Some of the Nintendo Life team were lucky enough to pop down to sunny Brighton a few weeks back, base of Gamer Network - the group of gaming sites with which Nintendo Life and Push Square are affiliated. While we were down there dodging vegan food stalls and resisting the urge to paddle in the unnaturally warm English Channel, we got talking to Digital Foundry boss and UK games journalism legend Richard Leadbetter, and one of the topics was Sony potentially leaping back into the handheld market with its own Switch-style hybrid console.
It seems that this innocent conversation got Mr. Leadbetter thinking, as he's just posted up a feature - along with a video - which discusses the potential of Sony (and indeed Microsoft, which has - up until now - kept its powder dry when it comes to handhelds) releasing a hybrid system which plays current generation games, just as the Switch replicates the performance of Nintendo's last domestic system, the Wii U.
As Richard discusses in the video and the accompanying piece on Eurogamer, it's much harder to scale down from current home tech than it is to scale up using mobile tech. Power consumption is the biggest issue; the launch model of the PS4 running at full pelt draws about 120-130 watts, while the newer PS4 Slim pulls around 70-80 watts. Compare that to the Switch, which - when docked - is only sipping around 12 watts from the wall socket, and you get an idea of just how hard it would be for Sony to take PS4-levels of power and reduce them down for a portable system. Amazingly, when undocked, the Switch is only drawing about 7-9 watts of power - a real testament to the efficiency of Nvidia's Tegra X1 chipset.
Certainly in the short-term, it would seem that Sony and Microsoft - both of whom rely on AMD's silicon - would struggle to take their existing consoles and down-size them for the hybrid console market which Nintendo has created almost overnight; as Richard himself puts it, Nintendo's alliance with Nvidia is a "game-changer" and when looking at ports like DOOM and the upcoming Wolfenstein II - despite their obvious shortcomings when compared to the PS4, Xbox One and PC editions - "Switch moves on to being something of a miracle", according to the esteemed Mr. Leadbetter.
He doesn't rule out Sony and Microsoft perhaps attempting such a move a few years down the line - who knows, maybe the Switch will become the template of future games consoles - but for now, the verdict seems to be a simple one; while Switch is comfortably out-gunned by its rivals on a technical level, Nintendo's 'mobile first' approach is proving to be more successful than many had anticipated, and it has carved out a niche market into which Sony and Microsoft won't be able to encroach for a good while yet.