RAM is a key part of computing. CPUs and GPUs are huge as well, but of course RAM is worth mentioning when discussing technical specifications. As you can see in the 2017 article I linked, Nintendo didn't put 4 GB RAM in the Switch until Capcom requested it.
So what was the Switch going to have originally? A measly 2 GB RAM like the Wii U? A weird custom setup of 3 GB (1GB+2GB)? I don't think we have that answer. The information from Capcom just indicates that the RAM was less than 4 GB, not what it was overall.
Even with the fact that the type of RAM in Switch is better than Wii U, it wouldn't be much of a difference if it only capped out at 2 GB. The Switch already in a lot of ways just feels like a mid-gen refresh of the Wii U in the specs department, especially as a home console.
One of the big three did make a RAM mistake before. The PSP 1000 has a mere 32 MB of RAM. If you put that amount in a DSi (which has 16 MB RAM), that would be awesome. Heck, maybe it's even a bit unnecessary. But for the PSP, that small amount of RAM caused loading issues. Sony realized this, and all future models of the PSP have 64 MB RAM. This is the only time I can think of in gaming history where the RAM was increased (doubled at that), but the other key specs were left alone. Thus, PSP didn't have a mid-gen refresh like the DS did with the DSi.
So would the Switch only having 2 GB (or even a weird 3 GB total) RAM hurt it in the long run if virtually all the other technical specifications were kept the same? I can guarantee we would see less third-party titles on Switch. Switch is so successful because of its first-party games and its hybrid hardware. But its plentiful third-party support helps.
Just look at Monster Hunter Rise. It's a console exclusive to Switch and won't have a Windows release until 2022. It has shipped more than 7 million copies. That's insane for a third-party game on a Nintendo platform, at least this soon. I can pretty much guarantee we wouldn't get a new Monster Hunter installment on Switch if it had less RAM.
We also wouldn't see games like The Witcher 3, Doom, Doom Eternal, Wolfenstein II, and some others.
The Switch has been one of the most unpredictable pieces of gaming hardware ever in terms of its sales. What do you think less than 4 GB RAM would've meant for the Switch's hardware sales, software support, and in general?
Also, do you think it would've caused a mid-gen refresh in the Switch earlier on, or at least a RAM increase like the PSP? A Switch Pro/Deluxe/New or whatever is pretty much all but confirmed to be releasing this year.
Lifetime Sales Predictions
Switch: 125 million (was 73, then 96, then 113 million)
PS5: 105 million Xbox Series S/X: 60 million
PS4: 122 mil (was 100 then 130 million) Xbox One: 50 mil (was 50 then 55 mil)
3DS: 75.5 mil (was 73, then 77 million)
"Let go your earthly tether, enter the void, empty and become wind." - Guru Laghima