18 months later, how do you feel about the Switch's power compared to Wii U's?

#1
It was no secret that Wii U was bizarrely behind in power to pretty much everything current at the time and especially coming soon after (console-wise of course).

The fact was that Wii U was struggling to even go toe-to-toe against the PS3 and Xbox 360 which were 6-7 years old at that point, mostly due to the ancient CPU that was a 2-gen reused GameCube chip, so it was pretty damn outdated. I recall the reason for that was to help enable backwards-compatibility with the Wii (maybe I'm wrong?).

Fast forward just over four years later, and Nintendo decided to not only release a system to succeed 3DS (which was 6 years old by this point), but also evidently the Wii U, as one singular platform.

Rewinding back to the legendary NX speculation days, no one had a fucking clue on what to expect the system to be power-wise. We've had countless rumors over the course of a LONG drawn out year and a half from its March 17th, 2015 announcement to the long-awaited October 20th, 2016 reveal. You just had to be there MAN!

Folks couldn't decide what form it'd even take, what the chip provider would be, and most importantly just how it'd stack up to the PS4 and XBO.

So the reveal finally arrived and while it didn't tell us much, I think at this point we knew that 1. it was primarily a portable (since the core hardware is in the screen) and uses an included dock accessory to play on the TV. 2. the processor was by Nvidia, rather than AMD as Nintendo had used for Wii U (which bought ATI, etc). And possibly 3. it was a 1280x720 screen.

It didn't become clear until near launch that this thing would natively support arguably THE most important engine of the gen; Unreal Engine 4, and not the smaller mobile variant IIRC. The first game to use this would be Snake Pass by Sumo Digital.

This was infamously passed over for Wii U, which itself lacked many current features (which is what SE claimed was the reason for it missing FFXV and KH3 back in 2013 IIRC). Wii U couldn't even use UE3 as well as PS3 and 360, and even Cry Engine 3 was infamously not natively supported (which resulted in Sonic Boom's horrific development issues).

So now that we're 18 months in, we've seen the system used quite nicely by some folks, from Nintendo, to 3rd-parties. Some require mention such as Panic Button for their work on DOOM and Wolfenstein 2 on Switch, and the upcoming DOOM Eternal is also coming from them. These being top-tier AAA graphical powerhouse games. And of course UE4 games like the aforementioned Snake Pass, to recent games like Dragon Ball FighterZ. Epic requires mention for doing their own part in not only getting Fortnite on the system within a fortnight *shot* but also keeping UE4 updated periodically. The most recent update being Ver. 4.20 which introduces dynamic resolution and apparently makes games run even better (as the Everspace devs recently confirmed from transitioning to the new version).

It's out of this world how much better Switch is over Wii U, not just in power, but its use of the Tegra X1 and the modern architecture is absolutely leagues better than Wii U was, being FAR easier for devs to use.

What are your thoughts on this? hell if any devs on Era want to chime in and maybe comment from their perspective from working on the system (maybe even both systems!), that'd be extra neat as well.
 
#3
For what it is, it's an amazing device and the first HD Handheld that Nintendo has ever released. At 300 bucks we probably couldn't expect better.

The only game that has really disappointed me performance wise was Xenoblade Chronicles 2, that game probably needed more time in the oven.

Compared to the Wii U? It's fine. This is the next Handheld and Home Console at the same time after all.
 
#5
When you consider the size of the tablet, it's pretty amazing. But I would have preferred a proper home console with no portability and a power comparable to at least the base competition.
 

Jonneh

GameXplain
Moderator
#7
Lighting in first party Nintendo games has seen major leaps over their Wii U counterparts, this isn't the best screenshot as it's pretty compressed but Splatoon 2 makes the first game look drab in comparsion:
 
#9
For games where the graphics are a main selling point I would go for PS4/XBox anyway even if the Switch was closer in technical specs, but for what it is, it‘s very good. The (mostly) parity between docked and portable states is the most attractive thing about the system and I love it for that.
I just wish all games were designed with portability in mind in regards to font sizes and UI, some of the games are too hard to read and figure out when they’re shrunk if they‘re new to you.
Compared to Wii U how quickly the Switch is operated is the nicest thing although the comparison is a bit unfair because the system software itself is so basic and barebones. But that may have been exactly what Nintendo needed.
 
#11
For what it is, it's an amazing device and the first HD Handheld that Nintendo has ever released. At 300 bucks we probably couldn't expect better.

The only game that has really disappointed me performance wise was Xenoblade Chronicles 2, that game probably needed more time in the oven.

Compared to the Wii U? It's fine. This is the next Handheld and Home Console at the same time after all.
Even more impressive to me, is that it hit so much out of the gate as the first HD handheld period. The Vita isn't HD, being barely higher res than 480p, and with most games being sub-HD in a way that isn't quite as common on Switch. It's managed to get a beautiful crisp 720p screen usable with modern games, and to actually hit 720p in a lot of handheld games is very impressive. Going from the Vita or especially th 3DS to the Switch is relevatory.
 
