dartmonkey

Modest Tech: The NX Generation (Nintendo Switch)

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Fallon is such a fake, but Reggie's body was ready. The Switch was shown at The Tonight Show.

 

 

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I powered through that to see the Switch and Miyamoto being embarrassed in the audience (with Bill Trinen next to him as a sort of guard against fanboys, perhaps?). Fallon was his usual 200% All Enthusiastic American self. That's usually the reason I can't watch him, but I did buy his extreme enthusiasm in this regard, which made his antics borderline tolerable. The couple moments where he can't believe he's going to play Zelda in the most bashful way were even cute. Seeing the Switch in action was cool. I was struck by how thin the device was, for some reason.

 

Reggie has only one mode, I think: "E3 presentation".

 

:reggie:

 

He does it well, even if this called for maybe a bit more of a casual approach. Still endearing though! Reggie can do no wrong.

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Currently making the rounds is this: http://m.neogaf.com/showthread.php?t=1323269 (via: http://www.gameblog.fr/news/64355-seasons-of-heaven-exclusif-nintendo-switch-premieres-photos-)

 

Post-climate-change-apocalypse, starring a small child boy with Asperger's and his telepathic French bulldog, based on a novel by the same name: Seasons of Heaven.

 

SeasonsofHeaven_NX_Editeur_004.jpg

 

Looks pretty! Who knows if it's real! Seems plausible enough to me, barring the pre-January reveal, but since Switch was on Fallon last night, maybe that was an NDA date for some people making games.

 

Anyway Laura Dale also mentioned it, and as we all know she's the most trustworthy (???).

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Is it just me or is Reggie becoming bald? At the point when they started Zelda and Reggie was playing the game and looking at the screen wall away from camera.

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re: Fallon appearance. Oof. I don't know why he pretends that it's a surprise to him. There's no way that they do a whole tech setup and rehearsal and he's not aware, right? There's a way to do promotional work in a respectable way, but he came off as a real shill. Or maybe I just really dislike Fallon.... Reminds me of a kid unwrapping his most-sought-after present and while he's tearing open the packaging he's reciting all of the marketing bullet points out loud to everyone. "I can play it one handed!!" "It's like 3 consoles in 1!!" So it reads as genuine, but take a chill pill! :D

 

Switch tablet looks dope. Love that undocking it doesn't require a fresh reboot or anything.

 

re: Reggie Bald. Yes I noticed that too. Camera-men were like, quick! Cut to a side-angle stat!

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As far as I know, Fallon does genuinely love video games, so while I'm sure he's playing it up a bit for the crowd, I don't think he's faking anything. I don't really like his show, though, so whatever haha.

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In his biopic, Reggie should be played by Richard Kind.

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Dark Souls trilogy on Switch sounds really interesting. That would be so much hardcore in one package that I'm not sure if my brain could handle it.

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Yeah GCN VC would be fucking awesome and I'm defo stoked for it!!!!

 

It also makes me think Wii VC isn't out of the question (it is more powerful, but not THAT much more powerful), although there is the question of interface. Doubt the Switch will come with a sensor bar.

 

Also interesting detail about the GCN VC: it's allegedly being developed by the NERD team, responsible for... well, I'll just quote the rather impressive list from Wikipedia

 

Quote

List of technologies developed by NERD[edit]

Described on NERD's homepage :[10]

 

 

They're very obviously some fuckin smart people. If I were a better programmer, I think I'd like to work there. They do cool shit. They're clearly the team Nintendo created to do specifically challenging things like this and I love it.

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USGamer have a nice round-up of some patents that Nintendo filed in June that have just been made public. They confirm touchscreen, IR in the right joycon and all the other stuff, plus alternate joycon possibilities and secreted L/R buttons and power indicator LEDs on the side of the joycons you can't access when they're docked. Lookin' sexy!

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Rumours abound at Eurogamer:

 

Quote

As things stand, CPU clocks are halved compared to the standard Tegra X1, but it's the GPU aspect of the equation that will prove more controversial. Even while docked, Switch doesn't run at Tegra X1's full potential. Clock-speeds are locked here at 768MHz, considerably lower than the 1GHz found in Shield Android TV, but the big surprise from our perspective was the extent to which Nintendo has down-clocked the GPU to hit its thermal and battery life targets. That's not a typo: it really is 307.2MHz - meaning that in portable mode, Switch runs at exactly 40 per cent of the clock-speed of the fully docked device.

Modest tech indeed. I understand why they did it, but it's concerning for those hoping for third party ports! Dark Souls on the go might be out of the question, unless it scales well.

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ew. the fact that portable experience may be compromised when undocked is not encouraging. Unless it's only to render to TV at higher resolution.

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I found that whole article very hard to parse as a non-tech guy. No idea what it might mean for the games, but what is ultimately important is whether the games work or not. I'll just wait and see. 40% of the clock speed sounds like a huge jump down, but who knows what's related to the screen resolution and whatnot? The whole idea of the Switch is that it would be a seamless transition from console to portable, so it'd be weird if they didn't take that as their main target to hit.

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I sometimes wish Digital Foundry would just stick up all their data about clock speeds and processor sizing and memory bandwidth in the form of a spreadsheet and leave it to those inclined to pore over. Their articles are extremely readable, especially when they're about comparing different versions of games already released; but in a case like this, the writing is so loaded with hesitant qualifiers and 'known-unknowns' and ambiguities about hardware potential that in the end I felt none the wiser for reading it.

 

Here's the only part that really worries me: 

 

Quote

the table below does indeed confirm that developers can choose to hobble Switch performance when plugged into match the handheld profile should they so choose.

