You all had better watch out, because Blizzard is bringing its top team shooter over to the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo's September 4th Direct broadcast opened with the news, in fact. After previous leaks and whispers of a potential Overwatch Switch port -- especially after an Overwatch-themed Switch case briefly appeared online -- a port seemed inevitable, if slightly late. Now that Overwatch Switch is just around the corner, what kind of performance can we expect?
The same day of the Direct reveal, Blizzard employee Nazih Fares took to Twitter to provide the performance information. Overwatch on Nintendo Switch targets a stable 30 FPS in both docked and portable modes, and plays at 900p and 720p, respectively. Compared to the PS4 and Xbox One, which both run at usually 1080p and 60 FPS (dynamic resolution scaling is in play to prevent drops below the target framerate), this is a considerable downgrade. This is an unfortunate side effect of the Switch's hardware limitations; while it is a truly great console, it's still fundamentally based on generations-old NVIDIA Tegra mobile hardware. You can't wave a wand and make performance happen, unfortunately.
While we knew about the performance information from those tweets, a further interview with Eurogamer informed us that both cross-platform play and cross-platform saves are unlikely to happen. This means that even if you have a formidable set of stats and skins built up on another platform, you aren't going to be able to carry that over to your Switch experience. Compared to games like Fortnite, which does support this feature, that is an additional downside. But it is an understandable one, since no other versions of Overwatch support it, either.
The Digital Foundry performance analysis video provides more information on the technical aspects of the Switch port. Some notable highlights include:
- The Switch seems to be operating with some performance overhead, since it seemingly never drops below 30 FPS in either of its modes. Frame-pacing seems great, too, which means this is just about the best 30 FPS experience that you're going to get.
- Unlike the other console versions, the Switch version doesn't seem to use any form of dynamic resolution scaling. This further lends credence to the idea that performance overhead is present here, but there are good reasons why it isn't being used. Watch the video if you want more details!