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Topic: Some smartphones match the power of the Switch (and that's a good thing)

Posts 41 to 60 of 94

skywake

@MFD
You missed my point entirely. I was simply making two observations about trends in tech both of which make something like the Switch inevitable. On one side of the equation we have mobile hardware which is closing the gap between it and full sized hardware. Largely because of a continued focus from chip makers on making more and more power efficient hardware in general.

On the other side there are the displays we are playing games on. As I said in my earlier post we only got to the point where you didn't have to buy a high end GPU for 1080p/60fps PC gaming a few years ago. These days even 4K doesn't require bleeding edge hardware and 4K is far from in every house. The hardware is ahead of the displays we're playing games on. It'll probably continue to be ahead as I can't see 8K taking off anytime soon for consumers if ever.

Those two trends add up to one thing. Mobile hardware that's increasingly close to what you can do on full sized hardware. Full sized hardware with more power than we actually need to render games on the displays we have. Eventually we will be able to have a XBOne X in our pocket, when (not if) that day comes I wouldn't be surprised if nobody cared that it wasn't the fastest machine you could possibly get.

Some good Aussie musics: King Gizzard, Pond, The Avalanches
"Don't stir the pot" is a nice way of saying "they're too dumb to reason with"

erv

Two additional observations in that realm: One, there's always a ceiling to available power. We may not need much more with the concepts of today, but those will evolve too. We'll always have great new concepts maximising the power that was previously unavailable. So the available horsepower race is probably not going to slack off. The smaller contrast has gotten to a point where switch is possible though, which is great.

The second is software. It drives more than just the single channel games. My iphone is a great device but can't compete with my switch when it comes to gaming. It's multitasking a gazillion apps all day and never stops getting messages, notifications and other communication.That takes up resources that I'm glad the switch doesn't do - plus, it degrades the gaming experience by having a call or message or anything bleeping in your way while you play a game.

Switch has a gaming focus and it serves it well. I expect it to evolve, sure, but the focus makes it desirable as the resulting experience is worth it to many.

I do wonder if many of you are usually adopted to an underlying ecosystem out of convenience? I know I am, but I may be ahead of my time as usual...

The anatomically awesome evello is bringing the fame and glory!

Switch code: SW-0397-5211-6428

Nintendo Network ID: genet1c

Agriculture

erv wrote:

I do wonder if many of you are usually adopted to an underlying ecosystem out of convenience? I know I am, but I may be ahead of my time as usual...

I don't understand this sentence. What are you asking?

Agriculture

Faruko

The Tegra GPU is still bounds better than most smartphones, which is why it cant be used in phones and only consoles with cooling (Shield TV & Switch).

The Switch has enough plenty of power for it's 720p (not that much for 1080p but enough) target, also remember that phones are starting to psh 2k screens which wastes a lot of potential resources.

WiiU: FarukoSH
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PSN: Farukosh

MFD

@skywake But then we arrive at the question of price. The tech can be available in a few years or quickly enough, but if the price isn't at that magical point Nintendo wants it to be, then they're not going to make use of it.

MFD

skywake

@MFD
Again I think you're entirely missing the point. Five years ago a GPU capable of doing 1080p+ gaming at decent framerates without breaking a sweat could cost you ~$600US. Today you can get a similar spec card that consumes half the power for under $200US. It's about the spec of GPU they're putting in the XBOne X. In that same period of time NVidia's Tegra went from a spec similar to the Wii to being the basis for the Switch

You keep saying that mobile hardware will either be too expensive or too low-spec. What I'm saying is that it's inevitable that mobile hardware will continue to improve. All the while we continue to demand less and less of our hardware for gaming. The only outcome is that eventually it won't make sense for us to not buy a mobile console purely because there won't be any significant downsides. What will be possible on mobile hardware will be cheap enough and good enough, so why not have the hardware be mobile?

Again, the Switch isn't there yet but it's definitely a demonstration of how close we are to that future.

Edited on by skywake

Some good Aussie musics: King Gizzard, Pond, The Avalanches
"Don't stir the pot" is a nice way of saying "they're too dumb to reason with"

StuTwo

@MFD Who says that Nintendo has a single set price in mind? Switch has completely upended the marketing paradigms on which Nintendo used to rely. It's a console aimed at 30 something year olds whereas most Nintendo consoles have been aimed at 5-20 year olds - and it carries the price tag to match.

Nintendo will certainly want a cheap budget SKU but that doesn't necessarily mean they will be adverse to a premium option alongside it going forwards.

