The Nintendo Switch needs a Pro edition, and it needs one ASAP. Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5 are on their way within the next year. If these boxes are really as powerful as they say, the current Switch will struggle to keep up.
Interestingly, Virtuos, a team that has ported games like Dark Souls Remastered, and BioShock: The Collection to Switch, claims the device’s current power can handle next-generation titles . However, I have to imagine this will come at a massive cost.
Take the Nintendo Switch’s edition of The Witcher 3, for example. This massive, gorgeous game only ran after several concessions were made.
Much like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 editions, The Witcher 3 on Switch can struggle to maintain 30 FPS . But, this is also running at 540p in handheld and 720p docked. And the game is from 2015.
The Witcher 3 running on Switch is genuinely impressive. But if a 2015 game struggles to run well, how can we expect a 2020 title to do so?
As of now, studios like Virtuos do whatever they can to port titles over. Studio head Elijah Freeman explains:
“We will exhaust every option we have prior to making suggestions to make even the smallest change to the game. If we do, then the publisher would always have the final decision.”
But, how long can they do this? As games become increasingly complex, is there even a point? I’ve said this before: even Nintendo’s own Breath of the Wild struggled at times. This isn’t just a graphics argument, but a performance one as well.
It’s possible Virtuos can pull off more miracles, but they’re relying on other developers’ work to do so. “Developers need to strategize and plan for the game experience to be consistent across all platforms,” Freeman notes.
Are those teams willing to do so? We’re already hearing about next-gen discrepancies. And the Switch is about to be a last-gen system. At the very least, a Switch Pro could provide a more consistent player experience.
Gamers say graphics don’t matter, but performance does. And players will only take inferior performance for so long, especially once we finally see some next-gen titles in play.