has poured several hundreds of engineering years into developing Nintendo Switch's highly customized tech, forging an efficient next-gen 16nm FinFET Tegra SoC (System-on-Chip) based on the company's powerful Pascal GPU architecture.

As a result of NVIDIA's fine-tuned hardware, the Nintendo Switch will be capable of delivering console-grade gaming while on-the-go, a feat that most self-contained handhelds can't accomplish properly--especially any hardware from Nintendo's rivals at Sony and Microsoft.

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Read Also: NVIDIA says gamers will be amazed with Nintendo Switch

Like its predecessor, NVIDIA's new 16nm Tegra processor (formally known as Parker) use 64-bit ARM architecture instead of x86, which is used by developers to make PC and console games. Despite the architectural discrepancy between the Nintendo Switch's ARM-based chips and the x86-based Xbox One, PS4 and PC, Hsun-Huang mentions that all the platforms share "similar architectural features" that allows devs to "target one common code base."

"They have very different design points, they have different capabilities, but they have very similar architectural features. As a result of that, game developers can target a much larger install base with one common code base and, as a result, they can increase the production quality, production value of the games."

The NVIDIA CEO doesn't come right out and say the Nintendo Switch will be easy to develop games on, of course. The Japanese console-maker is keen on keeping a portion of the console's features and capabilities secret until it airs the full specs, launch games, pricing and all the other Switch details during a special event on January 12.

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Read Also: Nintendo Switch may have 4GB shared memory pool

Apart from its portability, the Switch's main selling point is being able to easily swap gameplay experiences back and forth; players can take their full game and game saves and continue their experiences while out and about, and then seamlessly swap the system back into its dock when they arrive home to keep the experience going. It's this unique non-interruption gaming that intrigues most gamers out there.

Being able to take huge open-world games like Skyrim with us virtually anywhere is quite attractive, and we might even be able to enjoy Skyrim with mods on-the-go thanks to the Switch.

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The Nintendo Switch will be available March 2017, and check below for a massive list of everything we know about the console-handheld hybrid so far.

Everything we know about Nintendo Switch so far:

Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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