I agree with @skywake on the issue of portability - eventually the difference in performance for the same price will just become so small that it won't make sense to manufacture a console that isn't a hybrid. If it weren't a technical eventuality it's a marketing eventuality - a device that has a format which allows it to be used as a high end media consumption tablet in competition with smartphones and the iPad has a much, much bigger market potential. Internal politics will eventually force Sony and Microsoft to follow suit - the only question is whether that's 5 years from now or 10.

Of course they'll make different compromises to Nintendo (perhaps more power traded for a shorter battery life or a better resolution in exchange for a slightly thicker body) but it will eventually happen.

The biggest cord that will hold them back is the optical drive. It's a comparatively huge piece of energy hungry equipment - eventually they will have to go. Nintendo has just bitten the bullet early.

StuTwo

erv

@Agriculture lol, haha makes sense.

Basically, I'm not necessarily buying a product. I'm buying something that matches the ecosystem of stuff I already have.

Speaker? I'll want one with airplay. Phone? Buying the apple one. I know people that have any android ecosystem, for instance.

Music? Well, between the streaming guys I'm picking the one most integrated with my ios system, for instance. I know people who do the same thing with Google music.

So it might work like that with a lot of our hardware choices, where the software and the ecosystem and in the end infrastructure behind it drives the match with the consumer towards a product brand bias - to a point, of course. Brandt loyalty has become services lock in, so to speak. I know I'm like that, and know a few people who are too, it's just that it doesn't seem too common in Nintendo world right now.

Hope I'm making more sense now

The anatomically awesome evello is bringing the fame and glory!

Switch code: SW-0397-5211-6428

Nintendo Network ID: genet1c

Agriculture

erv wrote:

Hope I'm making more sense now

Just barely

Anyhow, from what I understand you are saying that people don't want to go outside their ecosystem, and that might be true for the general population until you get to the actual content. The games, tv series and so on. If people want to play Breath of the Wild, then they'll buy a Switch regardless of it not 100 % fitting in with the rest of their electronics.

Agriculture

erv

Agriculture wrote:

erv wrote:

Hope I'm making more sense now

Just barely

Anyhow, from what I understand you are saying that people don't want to go outside their ecosystem, and that might be true for the general population until you get to the actual content. The games, tv series and so on. If people want to play Breath of the Wild, then they'll buy a Switch regardless of it not 100 % fitting in with the rest of their electronics.

Yes, that's true. Great software sells the hardware. I did mean to get an indication or feel of things in general

The anatomically awesome evello is bringing the fame and glory!

Switch code: SW-0397-5211-6428

Nintendo Network ID: genet1c

MFD

@StuTwo In a market filled with traditionalists who like their box, I doubt such a large wave will come to pass. All those Xbox/PS4 owners won't just up and come along with such a wave.

Portability is situationally useful, power is always useful, just keep that in mind.

If you ask me, both you and @skywake are just talking out of your behind when it comes to eventualities. There's a demand for console gaming, and only in Japan has it truly wavered. The Switch is breakthrough in most places, but isn't that explosive success in Europe and is still far bigger in Japan than anywhere else. People like you and skywake would have home-console eradicated for nothing but handhelds, and I think that's a very shallow and stupid way to look at it. There's a demand for both, why should one remove the other from the equation? If anything, handheld should worry about mobile phones.

Edited on by MFD

MFD

NEStalgia

@StuTwo Maybe, maybe not. As they're pushing ever more to photo-realistic processing, quantum computing around the corner, etc, there's a lot of things that will be happening in the fixed-device space, as well. No doubt why Sony is pushing so hard into VR, trying to tap the aspects of what will happen in the fixed computing space. I'm not ready to write off tethered devices just yet, though I suspect at worst a "streaming" service in 10+ years for all mobile type devices will be inevitable. By then Verizon and AT&T may have even caught up with the 21st century. Nah...who am I kidding.

Hybrid/portable is here to stay, certainly, but there's a future in power guzzlers for the foreseeable future as well.

@MFD Stu's point is valid in that for now mobile hardware is accelerating at a significantly faster rate than fixed hardware, meaning at some point the two will reach relative parity. I.E. Your liquid-cooled x86 based Xbox 5X would have the same processing power as a Galaxy Note 19, because more R&D is going into that part of hardware. So by that standard the hybrid/handheld would NOT be a tradeoff of power once that equillibrium arrives. And he's not wrong. Nobody's putting much R&D into x86 and it's stagnating greatly. It's commodity at this point, it exists to serve business needs which will rely on "legacy" hardware and software for decades to come. But they also don't need it to evolve at consumer electronics speeds. Their inventory system will need the same hardware in 15 years it's running on today.

However before that equilibrium there's still quantum to come out to the mainstream which will be one last revolution of fixed hardware.

