The Nintendo Switch has garnered a lot of positive reception since it released back in March 2017. The system has not only lit up sales charts, but it’s also seemed to ignite a new wave of attention and appreciation coming from the development sphere of the gaming world.
Developers from both studios large and small have been raving about the system ever since they’ve been able to talk about it. In fact, it’s even been that way prior to its initial reveal. Ubisoft’s CEO on more than one occasion praised the Switch, which was known as the Nintendo NX at the time.
So, what’s behind all this positive fanfare? Well, one Japanese game composer, Yuzo Koshiro, has shared some insight on the matter. In an interview with Nintendo Life, Mr. Koshiro briefly talked about what makes the Switch an attractive platform. The main reasons that he highlighted are that the Switch uses a more “common architecture”, similar to the tools found on PC. The dev-kits are also “affordable” (yes, developers have to buy dev-kits). All of this has helped make life easier for studios, especially small indies. Thus, it’s no wonder why indies, particularly, have taken off massively on the Switch.
Here’s his full statement:
I think that Switch as a gaming platform is very attractive for small game development companies like us. Contrary to the old and unique consoles until 3DS, Switch has a relatively new and common architecture, like a PC. They also offer the development kit at an affordable price. It seems like Nintendo recently gives more importance to Indie games.
A long, hard road
Looking back at the troubled past of Nintendo home systems, it’s easy to see where Mr. Koshiro is coming from.
The Wii U was more powerful than the PS3/360, though the clock speed of its CPU was slower. It also used PowerPC architecture, meanwhile the PS4 and Xbox One used x86, so developers had a hard time building their games for all three systems. The original Wii, as successful as it was, was even harder to deal with due to its lack of HD capabilities, which forced developers to really sweat to port a game. Thus, most opted to create something totally unique (and usually very low-budget). The Gamecube was just a few notches shy of the original Xbox in terms of power and also superseded the PS2, though it used mini discs rather than DVDs. The N64 was a beast for its time, but cartridges held it back, so developers preferred the PS1 due to its use of CDs.
Really, the only time prior to Switch that Nintendo has made life easy for developers would be with the NES and SNES. So, this has certainly been a long road for the Big N to finally be catering to the needs of the studios once again. While the Switch still has limited technical power compared to the other modern consoles, it still has just enough to allow developers to pull off some serious porting jobs when they put their minds to it.