Nintendo Switch Technical Details

Background 

Nintendo had record sales, sales, and profits in 2009 when the Wii and Nintendo DS came out in 2006 and 2004. In the following years of Nintendo, sales had decreased. The company had its first loss as a video game company before 2012 had written to launch the Wii U this year and had similar losses in the following years due to poor console reception.

The New York Times ran Nintendo’s 2014 financial forecast cut back to weak hardware sales compared to mobile games. The company had previously been hesitant about this market. President Satoru Iwata at the time believed that if they tried to enter the market, they would “no longer be Nintendo” and lose their identity. About three years before the Switch announcement, Iwata, Tatsumi Kimishima, Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto developed a strategy to revitalize Nintendo’s business model, which included bringing the mobile market closer, creating new hardware, and “maximizing [their] intellectuals” property “. Before his death, Iwata entered into a business alliance with the Japanese mobile operator DeNADevelop mobile titles based on Nintendo’s first-party franchise, as this approach would not compromise their integrity. After Iwata’s death in July 2015, Kimishima was named President of Nintendo, while Miyamoto was promoted to “Creative Fellow”. 

Development

The initial design for the Switch began shortly after the Wii U was released in 2012. Kimishima stated that Nintendo wanted “not just a successor” to the Nintendo 3DS when it was testing what new hardware they wanted to produce or Wii U, but asked, “What kind of new experience can we create?” In an interview with  Asahi Shimbun Kimishima explained that the switch should offer a “new way of playing” that would “have a greater impact than the Wii U”. President of Nintendo of America and COO Reggie Fils-Aimé emphasized the console’s appeal as a device that gives players the ability to play at home or on the go, pointing out that developers can use it to create new types of games. This approach continued Nintendo’s blue-ocean strategy for the competitive console market, as they would not compete for features with the other consoles, but would establish unique and difficult-to-copy devices. Miyamoto said that some broad concepts of the switch are based on Gunpei Yokoi’s “lateral thinking with experienced technology” design philosophy, which Nintendo has used in recent decades.

The design of the switch was intended to bridge the polarization of the gaming market at that time and to create a device with which video games could be played “leisurely” with games that Shinya Takahashi and Yoshiaki Koizumi said should be played “intensely”. General Manager or Deputy General Manager of Entertainment Planning & Development (EPD) at Nintendo. This approach would also apply to the cultural lifestyle and game differences between Japanese and Western players. Japanese players typically play on the go and in social groups, while Western players typically play alone at home. The design of the switch would  do justice to both cultures and certain games like  1-2-Switch, may make western social gaming more acceptable. Two key elements that should address this mixed market were the ability of the device to play on both a television screen and as a portable device, and the use of removable controllers. The name “Switch” was chosen to refer not only to the console’s ability to switch from handheld to home console mode, but also to present the idea of ​​being a “switch” that changes the way people do Entertainment experience their daily life ”.

Part of the inspiration for the shape and design of the switch, according to Shinya Takahashi, was the feedback that Nintendo players had given on the Wii Remote. When publishing games like  Wii Sports  and  Wii Fit players had asked Nintendo if they could make the Wii Remote in a smaller form factor that might be attached to part of their body. This led Nintendo to imagine what a smaller form factor controller could offer for both hardware and game, and led to the idea of ​​a console that was small enough with these new controllers to be portable. Other concepts emerged from customer feedback, which the Wii U criticized. Fils-Aimé stated that a frequent criticism of the Wii U was that while gamers liked to use the Wii U GamePad and wanted to play games anywhere on it, it became inoperative when they moved away from the main console. This served Nintendo to design a home console that the player could take anywhere. Around five different prototypes were developed for the switch before they were finalized for the approved design. This involved the development of various methods for physically connecting the Joy-Con controller to the console, including using magnets to hold it in place.

