Blizzard’s formal announcement that it would soon launch Overwatch on the Nintendo Switch in October touts an impressive achievement, leaving players to wonder how developers adapted such a complex game to Switch.
Of course, Overwatch is not the first title to impress gamers as a Nintendo Switch port. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt likely holds that distinction, along with The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, back at the console's launch. Still, the feat is impressive regardless, and Blizzard must have considered a number of different things during the process.
A Surprisingly Small File Size
Collectors were disappointed to find out that the game will lack a physical release, and thus be available only through digital download. Surprisingly, the game is far smaller than one might expect. Currently the download size is listed to come in at just over 12 GB. By comparison, that is about the same size as the day one download patch for Mortal Kombat 11, even when using the physical copy of the game. While this might increase with future content releases, it would be hard to believe that the size would be much different in the future.
30 FPS on the Switch, Compared to 60 on PS4 And Xbox One
Following the port announcement, players have also learned Overwatch on Switch will be capped at FPS, which is not likely to be a big difference in terms of playability. Certainly one will be able to notice a difference in the game's graphics when compared to the two big consoles by Sony or Microsoft. But that has always been the case with Nintendo regardless. While the game is not too demanding on those pieces of hardware, this is perhaps the most significant concession affecting the game's Switch port.
Performance for Portability
Obviously, the main draw of the Nintendo Switch is its portability, or perhaps, the flexibility to take it on the go and have it docked as well. With the forthcoming the Switch Lite, potability will be the main draw.
The 30 FPS cap might have been due to the immense visual clutter that can happen at certain points in the game. For example, the current meta — or perhaps more accurately, the meta that always seems to come back into style — focuses on the heavy use of shields to absorb incoming damage. As a result, there are moments of immense visual clutter. It's possible that anything above 30 FPS would expose players to unfortunate quality reductions at times. It is likely because of these certain extreme situations, especially when teams are working together well, that the team opted to tone down performance. Additionally, obvious technological differences in hardware between the various platforms could account for these changes.
Mainly For Casual Play, Not Competitive
At the end of the day, the Nintendo Switch is never going to be a powerhouse for competitive FPS esports. The PC will likely reign supreme simply due to the superiority (generally speaking) of the keyboard and mouse, as well as powerful hardware.
The Overwatch Switch port may sacrifice some performance. But in its place, players are getting the full shooter experience on the go. As such, Overwatch will likely find a home among Switch's casual players.