There has been a lot of chatter lately that the Nintendo Switch may be weaker than some expected, and while this new rumor doesn’t inherently lessen that chatter, it does fundamentally point out the Switch can do something that really doesn’t exist in this form factor on the market. According to NeoGAF user M3d10n, there are two distinct default settings in Unreal Engine 4 for the Nintendo Switch – one while it is docked and the other when you’re on the go.
This comes from Unreal Engine 4’s master bin file, which essentially contains a group of default settings for various devices for devs to work with. Three names in the file, Wolf, WolfSea, and WolfAir, all got changed over to Switch, SwitchConsole, and SwitchHandheld, respectively. Naturally it’s safe to assume that Wolf was the code name they decided to use in the files before the device was officially unveiled.
Anyways, here are the default settings for the system both docked and undocked:
Does that look like a bunch of mumbo jumbo? Let’s break it down. Essentially, the docked version can play games at full 1080p with Unreal Engine 4 running the games on medium settings. When the system is on the go, it plays games at 720p (the rumored specs for the screen itself) and on low settings. To put this in perspective, the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Slim, Xbox One, and Xbox One S all have defaults that amount to 1080p, high settings (one notch above the Switch while docked).
Obviously, this provides fuel for those that are upset the Switch cannot match an original Xbox One in power. However, because the Switch is also portable, this is extremely notable in nature, as the Switch is running the full version of Unreal Engine 4. There is a mobile version that is gimped, but that’s not what this is. That means games made in Unreal Engine 4 are easily scaleable to the Switch as is. Hoping for those third party ports? If they use Unreal Engine 4, the Switch is just as capable as any PC that can run the games on medium settings (capable, in terms of getting the games to work).
It’s also note worthy these are default settings, they could easily lower one setting to raise another, and we can’t be sure what ideal FPS target this aims for, though 30fps seems likely as it is still, unfortunately, a console standard. For now, we are 100% sure these settings exist, but we can’t know if they are based upon a final build or older dev units. Either way, for the most part this is pretty positive news for the Switch in terms of it’s ability to get third party software. In years past, the hardware architecture (not the overall power of the system) was a massive limiting factor for bringing games over. As in, games would not scale well. With NVidia tech at work, it appears Nintendo made a smart choice for scale-ability purposes alone.