After a week of gaming with Nintendo Switch, a couple of pain points have emerged. A Forbes report earlier today covers these issues in part, one being battery life when undocked, and the other being a bit more serious – framerate discrepancies between portable and docked modes.
The first of these is not necessarily a major issue, unless you plan to be offline and on the move for extended periods. Zelda, for example, runs for about three hours before the battery dies, but some graphics-intensive games will only allow for about 2.5 hours of gameplay.
Of course, you’re likely to have access to charging points when you travel, at least most of the time, so this isn’t a deal-breaker. But if Nintendo wants the Switch to be a serious multiplayer platform, this is definitely an issue they need to address at the earliest. In the meantime, a portable battery pack should help fill that gap.
On the other hand, the Nintendo Switch has been designed to fit a particular price point so it can target a larger segment of gamers. That means a larger battery could put paid to that strategy. It’ll be interesting to see what Nintendo does on that front, the issue being delicately balanced between pricing and user experience.
The second issue is more technical, and there are reports of framerates dropping when you dock the unit to the base. That’s not good.
The problem here is not the disparate framerates between portable and docked modes. Those are merely the symptoms. The real problem is that Nintendo hasn’t been able to bring a fix for the issue in time for launch. We know that the product was a rushed to market, but this isn’t the kind of thing you’d expect from a company that’s been in the gaming space for that many decades.
The larger issue, as Forbes contributor Ollie Barder points out, is for game studios to balance the game for two modes instead of just one. The fallout of this is that studios simply won’t bother doing that balancing, and docked versions will always be inferior to gameplay on portable mode.
That said, the rate at which Nintendo Switch has been flying off the shelves could take a hit, considering the publicity that these two issues are now getting. Bad PR is the worst thing that could happen to Nintendo now because of various disadvantages the new gaming system faces.
The biggest disadvantage is the limited launch titles, of course, but that’s been talked about into the ground, but upcoming titles should help address that problem to a great extent. The battery issue, as we said, was a minor one that won’t be noticed by the average gaming enthusiast. Which means the technical issue of framerate disparity is the one problem still hanging over their heads.
Version 2.0.0 of the Nintendo Switch software was released alongside the product, and brought in several features such as free online multiplayer gaming until the fall launch of paid online services, adding friends, sharing Album screenshots on social media, purchasing content from the eShop and earning points for the game card for use at physical retail stores.
Hopefully, Nintendo is working on a fix for the framerate issue, and that could come through a firmware update sometime soon. To us, this is the only real problem for the Nintendo Switch in the immediate future. The sooner they push that firmware update to the newly purchased devices, the better for the company, the product and the users.
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