Episode 408: The Switchcourse

Austin, Patrick and Cado are back from a long break spent traveling and seeing family, which meant gaming on the go. They've all been playing lots of stuff on their Switches, and bumping up against some of the frustrating issues the now four year old console has. As luck would have it, Nintendo happened to announce a new Switch model this week, but it wasn't quite the hardware upgrade anyone was hoping for. Join the Waypoint Radio crew as they compare some of the games they're playing on Switch to their PC versions and break down how the "4k Switch" rumour mill might have originated.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://play.acast.com/s/vicegamingsnewpodcast/episode408-theswitchcourse
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I played BOTW on the WiiU, and the forests where people had crazy slow-down had crazy slow-down there too. It wasn’t any better.

And yeah, the Switch has felt pathetic and ancient to me for a long time. I can name more games I’ve played over the last year with performance problems than ones without. CrossCode and Haven ran particularly horribly. I had graphical issues on Paradise Killer where the whole game would crash down to like MS DOS-level 3D graphics at times.

It’s real disappointing that this machine is going to hobble forward for like three years feeling like one of its legs were shot off. If BOTW2 runs real bad, that’s going to be a serious scandal. I don’t need a handheld PS5 running at 4K or anything, but could it please run Umurangi Generations better?

I am actually at the point where I’m worried to buy a game like Boomerang X on the Switch because I’m not sure if the game will run at all.

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On the other hand, I spent $400 CAD for a Switch near launch and I’d hate for them to abandon the system only four years in. The devs know the specs, why should I have to spend more money and create more plastic waste because they can’t or won’t optimize their games? There’s plenty of stuff that runs great on the Switch, and if the Haven or Crosscode devs can’t get it to work on the platform, frankly that’s a “them” problem, not a “me” problem.

And yeah, if Nintendo can’t make their games work on the Switch, that’s even worse. They only have one spec to target. I’m ok with a non-perfect framerate or low resolution, but if it’s affecting playability, I’m just not going to buy the game. The OG Gameboy was a viable platform for 12 years with potato hardware, don’t tell me we need to spend more money just to get games to work on the target platform.

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It becomes a “me” problem when I spend money on a game that barely fucking runs and there’s no real refund option on the Switch. Do I dare risk $60 on Neo TWEWY which could be a total loss if that game runs crappy, versus just buying it on PS5 when I know it will be stable? Legitimately the Switch might just collect dust on my table for the rest of its life unless JRPGs or Visual Novels come out, where performance doesn’t matter.

Yeah, it sucks that they’d make you pay full money for new hardware, but it also sucks already that they’re charging $350 for this pathetic OLED upgrade.

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Yeah, that does suck, and it’s gotten to the point that I’m looking up performance metrics before I buy anything on Switch. Nintendo really needs to up their quality control.

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A Switch Pro in the way people were hoping for was never, ever, going to happen this year. Market and Supply Chain conditions simply disallow for it. The Switch is still selling quite robustly, there’s no incentive for Nintendo to bifurcate their user base. That would probably be mostly true in normal times, but is especially so given that supply chains are a wreck.

Everyone has heard of the chip shortage, but I don’t think many people really understand how bad it is. I work in an industry being affected by this and lead times on affected items have gone from weeks to months to years. Yes years, the best commitment we can get on some items is August of 2022.

Releasing new hardware with a whole new SoC and whole new production lines simply wasn’t in the cards. And it’ll be fine. Microsoft never committed to and Sony has walked/ran away screaming from the notion of abandoning last-gen hardware. True next-gen exclusives will be scarce for the next couple years.

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I just nodded along as Austin talked about the process of playing Dark Souls, constantly saying to yourself “I’m done after this,” and then “just a little more,” and then five hours later you’re another quarter into the game and you’re contemplating just not sleeping for a few days because its got its claws in you so good. I know never to pick up one of those games and just start playing if I don’t have a nice two weeks of chill lined up to just lose myself into them.