In addition to the form factor design, Nintendo had to reconcile the performance and speed of the console’s central processor unit with the battery life and size of the unit, coupled with limited development resources and deadlines set by Nintendo’s management. The development team decided to use an existing system on a chip (SOC) instead of creating their own, as they had done on previous consoles. Koizumi said this break was traditionally done to get more support for the third-party console by using a SOC that developers could easily port to. Nintendo didn’t focus on processing power, but rather tried to understand the general characteristics of the system including battery life and size, and taking into account limited development resources and the schedule. Koizumi said, “The hardest part was how to create an overall balance while we got caught up in all the complexes.” To achieve this balance, they chose not one of the more powerful hardware they could have used, but one Middle way approach to realize your vision of the switch.

Koizumi was the general producer of the Switch during development. According to Miyamoto, the development of the switch within Nintendo was led by younger employees. Miyamoto said of the younger employees: “I am always looking for designers who are not passionate about games. I value that they are not just a player, but have a lot of different interests and skills. Junior developers also helped brainstorm how to ensure that the Switch has a longer lifestyle than most other consoles beyond the usual five to six years. Miyamoto, Takeda and Iwata were less involved, but provided the necessary control over the development of the switch, mainly in terms of the cost of implementing new features that would make the switch stand out. For Miyamoto, his limited engagement allowed him to spend more time developing Nintendo’s software titles like  Spend Super Mario Run .

Hardware

The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid video game console that consists of a console unit, a dock and two Joy-Con controllers. Despite being a hybrid console, Nintendo classifies it as a “home console that you can take with you on the go”. In addition, the company has stated that the Switch and the Nintendo 3DS should coexist as the 3DS is an entry-level product for younger players.

Console 

Credits: nintendoswitch.com

The back of the Nintendo Switch (without controller) shows the stand, the microSD slot, the charging port and the inlet openings. The Joy-Con slot mechanism is visible on the short side.

The main unit of the switch is the console, a battery-powered tablet-like monitor that consists of an LCD screen with a diagonal of 160 mm (6.2 inches), just like the Wii U GamePad. The device itself measures 173 by 102 by 13.9 millimeters (6.81 in × 4.02 in × 0.55 in) and a weight of 297 g (10.5 ounces). The screen supports capacitive ten-point multitouch detection and contains the haptic technology of the Immersion Corporation. The LCD screen supports resolutions up to 720p (1280 × 720 px). The console contains a 3.5 mm audio jack, stereo speakers on the underside of the device under the screen, a USB-C port for charging and a kickstand on the back. The unit also includes slots for a game card (cartridge-based media) and a microSD slot card located under the stand. The switch console itself contains three buttons, all located on the top of the device, Volume +/- and Power. The console has rails on the side into which the Joy-Con controllers can be inserted to attach them to the switch unit. An ambient light sensor on the front of the console automatically adjusts the brightness of the screen. The console model number is “HAC-001”. An ambient light sensor on the front of the console automatically adjusts the brightness of the screen. The console model number is “HAC-001”. An ambient light sensor on the front of the console automatically adjusts the brightness of the screen. The console model number is “HAC-001”.

There are three game modes that can be used with the switch. “TV mode” where the console is slid into the dock to support playback on a TV, “tabletop mode” where the console is placed on a table or other flat surface and the kickstand for sharing Games outside of a dedicated screen or in “handheld mode” was used “as a standard portable tablet device. Users can switch between these modes by simply placing or removing the console in the dock, extending or retracting the stand, and removing or connecting the Joy-Con. Games can only be played in certain modes. For example,  Voez initially did not play in TV mode and relied on touchscreen controls. Support for controllers and TV mode was  added to Voez later  in January 2018 via an update for the game. Another example is  Super Mario Party  , which doesn’t support handheld mode.

Nintendo stated that the Switch is a “single-screen experience” because the player either sees the content on the console when it is not in the dock or on the screen connected to the dock when the console is docked , The switch cannot provide dual screen functionality offered through the Wii U’s GamePad.

Nintendo patented a means of creating multiple switch consoles using a multi-monitor configuration by arranging them on a flat surface and a single gameplay environment across their screens. This technology was first seen in  Super Mario Party  .