NEStalgia

MFD

@NEStalgia And what's to stop them from using this stuff to just go with more power in a box? Does everything HAVE to be a hybrid now? Is mobile this world-worshipped first rule of gaming with the Switch's entrance?

Edited on by MFD

MFD

NEStalgia

@MFD Just the trend of consumer electronics as a whole. I've argued that Sony WON'T be doing a hybrid to compete with Switch any time soon as it's just not in their interest to do so with a successful set-top box platform. However, long term, PS6, PS7, there's sufficient reason to believe, especially if Switch continues to dominate, that if we're not all on cloud streaming platforms by then (I don't see that happening, not with the knuckle dragging companies that run our wireless communications system), that hybridization will simply be more marketable/demanded by then. Even for film/video the public is in large numbers engaging with the small screen more than the big screen. Mobile brought that to gaming, Switch brought it to "real" gaming, and if hardware keeps pace, there's little reason to believe it won't reach critical mass. If we assume parallel performance in 10 years between non-server x86 and mobile (may take longer but we'll say 10 for now), why NOT stick controllers, a battery, and a cheap LCD on the box and market it as portable? "Set top boxes" will look pretty outdated by then outside the home theater enthusiast crowd.

NEStalgia

MFD

@NEStalgia I doubt it'll only take 10 years to change something so traditional and ingrained. Smoking has been ingrained for years on end, and even if there's a ton of measures set in to change it, it's still going at a snail's pace. Home-consoles should not be hybrids, because a hybrid always makes sacrifices somewhere.

Powerboxes can use other methods of differentiation, and if the Switch's failure is required to prevent this silly hybrid-movement from stopping, then I duly hope that's what happens in the long run.

Edited on by MFD

MFD

StuTwo

MFD wrote:

Portability is situationally useful, power is always useful, just keep that in mind.

Power isn't always useful. If all I want is a Virtual Console service (i don't btw) why would I pay for a much more powerful console?

If you ask me, both you and @skywake are just talking out of your behind when it comes to eventualities. There's a demand for console gaming, and only in Japan has it truly wavered. The Switch is breakthrough in most places, but isn't that explosive success in Europe and is still far bigger in Japan than anywhere else. People like you and skywake would have home-console eradicated for nothing but handhelds, and I think that's a very shallow and stupid way to look at it. There's a demand for both, why should one remove the other from the equation? If anything, handheld should worry about mobile phones.

No. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that a switch to ARM architecture will eventually make sense for everyone (except as @link3710 pointed out - Microsoft who have a vested interest in x86).

When you do that and you move beyond optical discs then you might as well offer a handheld option.
You could of course still have a physically much bigger and more power guzzling exclusively home console based on ARM but it would be completely compatible with the portable.

Even if they didn't all move to ARM - the investment in x86 of late has been in energy efficiency - a pattern which is likely to continue. An x86 based hybrid today would make different compromises to an ARM one (and might be less attractive a proposition to the general market) but it's not impossible. The PS4 Slim - once you strip out the space for cooling, the optical drive, the hard drive and the power brick - isn't actually much physically bigger than the Switch.

Of course I don't see Sony or Microsoft successfully launching a hybrid any time soon (for reasons I've explained in much greater detail elsewhere) - but it's marketing that's makes it tricky.

StuTwo

MFD

@StuTwo You say power-guzzling as if it's a bad thing. If power matter so little, then why can't Switch run 60 FPS easily? Hell, why can't PS4/Xbox One with their far more power do it easily? Why does the Switch dip below 30 on a game like LA Noire? Why does the Switch come out of every multiplat comparison for the worst?

Stuff get's smaller, sure, but there's a reason why PC's are still large cases. My graphics card alone is about as big as a Switch, and nearly twice as thick. Sure, why would you need power when it runs at 60 FPS 1080P? At that point, I'd agree with you, but we're not there yet are we?

Edited on by MFD

MFD

NEStalgia

@MFD Smoking forms both a chemical and habitual addiction to the substance and activity. Playing video games on a computer attached to the wall versus playing video games on a computer running on a battery doesn't actually change the habit of playing video games in any way. There's a reason laptops outsell desktops outside business purchases by a factor of 3:1 today. Portability adds ways to use the machine, without taking away the old way of using the machine, with no tradeoff other than an amount of power that for normal computer use (i.e. not gamers, or artists/modelers/engineers/architects) is no longer relevant because their performance has caught up (while desktops slowed massively in advancement.)