I think it’s just because the natural moments where you’d quit a particular play session — “I’ll just beat this boss” or “I’ll just find another bonfire” or “I’ll get to this new area” carry such momentum, opening up new paths and secrets and possibilities, that it’s just impossible to actually stop in those moments. But you also don’t want to stop when stuck on something because you know you’re incrementally improving and it always feels like the next time will be the one — until it actually is and you suddenly have more to do. It just feels impossible to casually play a Souls game.

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i guess it maybe speaks to the variety of games available on switch that we can have such different experiences, but i spend probably 50% of my gaming time on it and have never felt like “this is terrible, this thing needs to retire”. most recent example that i can recall is valkyrie chronicles 4, which had a map early on that was chugging considerably… but far from making it unplayable.

i’m yet to have that “i can’t believe they tried to jam this game onto switch” feeling that many seem to have had. maybe i’m just not as sensitive to frame stuff, i guess…

edit: whoops, replied to navster instead of BlueHighwind. d’oh.

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Same, I’ve never had any real issues with the Switch except getting Joycon drift last year (which, honestly, was only a pain because the repair center was closed for a few months at the start of the pandemic). Pretty much every game I have played runs fine, and the worst frame dips I’ve ever experienced were like… 25 FPS in Hades in some of the really crowded rooms, and that’s still playable.

But I also never bought a PS4 Pro, and don’t anticipate being able to buy a PS5 before '23, so if there’s something I’m missing about the half-way or full next gen consoles, I wouldn’t know it. :sweat_smile:

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The thing that blows my mind is that I’ve run into some really weird performance issues on Pokemon, Bowser’s Fury, some other Nintendo-made games when nothing that graphically intense was going on, but then Monster Hunter Rise looks as incredible as it does with lightning fast load times. Even in handheld mode! Clearly you can make great looking games that perform well on the Switch, but only a select few have gotten it done and not even Nintendo is among them

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I think the only problem I’ve had with my Switch is when I tried to play Civ 6. If I remember right it would just crash after less than an hour of play, and that’s not something I’m going to play in half-hour chunks. But I have also never docked my Switch, so I understand that I’m an outlier in a lot of ways.

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Maybe this is just me embracing the reality of not getting a GPU anywhere close to MSRP in the near future, but the Switch’s lack of performance hasn’t really been a bother to me. I go in with realistic expectations and it’s all perfectly acceptable to me. I also don’t expect things to look like they’re running on a cutting edge system. I played all of RE Village on my 1000 series card, and yeah I wasn’t getting buttery 120fps on high setting a but I still played the game and enjoyed it. Sometimes the Switch chokes up but I’ve never been in the financial league to NOT have that happen.

The lack of a Switch Pro doesn’t bother me, and a lot of that has to do with Nintendo’s abysmal track record of upgrade handhelds. I was perfectly happy without a DSi or new 3DS. I’m in no hurry to drop significant coin on an incremental upgrade that won’t be utilized by the majority of games.

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Right now my Switch is the Monster Hunter machine, and that runs quite fantastically, I mean it’s not 60fps but I (hardly) ever get any performance dips, which is quite impressive.
However as mentioned there are games released both now and in the past that perform terribly on the system, so if devs just can’t manage to get to a stable performance having a bit of extra processing power would be quite welcome.
I don’t need it to be in 4K or to be able to run the latest AAA games, I just want to play the games I love like BOTW at a stable framerate (preferably 60).
It’s understandable that an iteration of the Switch would be pretty barebones considering the shortage situation in the tech space, but I feel like this is kind of a pointless upgrade that would only really make sense for new buyers.

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I feel like I’m the odd one out but I have not touched my Switch in a very long time. In fact the only time I really ever use it is when someone is over and we want to play something like Mario Kart. It’s also pretty much the defacto JackBox machine that I take when I visit family.

