Even I’m starting to get tired of all of these rumors, but if I covered only positive rumors then I’d be a bad journalist, so I have to also cover negative ones.
In the past we’ve had NVIDIA officially state that the Nintendo Switch would be using a custom Tegra processor based on NVIDIA’s latest architecture. That would be the Pascal line of graphics processing untis, the GeForce 10 Series that hit store shelves back in May/June. Most rumors have corroborated the assumption that the Nintendo Switch would indeed be using this architecture. However, this one rumor started by VentureBeat(Which is being picked up by major outlets, unlike previous rumors which strikes me as odd.) suggests that Nintendo was too impatient and as a result will not be using Pascal, but a custom Maxwell chip instead. For those who don’t know, Maxwell is NVIDIA’s previous architecture and the one that was used for the Tegra X1.
This one is hard for me to wrap my head around because Maxwell is not NVIDIA’s latest architecture, so why would they try and pass it off as that? I won’t lie, it makes sense because Pascal is brand new and I have had my doubts NVIDIA would have had a finalized Pascal Tegra chip ready for mass production this fall to replace the custom X1 in the dev kits. I can believe that Nintendo is rushing the Switch to market and that, had they waited until the summer or fall of next year, NVIDIA would have gladly given them a brand new Pascal chip. But now that this rumor exists and clashes with every previous rumor, it’s making my head spin and really puts into perspective that we know nothing concrete about the hardware inside the Nintendo Switch, just that it’s powerful enough to run Dark Souls III and that the new indie game Seasons of Heaven looks beautiful on it. At this point I feel like further speculation on the consoles power is pointless because this one rumor has soured the pot and makes you question every prior rumor and likely everything that comes after until Nintendo makes an official statement.
The Better News: New Patents!
When it came to the NX, patents were the only concrete things we had to go off of for months before we started getting actual rumors not based on things we had seen before. Now, patents don’t necessarily mean that the Switch will have all of this, Nintendo could merely be protecting the ideas without implementing them, but they’re worth checking into for you guys so we have a more complete knowledge of what the system could be like. The being said, patents are kind of hard for me to read because its just walls and walls of tech speak and while I’m a bit of a computer whiz, a lot stills flies right over my head. I’ll try to summarize based on observations from commenters in the original post found here:
- NFC Reader in Joy-Con R(Right controller.)
- Rumble Motors in Joy-Con Controllers
- Portable Mode & Console Mode
- Touch Panel
- Gyro Sensors located in both the Switch unit and Joy-Cons
- Controller Cradle acts as Charger for Joy-Cons
- Switch Supports two players(Each player uses two Joy-Cons) & four players (One Joy-Con per player)
- HMD(Head Mounted Display) Support
- IR Sensor present on top of Joy-Con Controllers
- One trigger per Joy-Con
- One Patent suggests optional Joy-Con controllers that not only have normal D-Pads, but also different control layouts
- SD Card Storage
- Overclocking Confirmed
- Individual Joy-Cons have both L & R buttons(Note: Not the same as the Shoulder button.)
- Fan runs in Portable Mode
- Auto-adjusting Lighting
- Headphone Jack on top of the unit
- Supports Wired & Wireless data connections, wired when docked, wireless when in portable mode.
- Switch portable device can wirelessly connect to the dock and access the ethernet connection
- Record(Share) button
- Clickable Analog Sticks
- Sleep Mode for both console and portable
And here’s a Reddit post that probably has more than what I’ve managed to gather:
After reading all of this(And keep in mind that patents don’t always come true.) the Switch sounds like the most modular game console ever created. At this point I won’t rule out Nintendo releasing “Power Packs” to increase the power of the Switch regardless of whether it’s docked or portable. That could be the upgrade scheme they use where you buy the first upgrade pack that attaches to the system, and when a newer one comes out you can simply trade it in at GameStop to get some money back and buy the new one. The possibilities are truly endless with the Switch and it’s amazing how much they might have been able to cram into the Joy-Cons. And someone on NeoGAF did make it a point to mention that just because the patents only show two full Joy-Cons sets and 4 individual Joy-Cons, does not mean that’s the limit.
And that’s everything for right now. I expect to be back with more rumors next week.... yay...