Dock

The console, with or without Joy-Con, can be placed in the Switch Dock, a docking station with electrical connections for connecting the console to a power supply for charging the battery, and via an HDMI connection for video / audio to a television output. The dock also includes two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port. When docked, the device supports resolutions of up to 1080p and a maximum frame rate of 60 frames per second, although the maximum resolution differs depending on the game. As an example,  the legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Runs at a maximum of 900p and 30 frames per second while the switch is docked. The dock measures 173 x 104 x 54 millimeters and weighs 327 grams. Nintendo Switch Dock

  • In front of the dock; The switch console is inserted from above
  • Back of the dock with the two USB ports on the right
  • Open back of dock; A USB-C power adapter and an HDMI cable must be connected to play the game on the TV. There is an additional USB 3.0 port inside
  • On top of the dock is a USB-C connector that is connected to the console

Controller

Joy-Con

The Nintendo Switch is supplied with two controllers, collectively called Joy-Con and individually referred to as “Joy-Con L” and “Joy-Con R”. The controllers are attached to the switch console via side rails with a locking mechanism. There is a small release button on the back with which they can be removed. When separated, they can be used by a single player as a pair, attached to a handle that emulates a gamepad form factor, or by two individual players as separate controllers. A single switch console can support up to eight Joy-Con connections. Straps can be attached to the sides of the Joy-Con when they are removed. A charging handle is available for the Joy-Con, with which a USB-C cable can be connected for the power supply. In addition, on June 16, 2017, Nintendo released a charging band that allows players to charge a single Joy-Con using embedded AA batteries.

Per controller

The switch also supports a wireless controller called the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, whose more traditional design is reminiscent of the Wii Classic Controller Pro and the Wii U Pro controller. The Pro Controller connects to the switch via wireless Bluetooth communication and is charged via a standard USB-C port on the controller. Standard switch controller

  • The gray controls Joy-Con L and Joy-Con R. The inner rails are inserted on the side of the main switch console or the handle controller
  • The red and blue Joy-Con was on the handle and contained the general parts of a standard controller
  • The top of the charging handle shows the USB-C connector.
  • The optional and more conventional Pro Controller

Technical specifications

The switch uses a system-on-chip from the Tegra product family, which was developed in collaboration with Nvidia. In addition, no specific details were revealed as it is a “custom” Tegra chip that is based on the same architecture as the world’s most powerful GeForce gaming graphics cards and has a custom API known as “NVN” that is developing was designed to “make it easy, fast for the masses to play”. Takeda described the Nvidia chipset as key to delivering performance that resembles that on PCs and helps achieve “high performance with low power consumption” for the switch. Preliminary reports, which were not confirmed by Nintendo or Nvidia, said that the SoC would be an Nvidia Tegra X1 SoC with 4 ARM Cortex-A57 CPU cores and 4 ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores as well as 256 Maxwell-based CUDA GPU cores. This was later confirmed by an analysis on the console carried out by Tech Insights in March 2017. The CPU cores are clocked at 1,020 GHz, but can, under certain circumstances, be increased to 1,785 GHz as measured by Digital Foundry. The GPU cores are clocked at 768 MHz when the device is docked. There are three performance modes to choose from in handheld mode. 307.2 MHz, 384 MHz and 460 MHz. This gives the switch’s GPU a theoretical peak performance of 393 GFLOPS in docked mode and 236 GFLOPS in handheld mode. A later iFixIt breakdown of the end product confirmed 4 GB LPDDR4.

The switch provides 802.11ac dual-band wireless connectivity and is compatible with 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac modes. Up to eight switch consoles can be connected in an ad hoc wireless   network for local multiplayer games, and multiple players can play on each of the connected switch consoles. In at least one game,  Splatoon 2  , ten switch consoles can use the  ad hoc Connect the network, whereby only eight can play directly, while the other two can watch as spectators. The switch uses Bluetooth 4.1 for wireless communication between the console and its controllers. Users can purchase a third-party USB LAN adapter for cable connections when the console is docked for TV mode. The Wii LAN adapter from Nintendo is also compatible with the switch via USB ports on the switch dock.

