Straight Ports To Nintendo Switch May Not Be Possible, Former Ubisoft Developer Speculates
However, he is speaking on the basis of leaked specs, as opposed to official documentation.
While it is now abundantly clear that the Nintendo Switch will categorically not be as powerful as the PS4 or the Xbox One, people have still been banking on the system getting third party games- after all, Nintendo showed off a truly impressive lineup of third parties supporting the system, and Nvidia, who have supplied the chipset for the system, have hinted that straight ports to Switch from PS4 and Xbox One may in fact be relatively easy.
However, speaking on the Beyond 3D forums, former Ubisoft senior rendering lead and co-founder of Second Order LTD Sebastian Aaltonen shared his thoughts on whether or not the Switch would be able to run direct ports from PS4 and Xbox One. In his view? The prognosis is not so rosy.
“Around 50% of modern game engine frame time goes to running compute shaders (lighting, post processing, AA, AO, reflections, etc). Maxwell’s tiled rasterizer has zero impact on compute shaders. 25.6 GB/s is pretty low as everybody knows that 68 GB/s of Xbox One isn’t that great either,” he said. “ESRAM is needed to reach good performance. But I am talking about the POV of down porting current gen games to Switch. Switch certainly fares well against last gen consoles, and Maxwell’s tiled rasterizer would certainly help older pixel + vertex shader based renderers. Too bad last gen consoles already got their last big AAA releases year ago. Easy ports between Xbox 360 and Switch are not available anymore. Xbox One is a significantly faster hardware. Straightforward code port is not possible. Content also needs to be simplified.”
Of course, it is important to note that he is not speaking from any true knowledge of what the device is capable of- but rather, by speculating on leaked specs. Those specs, we have since been told by insiders, may already be outdated. And certainly, the idea that the Switch won’t be able to run direct PS4 ports doesn’t seem to hold when one considers that Ubisoft themselves are apparently porting their upcoming Assassin’s Creed game to the system. So, take this all with massive pinches of salt- we’ll know what’s what for sure come January 12 and 13, when Nintendo take the wraps off of their upcoming system in full at last.