June 22, 2024

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Technological development

Things to consider when porting games to Switch

Nintendo Switch porting is converting a game from one platform to run on another. Nintendo Switch porting ideally enables players to switch between home console and handheld device seamlessly, though it is only sometimes possible due to technical limitations. Porting games to switch is often a laborious process, and due to the massive scale of some games, it can be costly. Despite this, it is an incredibly exciting time for gamers interested in experiencing the same games on a new platform.

Things to consider when porting games to Switch

Below are some factors to consider when porting games for switch:

1. Game engine

The game engine is a large part of porting games to switch. Developers often hire experts to help the game run on the new hardware. In some cases, this can be an easy process; in others, it can require massive changes for the developers. Hardware – Switch and PC have different hardware, meaning PC games must be tested thoroughly before they can be released on the Nintendo Switch. In terms of specifications, Wii U (the predecessor) has a 1 GB memory density compared to 8 GB for Switch, which means ports must be carefully considered.

2. Launch the window

If a game is released too close to the launch of the console or platform, it will have limited sales. As a result, if the company that is porting your game does not want to lose money on their release, the game may not be released until after its initial sales period. If developers need more development resources, they may indefinitely delay their port. However, this poses problems for customers as they become less eager to purchase games during this period.

3. Game size

The larger the retail game, the more expensive it will be to port. This is because a console port is more complex than a mobile game port, as the Switch requires additional hardware. In addition, games can be more resource intensive than mobile games due to motion controls and higher frame rates. Due to their large scale and success, it is recommended that only the most popular games are developed for Switch and PC simultaneously.

4. Third-party support

A third-party developer may have to pay licensing fees if they are interested in porting their titles. These fees can sometimes be prohibitive and make it difficult for developers to recoup their investment. As a result, many choose to make ports of games released over one decade ago or newer indie titles that can be made quickly. Another way of establishing third-party support is by having high sales figures for Switch and PC games. This makes developers more likely to spend time developing for the Switch as these platforms are more likely to be profitable in terms of sales.

5. Content availability

The Switch will only have a few games at launch, which can pressure developers to rush their development. This means that game content may not be properly balanced or as expansive as it should be. However, porting companies can correct some of these issues via patches, which doesn’t guarantee a perfect port.

6. Price

Pricing a game is more complex than it once was. Many people have different expectations and price points for games, meaning that a game’s price is no longer guaranteed to be the same after being ported over. The Switch and PC are both significantly different platforms with different audiences. This means pricing strategies should be adjusted to suit each platform’s audience, otherwise, sales may suffer.

Benefits of Nintendo switch porting

1. Increase the user base

Developers can use Switch porting to entice players to purchase games they already own. In some cases, this will be a great way to expand their customer base as they can attract Switch players to their PC titles. This is only sometimes a viable option as it can cause issues if the game is more expensive than being able to purchase it again on another platform.

2. Increase sales figures

As previously mentioned, ported games’ sales figures tend to increase compared to their initial release. This is due to the fact that a game’s popularity can increase after being ported over, especially if the porting developer was able to make it run smoothly on Switch and PC. This has been seen in other platforms such as PC, an example of a platform that has brought almost every game in the world to the Switch.

3. Connectivity

One of the most noteworthy features of the Switch is its ability to connect to other Nintendo devices. For example, users can play a game on their TV and then take it with them on the go by connecting their console to a portable device such as their phone or tablet via local wireless play. This feature can offer huge potential for developers and encourages them to make titles for this type of connectivity.

4. Greater potential for innovation

Because of its versatility, Switch can be used across multiple roles related to gaming. Playing games in handheld or TV mode can give developers more freedom when making titles and create a larger audience for their products. Due to the fact games are designed for different purposes, this potential can also open up new revenue streams for porting companies as they experience more with the technology.

5. Porting as a business model

Some developers choose to port their titles due to the potential earnings and benefits that can be gained. If a game has already been released, it may not have to re-invest in the title’s development and can produce a wider range of content. In turn, this may increase the likelihood of consumers buying their titles. However, developers porting games should be careful regarding their strategy as they may choose to release ports after they have finished developing them and before they release an original title.

Conclusion

The Nintendo Switch offers a unique opportunity for developers who want to create high-quality games for various platforms and audiences. As such, porting companies and developers are currently in high demand as this market is in its infancy and has yet to develop fully. It is essential to plan to ensure that your title reaches the widest possible audience, which can be achieved by ensuring that the game runs well on the console and PC.