#12
After purchasing and playing through Valkyria Chronicles 4 on the Switch when I own both a ps4 pro and a gtx1080 gaming pc, I must say I'm very pleased with the systems performance. It's very capable for todays games and in three or four years when it starts to feel really outdated, it'll be about the time for Nintendo to release a more powerful device. The Switch is very sufficient right now.
 
#15
I think the handheld mode really helps give it a pass

the Wii U was kinda running 2 screens at the same time so not sure how much of a leap the Switch really is but if they continue to port my favorite WiiU exclusives over to Switch I'll pretend the leap was massive.

Xenoblade X and Mario 3D World please
 
#16
Switch is as powerful as it could possibly be for its price and handheld form. A really ambitious console, and I think it’s success is in no small part due to its power.
 
#22
As someone who plays the Switch 95% handheld (the other 5% being for couch Overcooked 1/2), I'm pretty satisfied with the balance between power and battery life. Am I disappointed that some engines can't be run on it, thus negating some games (e.g., Frostbite for true FIFA and Madden)? Sure, but hopefully it gets some creative juices flowing for how to overcome the power limitations.
 
#23
It’s basically about as powerful as a gaming device could for that size & for that cost (with an early 2017 release date), without having an outrageous price and/or a 5 minute battery life.
 
#24
I want to feel something but there just isn't enough games that showcase Switch's capabilities. All I have played this year were 2D/2.5D platformers and very old late ports. Just Wolfenstein isn't enough to say anything, Bethesda's games feel more like magic tricks.
 
#25
It is a fantastic piece of hardware. a portable device was never this close to other consoles in the same time frame. playing a great looking game like Fast RMX in portable mode with 60fps and crazy sense of speed is as impressive to me as playing Uncharted 4. both are great technical achievements in a different way.

personally, I always thought the hardware choices for the WiiU were not the best. the cpu was a bottleneck that made the system struggle with some games like Assassin's Creed, and the slow ram made loading very long in many games like Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze. the hardware choices were not good even for 720p gaming.

Switch is a very different case, most games performs very very well and it can reach 1080p in many demanding games while docked. Tegra X1 is amazing, it runs games better than most mobile phones in the market, even ~1000$ devices. for example, look how much improved Arena of Valor on Switch is compared to the mobile version.

developers seems to share the same opinion too. some of them criticized hardware choices with WiiU openly, like THQ. but we've heard nothing other than praise for the Switch hardware and its great tools.
 
#28
I felt like even in year 1 you can tell that the switch has a noticeable leap in graphics and performance comapred to the WiiU, lots of WiiU ports almost always get automatically bumped up to 1080p, and even if it doesnt, it can still ahve noticeably better performance, depending on the port.
Then there's the 1st party efforts and you can see with games like arms and xenoblade 2 you can see the noticeable graphical difference.
 
#31
I get that it's pseudo portable, but for me it really ought to have been more powerful, and the IQ and visuals of certain games leave a lot to be desired compared to other platforms. The shield tablet had an MSRP of $260 including the controller back in 2015, and whilst it used the previous gen version of the Tegra architecture (K1 vs the X1, or roughly 326.4 Gflops vs 512 Gflops stock), the jump in performance two years later coupled with a higher price doesn't seem sufficient to me.

I'd have preferred if the Switch launched with something more powerful or forward thinking (even if it meant launching a few months later), perhaps the X2, since other Nvidia products were implementing it back in 2017, and it is a smaller nm process compared to the X1, hence lends to more efficiency in higher performance per watt, and shouldn't have been an issue with regards to battery or cooling. I'd imagine Nintendo opting for the X1 was predominantly to keep costs down, and maintain higher margins in terms of profitability.
 
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#32
Its as powerful as it can be without costing 600$ or melting in 10 minutes
Well, could've shipped with an X2 instead of an X1. More power, similar battery (due to reduced die size, optimisation). Who knows the cost difference though, those figures are nowhere. Even if it was $10 extra a unit, I'd happily absorb that.
 
#33
As someone who plays the Switch 95% handheld (the other 5% being for couch Overcooked 1/2), I'm pretty satisfied with the balance between power and battery life. Am I disappointed that some engines can't be run on it, thus negating some games (e.g., Frostbite for true FIFA and Madden)? Sure, but hopefully it gets some creative juices flowing for how to overcome the power limitations.
It's not that frostbite cant be run on it, its that EA chooses not to because they wanted the switch out of the limelight so they can concentrate on just the PS4 and Xb1(and PC to a lesser extent), that didnt happen so its mostly being stubborn since they kinda figure themselves king makers like square was back in the 5th and 6th gen
 
#34
It is roughly a portable wii u...which is awesome in my books.

For a home console released in 2017 it is pretty underpowered.

I personally can't wait for a "switch pro"... love the system but a little more power would be nice.
 
#35
This was infamously passed over for Wii U, which itself lacked many current features (which is what SE claimed was the reason for it missing FFXV and KH3 back in 2013 IIRC). Wii U couldn't even use UE3 as well as PS3 and 360, and even Cry Engine 3 was infamously not natively supported (which resulted in Sonic Boom's horrific development issues).

