Nintendo explains why its less powerful hardware is a good thing

When pressed on their less powerful hardware, Nintendo tells investors the Switch’s limitations are a net positive for game development.

Ever since the Wii era, Nintendo’s consoles have been lagging behind their competitors in terms of raw power, thus limiting the kind of games that can be developed for them.

This remains the case with the Nintendo Switch, which is nowhere near as powerful as the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. Not that that’s hurt it in any way; the Switch sits as the third best-selling console of all time.

Recent comments from other sources suggest that the Switch 2 still won’t be on the same level as Sony and Microsoft’s current consoles, and Nintendo has now justified why that is, presenting the Switch’s hardware limitations as a positive.

This comes from the company’s latest Q&A session with investors, which was only recently published with an official English translation.

One investor asked for ‘honest opinions of the developers about whether the hardware specifications of Nintendo Switch, now in its seventh year, are sufficient to bring all of their game ideas to fruition.’

Shinya Takahashi, general manager of Nintendo‘s Entertainment Planning & Development Division, defended the Switch as having ‘sufficient performance,’ but acknowledged that many developers always wish to exceed hardware limitations.

‘Since the Famicom era, we have worked on how to fit these elements inside a framework with certain limitations, and our job is to figure out how to create a fun game within these constraints,’ explains Takahashi.

‘I believe that some interesting content are [sic] created as a result of accommodating the limitations and we have actually been able to make this happen.’ Basically, he argues that these limitations can actually be beneficial for game development.

That’s not to say no progress is made in improving the power of Nintendo’s hardware. Ko Shiota, head of hardware development, adds: ‘We have been developing Nintendo Switch software for a long time and have used various methods to overcome performance barriers.

‘Even now, the system developers are listening to game developers and continuously implementing initiatives to increase the smoothness and longevity of Nintendo Switch software development.’

While not a direct confirmation, these comments do set up the next Nintendo console as being more powerful than the current Switch, but not up to the same standards as the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

In fact, according to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, the Switch 2 will be almost as powerful as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Although we’re certain Nintendo isn’t happy he revealed that.

Elsewhere in the Q&A, investors tried and failed to tease out any further info about the next console, although Nintendo does seem to imply that you’ll be able to transfer your current Switch account, which could also be a hint at backwards compatibility.

When pressed on potential scalping of the Switch 2, Nintendo says the best way to prevent it is to ensure there’s enough supply to meet demand. Although it is considering ‘whether there are any other countermeasures that can be implemented.’

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