So an interesting bit of speculation came up on the NintendoSwitch Discord server. This is nothing but pure conjecture – hopeful musings for me personally given recent indications that the Switch might run games at less than 60fps – but I thought it was worth opening up the discussion to the subreddit regardless.
Would it be possible for Nintendo to add an external, optional component to the Switch to increase performance sometime down the line? User ChronoXfinity brought up that it's already been done in the PC space in the form of the Razer Core, an additional housing for a graphics card that can deliver increased performance to a laptop. It's starting to look more and more likely that the Switch uses USB-C as its interface for both data and power. The Core, similarly, receives its data via USB-C so we know it has the bandwidth to support a connection like this.
In our discussion, people voiced concerns that it might be considerably harder to develop for a configuration such as this. After all changing from handheld to docked mode might already require some adjusting depending on how it works exactly. In this scenario, developers would be required to add yet another layer to their optimizations, which could lead to it just not being utilized by some. I am not a developer but I would imagine there'd be a non-trivial amount of work to be done to facilitate development like this. Still, developers have to concern themselves with differently powerful systems and scalability for PC games all the time. It's not a novel concept.
I do think that, realistically, Nintendo is unlikely to go down this path as they would be diluting their own marketing. The Switch is currently being sold much more as a tablet you can dock than a full set-top box to take with you. There is no indication whatsoever that Nintendo is planning anything like this, except perhaps them suddenly abandoning proprietary interfaces in favor of USB-C, which doesn't tell us much. Nevertheless, it's worth noting that the Wii U came out four years ago with hardware that was already somewhat outdated at the time and since the Switch likely won't be hugely more powerful than the Wii U was, a mid-generation upgrade à la PS4 Pro or XBox One S is not completely outside the realm of possibility.
What do you think?
Discussion started at here by Phendan