The switch is mainly operated in portable mode by a non-replaceable lithium ion battery with 4310 mAh and 3.7 V. The battery life is estimated at 2.5 to 6.5 hours depending on the software used. Nintendo gives the example of the  legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with  a battery life of around three hours. The battery can be charged either in the dock or via a standard USB-C port on the console. The estimated charging time while the device is in sleep mode is approximately 3 hours. Nintendo has the option to replace batteries through customer service. [133] Each Joy-Con has its own 3.7 V lithium-ion battery with 525 mAh, separated from the console, and an estimated lifespan of 20 hours. These batteries are automatically charged if they are connected to the console while charging. Additional accessories offer other options for charging the Joy-Con. While the Joy-Con basic handle supplied with the switch does not offer any charging functions, a separate Premium Joy-Con handle has a USB-C port that can be used to charge the Joy-Con batteries while they are connected to this grip.

The switch contains 32 GB of internal storage, of which 25.9 GB is accessible to the user. Can be expanded with a microSD, microSDHC or microSDXC card up to 2 TB. There is a microSD card slot under the switch stand, into which a microSD card can be inserted. When the microSD card is used, the switch only saves game data in the internal memory so that data can be restored on the microSD card. The saved data is always saved on the console, regardless of whether the source is a physical game card or a digital download copy. At startup there was no way to transfer backup files from internal storage to the microSD card or other switch console, although the transfer of backup games and profiles between switch consoles was added in October System Update 4.0.0 in 2017. MicroSD and microSDHC were initially supported, and support for microSDXC cards was later added to the switch software via a system update. SD cards and MiniSD cards do not fit in the switch. The switch did not support external storage devices at launch, but Nintendo indicated they would like to add this feature in the future.

The switch console has a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Bluetooth wireless headphones are not supported. However, they can be connected if a Bluetooth adapter is connected to the headphone jack. A system update in October 2017 enabled support for wireless USB headphones when the receiver is plugged into the console’s USB port when docked.

Safety

Nintendo continued its white hat security program for the Nintendo 3DS. Using a third-party HackerOne website, Nintendo grants up to $ 20,000 to the first user to identify a vulnerability that affects piracy, fraud, or the potential to send inappropriate content to younger users. This depends on the severity of the vulnerability.

In April 2018, two separate groups discovered a way to use an exploit chain in the Tegra chip system that could be used to boot other software on the switch that could have both beneficial and malicious uses. The exploit cannot be patched because the support required to update the Tegras ROM was not included with the switch systems. Both groups had informed Nvidia and Nintendo of the exploit before they released their results. Users who looked at the hardware found that Nintendo is able to permanently lock certain switch consoles that are used to get software from the Nintendo network via this exploit because the switch console is one contains unique device identification code, used in network validation. Because games downloaded from the Nintendo Network contain encrypted information that links the Nintendo ID to the console that is transferred to Nintendo when users start playing, Nintendo can track and take unauthorized software downloads. Nintendo has reportedly addressed the vulnerability in newer switch units as of July 2018.

In June 2018, two hackers found a way to run the switch system developer software dev on non-developer switch devices. This allows hackers to load games directly onto SD cards or create custom avatars for their user profile, including pornographic and NSFW images that do not work. Nintendo Terms of Service. A Nintendo spokesman responded to  Kotaku  ‘s article on the subject, saying that’ Modified Nintendo Switch systems have been banned ‘. 

Shortly after the release of Nintendo Switch Online in September 2018, hackers and modders were able to figure out how to run unauthorized ROMs on Nintendo Switch’s NES emulator. A switch hacker named DevRin was the first to discover the hack and posted its results on YouTube. This prompted a modder named KapuccinoHeck to investigate the matter with two others. The results were later published on KapuccinoHeck’s Twitter account.