Shortly after the announcement of the Nintendo Switch (formerly known as the NX), NVIDIA announced that their chipset would be powering the device’s internals. Built on a custom version of the agile Tegra mobile chipset, primarily used in NVIDIA’s own tablet devices, the Switch will hold a graphics processor “based on the same architecture as the world’s top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards”. NVIDIA also promised gaming experiences running on “fully custom software, including a revamped physics engine, new libraries, advanced game tools and libraries”, implying a graphical experience on par with other current consoles.
Nintendo has rarely focused on delivering cutting edge graphical technology with their consoles, aiming for unique gameplay experiences over top-of-the-line graphics. The last two home consoles released by the company, the Wii and Wii U, were underpowered when compared to their competitors from Sony and Microsoft. Additionally, most of Nintendo’s past consoles incorporated differing technology for both the GPU and CPU, and this news implies that the Switch will run almost entirely on NVIDIA technology. NVIDIA has stated that they’ve invested “500 man-years of effort”, focused on delivering “the best experience for gamers, whether they’re in the living room or on the move”.
This news could be a game-changer for mobile and home gaming technology. Though it hasn’t been explicitly stated yet, the Switch appears to be rendering gameplay entirely on the tablet, without relying on the docking device to “boost” visuals for home displays. Thus, this technology might not only be a boon to the Switch, but could also be useful for future smartphone technology and mobile devices in general. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo’s increased focus on mobile gaming eventually results in a full-featured, console quality Mario or Zelda experience being released on iPhone and Android devices in the near future. NVIDIA seems sure that their tech will deliver a great experience to consumers when the Switch is finally released in March 2017.