News: Battery Bonanza

Battery Life Upgrade for the Regular Switch SKU

Last week Nintendo announced the Switch Lite, a Switch SKU with a more portable form factor facilitated a drastic reduction in the size and energy efficiency of the Tegra processor which powers the system, owing to a newer generation of Nvidia’s chip fabrication process. Despite the more portable dimensions of the Switch Lite, it is the standard model of Nintendo’s Switch hardware which may turn out to be the ultimate portable SKU of Nintendo’s Switch hardware.

Nintendo Switch - FEATURED

A Switch hardware refresh is cutting the cord with a massive improvement to battery life!

When the Switch Lite was announced Digital Foundry voiced some initial surprise, as they had been following the development of Nvidia’s new fabrication process, and had been expecting some heavy duty gains in battery life as a result of the new chip’s increased efficiency. The Switch Lite does feature an increase in battery life, but it is a very marginal thing, amounting to about an extra half hour of juice. It turns out that in order for Nintendo to accomodate the more portable form factor they had to reduce the size of the Switch Lite’s battery. All is not for naught however, as Nintendo are set to introduce a new SKU if regular Switch hardware which will include Nvidia’s new more efficient chip, and the increase in battery life is substantial. It feels like forever since Nintendo has released a handheld with decent battery life, but it looks like this new SKU of regular Switch hardware will be the premiere way of enjoying switch games on the go.

The original SKU of Switch hardware had a battery life of between 2.5 and 6.5 hours, and was capable of playing Breath of the Wild for about three hours. The Switch Lite increased all of these metrics by around half an hour. Now this new SKU is going to boast a dramatic increase in battery life of between 4.5 and 9 hours, and is capable of playing Breath of the Wild for 5.5 hours – so at the lower end of battery usage estimates, the new SKU is achieving something close to double the battery life. The regular Switch form factor is far from optimal for portable gaming, yet in spite of this the new Switch SKU sounds like the best way for adults to play Switch on the go (provided they are willing to sling a dedicated carry bag). This may sound a little contradictory, but what is more important to the portability; a marginal reduction in size, or independence from an external power source? 5 to 6 hours is a good sized play session, and finally makes the console independent from the power outlet. This new Switch hardware is expected to go on sale of October 4 of this year, just in time for Luigi’s Mansion 3.

Google Stadia Director of Product Talks Cloud-Based Game Ownership

When talking Stadia, one of the first concerns that comes to mind for most people (after accounting for latency problems) seems to be the permanence of game purchases on this ephemeral cloud-based platform. Before Stadia was officially announced most people had assumed that Stadia would be like Netflix for video games, and that a monthly fee would gain customers temporary access to the entire library. This turned out to not be the case, as Google fully intends to charge $60 per game. People are quite rightly concerned about what will happen to their purchases once Stadia underperforms and is relegated to The Google Graveyard along with the other 171 Google services which preceded it.

Final Fantasy XV - Screenshot - FEATURED

The one saving grace with Google Stadia is that you may lose access to Final Fantasy XV.

This week the Google Stadia Director of Product Andrey Doronichev took part in a Reddit AMA in order to quiet concerns. Do you think he succeeded in this? Well let us take a look at the fruits of this exercise in consumer outreach. The magic happened when a Reddit user asked Doronichev:

If the Stadia service is discontinued, do we know what (if anything) will happen with game purchases?

Doronichev then responded:

We get this a lot. I hear you. Moving to the cloud is scary. I felt the same way when music was transitioning from files to streaming. I still have all my old CDs in the garage… although it’s hard to find a CD player these days :)

The same happened to Movies and Photos and my Docs and other files… And it’s great! Games are no different. Eventually all of our games will be safely in the cloud too and we’ll feel great about it. We’ve been investing a ton in tech, infrastructure and partnerships over the past few years. Nothing in life is certain, but we’re committed to making Stadia a success.

The games you buy on Stadia are yours to play. From day one we’ll support Takeout, so that you can download your game metadata, including saves if you want to.
Of course, it’s ok to doubt my words. Theres nothing I can say now to make you believe if you don’t. But what we can do is to launch the service and continue investing in it for years to come. Exactly how we’ve been doing with gMail, Docs, Music, Movies and Photos. That’s exactly what we’re committed to.

Just relax, nerds, you are totally going to love having all of your games stashed safely in the cloud! Your games will be just as safe as all that music you have bought online!

