It's well documented the Nintendo Switch is underpowered when compared to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. However, it's currently an accepted differential due to the fact those systems are tethered to televisions and Switch's unique selling point of becoming portability shines through.
We've reported on a large number of ports since Switch was launched – ranging from games a decade old to those that are being released concurrently. Performance of the ports has always been the biggest talking point and investors have rightly raised concern at the latest Nintendo Shareholders Q&A, stating how the performance gap will only widen with PlayStation 5 and Project Scarlett on the way.
So, how will Nintendo convince third-party publishers that releasing on Switch is worth the headache of porting a game originally designed for a much more powerful system? Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa had the following to say:
We consider our hardware installed base to be a particularly important factor for publishers who are deciding whether to release software on our platforms. Therefore, we believe that our primary focus is to increase the hardware install base, generate momentum, and create an environment where publishers can supply their titles with confidence.
Depending on their circumstances, every software publisher needs something different from our hardware for their business, so we need to maintain an environment in which we can closely communicate with each of these companies. We currently offer a user-friendly development environment meant to lower the barriers to developing games for our platforms, with support for a number of versatile game engines that are already familiar to many developers. These game engines are being actively used not only by indie game developers but also by development teams at large to mid-size software publishers, so you can expect announcements for a variety of quality titles moving forward.
It's a fairly robust response and interestingly doesn't mention any kind of power boost for the Switch. Naturally, if Nintendo can demonstrate a large and active install base with good software tools, it puts the pressure back on publishers to release games on Switch – something the Wii U notably lacked.
It will be interesting to see how the power-gap impacts Switch in the coming years. It's worth noting that third parties will no doubt continue to target the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for at least a few more years, as they monitor adoption of the new platforms. With any luck, this works in Nintendo's favour.
Do you feel Switch is in a strong enough position to combat the power gap? Let us know in the comments below.