Nintendo has been very keen to keep it’s next generation console a secret from prying eyes. They’ve been able to keep nearly all the details quiet except for a few first party games they had planned for it. Just this morning they announced the Nintendo Switch, their next generation console/tablet.
Nintendo Switch gets a custom NVIDIA Tegra under the hood
They’ve used a modular, hybrid design, similar to the Wii U, in that there is a base unit and a tablet for further expansibility. The tablet is useful outside of wireless range of the Switch base station playing upon their expertise with mobile gaming devices. Their vision seems to be a fusion of living room and mobile gaming, blurring the line where graphical quality might be an issue.
Under the hood they’ve partnered with NVIDIA for a custom, as yet otherwise unreleased, Tegra processor. Presumably this is the Pascal version of their custom SoC, to provide an unparalleled amount of compute power in such a small package. Not only has NVIDIA provided the hardware, but apparently they’ve also developed a new gaming API, called NVN, specifically to take advantage of their SoC. This is a move away from the traditionally AMD (née ATI) developed GPUs they’ve used since the Nintendo GameCube.
It all looks quite fascinating, sticking to a non-x86 design while also bringing back solid-state gaming cartridges that they’re calling GameCards, which is a logical form of media given how easy, and inexpensively, it can be expanded for each games storage requirements. One thing that was particularly unfortunate with the Wii and Wii U was the lack of adequate third-party support. Their own first-party studios had created some very compelling experiences, though it seemed to end there. This time around they’ve made a copious amount of partnerships to ensure that the Nintendo Switch is not without a healthy amount of good content. You can check out the full first look video from Nintendo below. Overall the idea of a new Nintendo console comes with mixed feelings. We’re to get new versions of the iconic Nintendo games, though the historic blandness of their consoles leaves a sour taste. It looks interesting an we look forward to taking a look when we can physically caress it.