At present, yes, the hybrid makes sacrifices, no question. But we're talking about when mobile tech has matured over a period of numerous years while advancement in desktop hardware has slowed reaching a point of equilibrium. For present day, you're absolutely correct, but this thread is talking about the future where that mobile advancement will mean hybridization ISN'T sacrificing power at least in a meaningful way (I.E. it may sacrifice theoretical peak power but not in any area that makes it less practical for the tasks we're performing with gaming. Game development budgets will cap what can be done at some point, unlike computers intended for, say, astrophysics where a billion dollars in a project is acceptable. And if you're going to suggest that server hardware will keep improving, then that might move back to the "all games will be subscription streaming services" mindset. Certainly the industry would LOVE to move in that direction......terrestrial bandwdth is the only limit for that now.

Your mindset is you want laptops to fail so that beige box desktops can thrive? You're a good 10 years too late for that one. Computing has gone mobile. Now gaming is catching up to where PC was a decade ago. PC gaming hasn't gone mobile of course....PC graphics architecture is just too inefficient for that so far. Switch set the ball rolling for bringing gaming mobile, but, yes, with sacrifices to make it happen. Now that it's out there, like laptops, it's up to nVidia and AMD (and Intel?) to keep edging that performance up for future products to close the gap. Which, is, of course what those three companies do for a living.... Well, except Intel, they refuse to innovate and just work on patent lock to ensure they don't have to.

@StuTwo Indeed, Microsoft is VERY vested in x86, they fully depend on it (and Windows RT wasn't exactly a swimming success.....Windows succeeds BECAUSE of it's backward compatibility...) Since the very purpose of the first X-BOX was to secure dependency on DirectX and Windows in a world Sony was pushing to OpenGL, the point of XBox may again become to cement the Windows ecosystem including x86 Wintel architecture. They managed to succeed in pushing even Sony to their architecture.....it'll be interesting what they do when/if Sony jumps again.

OTOH an x86 based hybrid with discrete graphics today would look like a Surface Book. All $1500-$2300 of it.

@MFD Switch runs 60FPS plenty easy. Until you throw more shaders than the GPU can handle, or more textures than the GPU has memory bandwidth to handle, or more geometry than the FPU can handle. Same for PS4Box1. Technically PS4/X1 aren't terribly powerful. They're ALREADY using mobile hardware for the CPU: Jaguar was meant for tablets. Of course even dual SLI GTX Titans running an i7+ struggles to hit 60fps if you overload it....for now you can throw more at any GPU than it can handle....but the point of diminishing returns will continue. Similarly PS4 hits 120fps just fine for PSVR where hitting and HOLDING that is a requirement. And the graphics are dialed back to accommodate it.

Switch dips below 30fps on L.A. Noire because it's a 6 year old game built for x86 and wasn't excessively optimized for the modern architecture. That's not a hardware limitation, it's a limit to the way the engine is designed hammering the CPU.

PCs have become MUCH smaller. An ultrabook is 1/4" thick these days and has more power than my big black box did 15 years ago. Heck my phone has more power than the 15 year old big black box. But you're looking at it as a PC gamer apparently. Most consumers don't buy desktop PCs AT ALL anymore. They haven't in years. Sales are rock bottom. And most "desktops" bought by consumers now are actually in those tiny ultra slim high efficiency machines which, inside are really just laptop boards in a plastic case. Gamers do because gamers have huge video cards and large cooling requirements (and business does because it's cheaper, and the machine doesn't need to leave the room.) PC gamers with "big rigs" is a very niche business though. Switch is mass market. So is Playstation.

It doesn't do well to confuse "PC gaming" with mass market consumer electronics which includes both normal PCs/laptops and game consoles. It's a very different business. And big box PCs will always be there for the bleeding edge enthusiasts. But always keep in mind Blizzard reached dominance by specifically targeting very low specs. The people with performance hardware make up a very small part of even the PC market.

NEStalgia

JayJ

I'm sure they do since many smartphones cost many times as much as a Switch and they are constantly being upgraded due to the hyper competitiveness of the phone industry.

JayJ

StuTwo

@MFD everything that @NEStalgia said.

Today’s PC is already a laptop for everyone except a tiny minority. Tomorrow’s will be a high end hybrid tablet like the surface (if it’s not already). It doesn’t matter if they never actually leave the desk - the utility (even if some never use it) dictates that that’s the format that dominates the mass market.

Why wouldn’t the same affect games consoles? Your graphics card might be twice as thick as a Switch but a PS4 Slim - the best selling console in 2017 - is already almost Switch sized when you take out the disc drive, power brick, hard drive and space for cooling.

When Sony or Microsoft ditch the disc drive (as they eventually will) it’ll be obvious to consumers how small those machines actually are and a lot of people (not all) will increasingly say ‘oh - if it were just a tiny bit smaller and had a screen on it...’.

StuTwo

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