One is not sure what the typical online music customer’s experience of digital purchases has bee, but this author has bought albums on both iTunes and Bandcamp – and both services have retracted access to purchased albums. In the case of Bandcamp they removed access to purchased albums because they disagreed with the politics of the artist who created it – which is something that Google would totally do! With Steam they allow permanent access to bought games even if they are pulled from the store, but even this is only good for as long as Steam is running. Once the servers are switched off everything goes away. So who wants to be the first person to buy a $60 game on Google Stadia?

The Western Vidya Industry Can Unperson Voice Actors Too

The TDT staff recently found it quite remarkable the lengths to which the Japanese video game industry was willing to go to in order to unperson actor Pierre Taki after he was arrested for cocaine usage. On the more extreme side of things you had Sega pulling Judgement from sale in Japan, in order to replace Taki’s likeness and voice work, while on the more moderate end you had Square Enix removing his Kingdom Hearts III voice work in a patch, which nonetheless seemed like a surprising expense to incur voluntarily. It would seem that going to such lengths is not a uniquely Japanese trait however, and this week it became apparent that Riot Games are about to replace Vic Mignogna’s voice work in League of Legends. The only difference being that Pierre Taki was guilty of cocaine usage, while Vic Mignogna is guilty of nothing at all, aside from being the victim of fake rape allegations.

Judgement- Screen 01 - FEATURED

Vic Mignogna is getting the Judgement treatment!

Vic Mignogna is best known to gamers as Persona 3’s Junpei, and best known to anime fans as Full Metal Alchemist’s Edward Elric and Dragon Ball’s Broly. In February of this year he was accused of sexual assault by a small group of social media addicts who apparently resented Mignogna for being a Christian and leading convention prayer groups, yet as soon as Mignogna sought a legal recourse for this defamation all the accusers and witnesses melted away to nothing, and now the fullest extent of the accusations being levelled against him appears to be that he once suggestively ate a jelly bean. Apparently this is all adequate grounds for Riot Games to go to the expense of replacing all of the voice acting for the character Lee Sin, who will now be voiced by Feodor Chin. Seems like a kind of silly expense to go to in response to such weak accusations. Does anyone even still play League of Legends? Congratulations, Riot Games!

7 comments on “News: Battery Bonanza”

  1. @SN: That explains why the Switch Lite isn’t benefitting from the battery bonanza! A shame really, but most people these days have ready access (even when out and about) to the ability to charge a Switch, either by wall socket or via USB, so maybe it won’t matter very much.

    Also, I don’t know anyone who still plays Overwatch, and if someone is playing League of Legends at this point, they’d have to be a rusted-on crazyfan.

  2. If I was buying a system to play portably then the battery would be my primary concern. I just don’t see how something can be portable without a decent battery. If I played my Switch in portable mode then I would likely be pretty excited about this.

  3. @SN: I think three to four hours between plug sockets is not bad, honestly, especially given the ageing demographic of their userbase. The average Nintendo Switch owner isn’t a 9-year-old who is outside for 12 hours a day trying to play his Switch in the park. It’s a thirty-something guy who plays it on public transport or during his lunchbreak, when he plays it portably at all. For such cases, 3-4 hours of battery life is more than enough.

  4. That last part is exactly me. Four hours of portable battery time covers me for two days without charging, and since I always have my Switch docked when I’m at home, the battery life isn’t an issue. The Joy-Cons, however, take a lot of enjoyment out of using the Switch in portable mode and Nintendo should apologize for making them.

    Cloud – Final Fantasy 7

  5. Battery life is extremely important to me – I want to be able to just sit down and play without having to worry about the battery after an hour or so of gameplay. Perhaps this is a minority concern?

    As a 90s kid I find it deeply ironic that we are now playing our consoles in a completely wireless fashion while at the same time being tethered to power bricks and wall outlets on our portables! ^_^

  6. I find being able to dock the Switch and play on my TV solves most battery life issues for me. Battery life was a consistent issue for me with the Vita and 3ds because I often forgot to charge them while at home but I just naturally throw the Switch in its dock when I get home. However, the Switch isn’t a great choice for a road trip, and because of that I highly recommend a hacked Vita/3ds over the Switch for your big American Vacation.

  7. Tournament Entry Awarded: Gyme (28 July)!

    Tournament Entry Awarded: SiliconNooB (29 July)!

    Tournament Entry Awarded: Gyme (29 July!)

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