 

I can see developers who don't have the resources to fully optimise and QA two different versions of the same game thinking 'we'll just scale everything down to what's possible for the portable version, and I guess it'll work fine when docked'. Which would perhaps not be a big deal for, say, Steamworld Heist - but yeah, as the article suggests, it might be optimistic to think we're going to see the latest AssCreeds or whatever on this device.

 

But I'm sure it's going to be fine! If it sells gangbusters, devs will make time to get their games on the platform in a way that appeals. Probably.

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On the latest Waypoint Radio, Austin Walker was talking about this and he basically said how I feel about it. I'm not at all expecting this to be a powerhouse, I'd like this to be a solid platform for nice looking games like Steamworld Heist, Shovel Knight and other projects of that type. I have a PC for other games, I'm under no illusion of the Switch replacing it.

 

What Austin didn't say, but I also feel, is that I hope this isn't a decision that would cripple the console's appeal. I know some people would hope for this to be an on par console, and might be turned off to find it's not. But if it turns into a similar rhetoric of the Wii U's failure then that's gonna suck.

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So the portable screen is 720p, about 44% of the pixels , which implies the GPU is scaling to meet the reduced demand when undocked. It's not a linear relationship (the GPU still has to render geometry, do lighting, textures, etc) so there's likely some degradation when on the move, but it's not too bad. Remember we don't know much about how the hardware will run (to-the-metal coding is possible on Switch, unlike Shield/Android) so performance could be adequate. Guess we have to wait until final hardware is in DF's hands.

 

It doesn't have to be a powerhouse; the Wii was a sales success despite low power, but the games released on Wii were not the same AAA titles found on PS3/360. Switch seems powerful enough to run PS3 games, and so long as the main developers keep releasing titles for PS3/360, a Switch port is always a possibility. I do wonder if AAA studios will dig up some older titles for re-release on Switch (Burnout Paradise on the go?).

 

That said I'm not so sure on the idea that Switch will be a second console. For hardcore gamers, sure, but we're a limited audience. I'm thinking more of younger gamers who are only allowed one console (although the Switch's portability may be a get-out clause on that one) or more casual players that already have a PS4. Switch would have to bring something really special to the table to get traction with those groups. Can Nintendo do it? Well, they've got a reputation for it...

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24 minutes ago, Beasteh said:

 

So the portable screen is 720p, about 44% of the pixels

 

 

Oh right yeah. I always forget how big of a pixel gap these resolutions are.

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So is there any information about it having stand-alone apps for things like netflix, hulu, amazon video etc?  If so, I suppose this thing's most direct competitor then becomes the iPad and not your traditional home consoles... right?

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I am quite sure that Netflix will come for sure. They make a version of their app on every device. It would be great to have HBO, Amazon Video etc on it also.


That actually reminds me, now that Amazon Prime Video is available in +200 countries, I wonder if the Wii U Amazon Video app is now available in all countries? It was not available for Finland earlier, but I have always seen the Miiverse community listed for it.

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I got out of bed at 4am to watch the stream in the UK because I'm an idiot. You can find the details in all the usual places but Chris Scullion has a nice concise writeup on his blog, with the new game trailers at the bottom.

 

Thoughts:

 

I am amazed at just how much Wiimote-esque motion tracking technology they've managed to squeeze into each Joycon, presumably assisted by the same miniaturisation that enables such things in modern smartphones. They genuinely look like really impressive little things. I am not at all sure they needed to put the tracking stuff in but I guess I'm glad the option is there. (1 2 Switch is a neat concept but feels a bit like a hangover from the Wii era - it's not what they need right now.)

 

The $300/£280 RRP is about what I expected. But I worry that it's going to have trouble competing with the Xbox One S and PS4 Slim; there are some ferociously competitive bundles out there. Serious differentiation is going to be essential - if you missed out on the Wii U and games like Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon, it starts to look a lot more desirable. (I have seen small children lose total control at the sight of Mario Kart 8.)

 

I'm a little more disappointed with the decision to charge for online play. No way I would have predicted that: free multiplayer is a distinguishing feature of Wii U / 3DS, but perhaps they just decided it was no longer sustainable. There's talk of giving away stuff, like a free SNES game a month (with online multiplayer?) but I'm not sure that would be enough for me. They don't yet have the reputation for quality online stuff, or the lineup of top-tier multiplayer titles to justify it. (Also - are there that many SNES games where you'd want online multiplayer?)

 

Mario Odyssey looks amazing and bewildering. I saw nothing at all in there that looked like the classic Mushroom Kingdom, which is perhaps stranger than those deeply uncanny human figures wandering around, uh, 'New Donk City'. It makes me wonder if there's a planned 'Mario in the big city!!' movie or theme park crossover coming.

 

They said nothing at all about Virtual Console, which is a bit concerning. 

 

Zelda also looks amazing. It was a little odd that they didn't localise the new trailer. Are we going to be playing it in Japanese and waiting for a language patch? I mean, I'd probably be fine with that. But I am probably also going to wait for the reviews, and wait to see how it performs on the Wii U. As long as that version is technically sound, that's likely the version I'll be playing. The launch presentation was fun and interesting to watch but I would need a few more very special things in March before I'd be tempted into a Day One Perch.

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I'm going to see how it performs over its first year before considering buying it. Zelda is the only launch title I'm interested in and I'll be able to get it on WiiU, otherwise it's a tad on the pricey side and Mario Odyssey is the only other game that has me interested right now. Mario Kart and Splatoon look fine but pretty much the same as the WiiU versions.

 

The cost of the Pro Controller and other peripherals is absurd, I wonder if the WiiU Pro Controller will work with it?

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