So now that we're 18 months in, we've seen the system used quite nicely by some folks, from Nintendo, to 3rd-parties. Some require mention such as Panic Button for their work on DOOM and Wolfenstein 2 on Switch, and the upcoming DOOM Eternal is also coming from them. These being top-tier AAA graphical powerhouse games. And of course UE4 games like the aforementioned Snake Pass, to recent games like Dragon Ball FighterZ. Epic requires mention for doing their own part in not only getting Fortnite on the system within a fortnight *shot* but also keeping UE4 updated periodically. The most recent update being Ver. 4.20 which introduces dynamic resolution and apparently makes games run even better (as the Everspace devs recently confirmed from transitioning to the new version).

It's out of this world how much better Switch is over Wii U, not just in power, but its use of the Tegra X1 and the modern architecture is absolutely leagues better than Wii U was, being FAR easier for devs to use.
In comparison with the Wii U, UE4 is just one of the engines to the Switch' advantage.
* Some games (such as Rocket League) use some ported version of UE3
* Unity support was available in the middle of Wii U's lifetime, but the improvements of the Switch Unity support (regarding performance and also features) has been ongoing at a much higher pace than the Wii U ever had.
* MonoGame has official Switch support (Stardew Valley and Axiom Verge, for example)
* Game Maker Studio 2 has official Switch support (Undertale, for example)
* PhyreEngine is supported on Switch (Dragon Quest Builders)

In addition to this, many developers have been able to port their inhouse engines within a short time period. On the Wii U OTOH, there was year-long delays for many developers, and there were long delays even for those who used Unity as an engine.
 
#37
I would really really like to have a powerful Nintendo machine so most of my favorite games don't look so old when I compare them to what other people get on their go to consoles. But I really like the games so I'll let it pass and instead of spending all my money on Nintendo machines/software I just get a second console and spend my money there. This time it was the PS4 Pro because right now I have a powerful PC too. Next time it may be the next xbox.
 
#38
It was no secret that Wii U was bizarrely behind in power to pretty much everything current at the time and especially coming soon after (console-wise of course).
I always thought the Wii U was more powerful than PS3. I owned both. Am I wrong?

As for Switch, personally I'd prefer more power at the expense of portability, but I acknowledge that I'm not the target audience for that system.
 
#39
I always thought the Wii U was more powerful than PS3. I owned both. Am I wrong?

As for Switch, personally I'd prefer more power at the expense of portability, but I acknowledge that I'm not the target audience for that system.
Wii U had a better GPU and more RAM but the CPU severely hindered any real potential it had power-wise.
 
#40
I guess it would depend on whether you primarily use it as a handheld or as a home console.

As a handheld it represents a massive step up from the 3DS in every way. Though I do miss the dual screen from time to time (Etrian Odyssey anyone?).

As a home console it is obviously not a huge improvement from the Wii U. But it has UE4 so more ports from 3rd parties hopefully.
 
#41
After purchasing and playing through Valkyria Chronicles 4 on the Switch when I own both a ps4 pro and a gtx1080 gaming pc, I must say I'm very pleased with the systems performance. It's very capable for todays games and in three or four years when it starts to feel really outdated, it'll be about the time for Nintendo to release a more powerful device. The Switch is very sufficient right now.
That's what I think too.
But what would you think of that :
https://www.resetera.com/posts/13334305/

Meaning, would you agree, more or less, or not, more or less too ?
 
#42
Handheld wise, yeah, it's great imo in terms of power and visuals.

As a home console it's fine now in current gen, but I am somewhat concerned when it comes to next gen and ports. We'd simply need more games like Octopath that are tailor made for the platform. Even though that's probably a lot to ask from bigger publishers.
 
#43
function scrollToId(selector, offset = 60) { window.scroll(0, document.querySelector(selector).offsetTop - offset); return false } I always thought the Wii U was more powerful than PS3. I owned both. Am I wrong?
It can reach higher heights, but it is not better in every scenario.

Xenoblade Chronicles X is noticeably better looking than any PS3 open-world game, and the ram size probably played a big role on displaying that impressive scale. I also thought at the time that Mario Kart 8 looked better and more clean to me than what was usually done on PS3/X360.
 
#45
I am not a huge Nintendo fan anymore and I am certainly not ok with the power of the Switch but I accept it for what it is.
 
#48
Since I don't care about the handheld mode and only play docked the power is quite disappointing.

I wish it was at least able to run most games in 1080p.

That said, Nintendo still knows how to make games look good on machines with little power. I'm always surprised how amazing BotWs overall visuals are
 

Jahranimo

Community Resettler
Member
#49
The Switch is noticeably more powerful than the Wii U, has more modern architecture and has the latest commercial tech for the form factor.

I'm pretty good with the power. Wish it'd last longer in handheld mode but that's really it.
 
#50
I love the Switch but I'll admit, ultimately I'm a little let down by the specs. Too many games can't hit 720p60 (or hell, even 720p30) in portable and I find that kind of unacceptable so I find myself trending farther and farther towards only buying 2D/pixel art indies on the device. Considering the form factor, it's fine. I can deal with it. But I'll be in line for Switch 2 or SwitchPro SO fast.
 
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