GamesBeat has confirmed from two sources (who don’t want to be identified) that the Switch’s graphics are based on Nvidia’s older Maxwell architecture, not the new Pascal graphics technology that the chipmaker introduced earlier this year. The semi-custom Nvidia Tegra processor in the machine is still powerful enough to play typical Nintendo cartoon-style games (like the Mario series), but don’t expect the highest-end games we’re seeing on the PS4 or Xbox One to run on the Switch.
This may be OK, and the Switch’s high-definition visuals may still be satisfying to a lot of gamers, who will also appreciate its dual purpose of being played in the home as a console and on the run as a portable system. But the Kyoto-based Japanese company was in such a rush to replace its failing Wii U that it couldn’t wait for the updated Pascal version of the graphics technology, sources told us. This means that the Switch doesn’t have as much visual horsepower as the PS4 when played on a television, and it may not be able to handle 4K graphics, either. If Nintendo had waited for Pascal, it would have had to push back the launch date of the Switch. We’re not so sure if the Switch is weaker than the Xbox One, as the performance may be close.