News: Switching Off

Do not buy the system for its third party ports however.
Switch games can still look beautiful even if the machine can’t match the power of Xbox One.

No Secret Sauce for Switch

Bad news for Nintendo secret sauce connoisseurs this week, with Venturebeat revealing that multiple sources had confirmed that Nintendo Switch will use Nvidia’s older Maxwell architecture rather than bleeding edge Pascal-based chips. This should come as no surprise to sane people, as Nvidia have not even released a product yet which is powered by the Pascal-based Tegra P1. They likely will have by the time the Switch launches, but companies like Nintendo require hardware well in advance to power their development kits, else risk having no games available at launch. Nonetheless, such practicalities certainly do not inhibit Nintendo fans from boldly asserting that the Switch will use the most modern high power chips on the market in spite of the fact that this would fly in the face of Nintendo’s design sensibilities for the past fifteen years. This latest reveal will likely just be but a fleeting setback for them too, as they will simply go go back to speculating that there is some secret sauce hidden in the Switch’s television dock – at least until the system actually launches and they go silent until Nintendo’s next console reveal.

GamesBeat has confirmed from two sources (who don’t want to be identified) that the Switch’s graphics are based on Nvidia’s older Maxwell architecture, not the new Pascal graphics technology that the chipmaker introduced earlier this year. The semi-custom Nvidia Tegra processor in the machine is still powerful enough to play typical Nintendo cartoon-style games (like the Mario series), but don’t expect the highest-end games we’re seeing on the PS4 or Xbox One to run on the Switch.

Many Nintendo fans [against all reason] held implicit faith that Nintendo’s pseudo portable console would be at least as powerful as the Xbox One, which is obviously not going to be the case. This should come as no surprise to anyone following Switch news, as it has previously been confirmed that Switch development kits only have 4 gigabytes of RAM, and console manufacturers would not simply include half the amount of RAM as their competitors while still expecting it to run the same game experiences. In all actuality 4 gigabytes is probably the perfect amount of RAM to have for a system that is like a half-generational leap ahead of the Wii U. To be quite honest, this deficit in power does not even matter for a $250 Nintendo system which will feature all of their first party output. Nintendo games do not need to run on PS4 equivalent hardware in order to look great, and so the only people that this really stands to effect are people who like third party games, but refuse to buy non-Nintendo systems. This woeful and retarded community of people deserves any misfortune that may befall them.

Jack of all trades...
Switch VR looks to be very much an improvised experience.

Switch Set to Offer World’s Worst VR!

There was a rumour a while back that Nintendo had delayed the planned launch of the then NX in order to include several VR features. Obviously given the extreme likelihood that the NX hardware would be under-powered compared to rival consoles [an assumption wholly vindicated by the previous news story] it seemed much more likely at the time that these ‘VR features’ would turn out to be more in line with augmented reality features, especially since Nintendo already did a lot of that sort of thing with the 3DS. This week it turns out that Nintendo Switch owners are actually set to receive VR if Nintendo’s patents are anything to go by.

The information processing system [tablet] may include an accessory to which the main unit 2 can be attached. An HMD accessory to be described below as an example accessory can be used as a so-called HMD (head mounted display) with the main unit 2 [tablet by itself] attached thereto.

Essentially Nintendo have made their own version of Google Cardboard, where the tablet portion of the device slots into a pair of goggles. Apparently the VR features that prolonged the system’s launch date were motion sensors in the screen and in both break-away controller segmants. This way the screen can track the player’s head movements while the controllers are able to track hand movements. Hilariously, by the time the Switch launches Nintendo will have missed almost all of the fad that was VR, and on top of that the Switch will almost certainly be terrible at playing VR content. Even the much more powerful PS4 requires an additional processing box in order to effectively double the 60fps refresh rate into something fluid enough to not make players feel ill. On the other hand the Switch VR solution looks to be a very much bare bones offering. Its 720p screen will look ghastly up that close, and if it is tasked with playing cut down versions of PS4 and PC VR games then it will struggle to hit 30fps, much less the full 60fps mandated for PS4 VR games – and it will in all likelihood lack an external processor to increase framerate as with Playstation VR. Virtual reality requires a refresh rate of over 100fps in order for players to not feel immediately ill, and the Switch looks set to fail in this regard quite spectacularly. Nintendo would do well to just quietly cancel this feature as it does not play to their system’s strengths.

How can people actually be shilling for this shit?!
South Korea has effectively outlawed game customisation.

It Is Now Illegal for South Koreans to Violate EULA

Yes, that is no typo – this author did not mean to instead write North Koreans, as it is South Koreans who are now subject to what must surely be EA’s wettest of dreams. It is illegal for South Koreans to develop any piece of software which violates any of the arbitrary terms of service that publishers craftily devise for their wares. The law is aimed at eliminating cheating software such as aimbots, trainers, and lag switches, yet it seems to be worded in such a way as to criminalise even something as benign as a mod if it should happen to contravene the wishes of the publisher EULA.

Does cheating in online games suck? Sure. Is it worth sacrificing our consumer freedoms to the alter of corporate control over cheating? Absolutely not. As the saying goes: those willing to sacrifice freedom in order to gain safety and comfort deserve neither, and a lot worse besides. Freedoms, once taken away, are seldom ever returned. The people shilling for this are repugnant, and the companies that push for this kind of thing are repulsive in the extreme. This new law will see to it that anyone found guilty of producing a piece of software which violates a EULA will be subject to up to five years imprisonment or a $43,000 fine. EULAs are so generally abusive that the EU as ruled them to be legally invalid, whereas the South Korean government has this week imbued them with such power that they are going to ruin people’s lives for crossing them. Sucks to be a Korean gamer.

3 comments

  1. The idea that violating a User License Agreement is now tantamount to violating a law, with an accompanying prison term, is INSANE. It is mind-boggling the amount of power over their lives that some people want to give to corporations. South Korea is one fucked-up place.

    Nintendo’s Witch VR should be killed now before it releases, crashes, burns, and costs Nintendo even more money. Stop ploughing money into it *now*. Don’t double down on it and release and pay for all those units, etc!

  2. The Switch’s VR sounds a lot like the Wii U’s 2 gamepad feature. Nintendo announced at E3 2012 that the Wii U could use 2 gamepads at one time, albeit with a performance hit (games would drop to 30 fps), and we all know how that ended. Considering the Switch’s specs, I wouldn’t be shocked if VR followed a similar path, but it might not matter too much considering the quick death that VR seems to be suffering.

  3. I don’t get criminal penalties for contract violation. I just don’t. Civil penalties like fines are bad enough.

    Thankfully, that sort of chicanery is all but impossible in common-law derived legal systems, at least not without massive restructuring of legal precedent.

    That said, I’m waiting bemusedly for the day on which some enterprising corporation will attempt a “fraud” theory against someone who obtains a service and signs the EULA without intending to follow it. It’s nonsense, of course, and no one could ever prove intent to defraud when signing up for it in most cases, but in something like a Glider developer signing a contract with Blizzard all the while knowing they were using the service to develop a cheat program, it feasibly could be done.

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