The Nintendo Switch, a device that attempts (I say so because it's still unreleased yet) to combine mobile and living room gaming in one hybrid allows you to toggle the two modes in a single 'click' (make that two for both sides). Part of the 3-minute reveal that bothers me a lot, other than battery life while on mobile is its ability to process AAA games. Is it really that powerful?
What are AAA games anyway?
Well, there are a handful of definitions and arguments on what Triple-A games should be but in a sense, it has to do something with how much is being spent and how many people helped create the game. If you go to Wikipedia, budget and level of promotion are being considered, on top of that, it should be a bestseller afterwards. A more detailed definition I got from a blogger at Gamasutra.com says that it should have complicated content, not just a casual game and the graphics should be life-like, all the bells and whistles that you can pack into a Triple-A game feature wish list. This is expensive to build, which is why cost is directly associated with the AAA game definition.
One more crucial concept of AAA games is that it should push the system hardware to its limits. This is where I start to worry because I don't think we have enough technology to make this based on the portable devices we have today. Maybe there is, but it will be very expensive to make, ergo out of most gamers' price range. Well, maybe the console mode for Switch can do this and then downgrade the quality once you go outside to play. But if you look at the reveal video, it looks like the living room version only has the dock for the device and most probably there aren't any processors living inside it to boost up performance.
Why would AAA games fail on Nintendo Switch?
Back to the topic, Triple-A games for Nintendo Switch is like giving a shotgun to a 12 year-old-boy. There isn't really any possible computing power for AAA games to work properly as it should. Think of it this way, if you load Skyrim on that device, it will practically become Skyrim Lite due to hardware limitations. I have the guts to say this now because the current Nintendo lineup doesn't have enough juice to produce high quality graphics as compared to its rivals.
Another angle: look at our current gen consoles, they are bulky and then look at the Switch, it looks like there's just not enough real estate in there to put powerful sets of processing chips. Without the appropriate processing power, this could mean that all AAA games will have 'Lite' versions when playing via Nintendo Switch. This would mean that those existing gamers who love their AAA games to have immersive graphic experience will just prefer to stay at home with their PS4 Pros, Project Scorpios, even PC. If you ask me, I would gladly make a schedule just to play the game 'properly' with better graphics on a proper device than to play a crappy 'lite' version of it.
Reason number two on why AAA games wouldn't work on Nintendo Switch is because of the players themselves. If you look at the demographics, people interested in mobile gaming are casual gamers. These are the type of gamers who don't care about complex stories and high detailed graphics, they just want to play, mostly to pass the time. AAA games would be a lot more expensive than casual games, and what would you think casual gamers buy if they are to choose?
To balance the argument, there are also AAA games that are exclusive for Nintendo. Now, these games, I can dig since there's no other device that can play them. Say Zelda, pretty neat game, but if there's a PS4 Pro version of it, I'd drop the Switch right away and get that version, so the exclusive 'AAA' games can survive on Nintendo Switch, but for the others, I doubt it. I could go on and on but I'd just leave two reasons above that I think is enough. Anyway, here are some more reactions about Nintendo Switch's reveal: