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Switch Successor Will Struggle With Backwards Compatibility

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Nintendo is working on a new console. We have heard reports regarding this Nintendo Switch successor for a few months already. However, according to a software developer, Nintendo is and will face challenges with backward compatibility on the Switch successor. So much so that the developer basically says that gamers shouldn’t bank on the new console supporting Switch game.

The developer is a well-known software engineer who doubles up as a content creator on the side named ModernVintageGamer. He claims that the Nintendo Switch currently uses the Tegra X1 chipset developed by NVIDIA. It is the same chipset that powers the NVIDIA Shield Android TV device. This chip was developed for hardware created between 2015 and 2018. So it is already quite old.

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ModernVintageGamer says that if Nintendo is developing a new console without the Tegra X1 chip in it, which the company will likely do, Switch games won’t just work on the new console. He says that every single Switch game would have to be recompiled from an engine point of view in order to support the hardware.

But all is not lost. MVG says there are ways to get around this compatibility issue. The first would be software emulation. Nintendo would have to develop a way to emulate Switch games on its new console similar to how Microsoft works with the classic Xbox games on its hardware. However, the hurdle here is the resources needed to perform emulation. It is a hardware-intensive path which will require significant processing power.

MVG mentions that even the Steam Deck, which is much more powerful than the Nintendo Switch, struggles to emulate even the oldest games properly. The new Switch successor will need to have beefier internals to get past this.

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Another way around the backwards compatibility constraint would be to work alongside NVIDIA in order for the company to integrate Tegra X1 support onto the Switch’s new SoC (system on a chip). The issue here is this method will need a lot of time and resources to implement.

NVIDIA has worked on multiple successors to its Tegra X1 chip with Thor being the latest reported tech in development. These chips are designed specifically for a case-by-case basis meaning that even if Nintendo were to opt for using Thor or even the earlier model, Orin, there’s no backwards compatibility in place from the start.

The last method, which is likely the easiest, would be to integrate the NVIDIA Tegra X1 chipset into every new console Nintendo releases in addition to the new chip. This means the chip will be included on the hardware so when launching Switch games, these would simply run on the chipset. Of course, this does mean the console’s price tag will be a lot higher than expected.

It also means Nintendo will be forced to add the dated cartridge slot into this new console in order for physical games to be supported on the hardware too.

According to reports, Nintendo is working with set developers on patches for games to support the new console. However, this doesn’t mean every single Switch game released to date will be updated.

Source: MVG

Marco is the owner and founder of GLITCHED. South Africa’s largest gaming and pop culture website. GLITCHED quickly established itself with tech and gaming enthusiasts with on-point opinions, quick coverage of breaking events and unbiased reviews across its website, social platforms, and YouTube channel.

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