The way I feel about the Switch at the moment is that it could become another Wii, but it seems to be holding its own. It’s very successful now, as was the Wii, but with the way developers demand horsepower, it may still end up being how it was with the last generation, where there are attempts to bring games over to the Nintendo console but eventually they just decide to stick with the highest definition consoles possible for “multiplatform”.
I’d have to estimate the Switch runs roughly around a PS3, maybe a bit more, but it’s quite something to have that system contained in a tablet. So it can run Skyrim just fine, better than the actual PS3 did because of its weird architecture. I don’t know how the Switch’s architecture compares to the apparent desired standard of x86-64 or the mobile standard of ARM, but apparently developers are much more on board with this one at the moment. It’s not like the old days where multiplatform games could end up on three consoles at roughly the same quality, but there’s attempts at work, like Rocket League and the new Doom, just with sacrifice to resolution or framerate.
Perhaps it’s because the system is still somewhat new to developers, but after the first year, it should be more apparent on what they’re willing to accomplish with it. Of course, Nintendo’s own games seem to push their system the most, since they know it. Breath of the Wild was originally made for the Wii U but pushed to the Switch, where it runs a bit better, but still with some minor things. However Mario Odyssey seems to be made from the ground up for the Switch and looks and runs quite amazingly. Not to mention Splatoon 2, whose predecessor ran pretty well on the Wii U.
It also seems to take a few tries to get the game to work at its best. Perhaps an update or two to optimize or add system specific features, like motion control on Doom. Everyone still seems to be learning the console at this point. After two years, it should be clear about what it can do, and by then the other consoles may be considering a revision again to attempt to run at 8K. As well, many things were in development before the Switch was called the Switch or even really known about, so soon we should see what’s going to be included or excluded where.
Something else that may be possible, but doesn’t seem likely for now due to reasons, is a wave of shovelware. The Wii had a ton of that. However, the barriers to entry being the cost of the physical media and the attempted exclusivity of the devkits seem to be keeping that mostly at bay, though some things will still get through because publishers have a lot of money. They also seem to want to bring a lot of indies over, though a lot of these indies have come out with the game previously on other systems, but some are getting more sales on the Switch than other platforms somehow, despite this being the latest one they’ve released on well after the others. Perhaps it’s a matter of exposure, or how it’s not yet saturated with as many games.
Something to consider, however, is the ever increasing size of major games, taking up ridiculous amounts of space, somehow even more than the system storage might even hold. At least it’s expandable with microSD cards, and it’s possible to get big ones on sale, but there are also limits to the physical Switch cards, at least ones that publishers don’t seem to want to use at the moment and therefore requiring a bigger download even with the physical version. Yet, again, Nintendo seems to be mastering their own system, packing big adventures in relatively small file sizes. They have to be using some crazy compression, or procedural generation, or maybe just smart use of stylized visuals. They don’t necessarily feel the need to render every single pore on every single face in the scene because of the somewhat more cartoon-y art styles involved, yet they can go nuts with environment effects.
At this point, it’s a bit too early to call, and it’s still selling pretty well, so there is a chance that if publishers are willing to put down the money and developers put in the effort without being worked to death by the publishers, it could stand with its much higher resolution competitors. But at least it has a lot of spirit and charm, as Nintendo consoles seem to. That alone makes a bit of difference at least to me, otherwise I could play games on the PC just fine, unless they’re too new and I need a graphics card which I might be able to afford in 20 years as well as a completely new computer and probably add VR to it, whether it’s still in or not, and if not, maybe I can get a cheap deal and sanitize the heck out of it before even touching it.