I keep trying to get into games on it but outside of Sonic Mania and for awhile Mario + Rabbids I have not found anything that keeps me hooked. I just don’t really like first party Nintendo games and I find the Joycons as a controller awful. They’re the most expensive controller on the market and they feel terrible. The joystick itself is just really weak feeling when compared to something like an Xbox or a Playstation and I don’t even want to talk about the excuse for a dpad they have. For $70 it should feel solid.

I hate using the controllers so much I would rather buy a game on Steam and stream it to the TV in the living room so I can use an Xbox controller then buy it on Switch. And yes there is the pro controller but even it doesn’t feel great while still managing to be more expensive then a basic wireless Xbox controller. It also is not even supported by all of Nintendo’s own games which seems like a truly bizarre choice on something like Let’s Go Eevee/Pikachu.

If you are a Nintendo fan I understand why you would really like the Switch but it feels like a let down if you are not and have either a PC or any other console to play 3rd party cross console released games.

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I feel like the strongest switch advocates the ones who treat it as a handheld console? Of course, there’s a lot less call for that atm, but the fact that the only other portable market is phones means it’s still clearly best in class.

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On an entirely selfish level I’m pretty pleased the OLED Switch is a bit of a nothing announcement. I lost my Switch in May and held off on buying a replacement until after E3 in case the Switch Pro materialised. I caved and bought a new one 6 days before this announcement. The new screen looks nice but I don’t feel I’m missing anything with the same internals.

Still love my old Switch, it’s where I do 90% of my gaming these days. It’s the perfect dad gamer machine to pick up and play in any room of the house. Plenty powerful enough for the indie rogue likes, Metroidvanias and ports of PS3 and 360 games that I play on it.

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I’ve heard a lot of different takes about mario golf but have yet to come to a conclusion if a 7 year old and a 5 year old would like it. I bought them a switch last christmas and was thinking mario golf would be good this christmas. what does the waypoint community think?

Yeah, I find the “ugh, Nintendo really fucked up the specs on this one” tone of the discussion really strange. The hardware predates the software, so poor performance is the fault of poor targeting or inadequate optimisation - that’s true for everything from first-party titles to over-ambitious ports.

The Switch is capable of beautiful visuals, there are plenty of examples of this. Even with the (infrequent) frame rate dips, Breath of the Wild is one of the best looking games I’ve ever seen. Developers will always pursue unrealistic and unnecessary levels of visual fidelity - if they didn’t we’d have seen rock-solid frame rates and resolutions for 3 console generations now.

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this is absolutely it for me.

if switch wasn’t switch, but just a traditional console, i’d probably think it was pretty decent.

as a portable console it’s maybe my favorite console of all time. and i don’t even mean portable as in commuter portable, i mean i mostly play my switch on the couch or in bed.
there are a lot of times when due to family situations i can’t be using the tv. switch saves the day. massive indie library on the go makes it an all time great for me.

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  1. I think part of the problem with Switch performance compared to previous handhelds (e.g. 3DS and PSP) is that it’s powerful enough that it can potentially run console games, so you don’t need to design specifically for it, but it’s not powerful enough to actually match the performance of other consoles, so it’s always going to have the lowest-end performance. For example, Monster Hunter Rise runs well on the Switch because that series used to be on the 3DS and they made a lot of smart choices to improve performance (e.g. look at Rathian’s fire breath compared to World), but the performance on the PC version is going to blow it out of the water. Monster Hunter Generations didn’t have that issue because that was only on 3DS, so it was designed for 3DS, and there was nothing to compare it to.

  2. Design for handheld games is very different from design for console games. For example, handheld games should be playable in 5-10 minute chunks, usually with fewer buttons, and many players will have the sound off. Because the Switch is both a handheld and a TV console and many people only use it one or the other way, odds are any given game is going to disappoint one group. If it’s designed as a handheld game, then it’s probably going to seem simplistic and repetitive to console people. If it’s designed as a console game, it’s probably also being released on other platforms, which will have better performance, and it’s probably not going to be a great handheld game.

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