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Why Are Nintendo Switch Graphics So Bad?

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Have you ever wondered why Nintendo creates really bad graphics? If you compare other gaming systems graphics to Nintendo’s graphics, Nintendo will seem to come up short every time.

The thing is, Nintendo has always been big on using cheaper and older generation computer components to promote their products as a way of saving cost.

So Why Are Nintendo Switch Graphics So Bad?

There are many reasons why Nintendo usually goes a cheaper route when it comes to graphics. One of the main reasons for the portable systems like the Switch is because they trade better graphics for a longer battery life.

If you would like to know more about why the Nintendo Switch graphics are bad you will definitely want to keep reading this article. You can also check out this video to learn how to make the graphics look better when you play. 

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Nintendo Switch Battery Life

The Nintendo systems, the Nintendo Switch, in particular, was built with less expensive options. Because of its portability, the Switch requires optimizations. This trades quality and performance for battery life.

Now, battery life is the biggest concern for customers when they’re purchasing a portable product. No one really wants to spend their money buying a device that runs for only about 30 minutes before it needs a recharge, right?

So, Nintendo trades other things, including design, to make sure that its product has a good battery life. The real reason Nintendo does not measure up to the designs of other brands is because of battery life.

Truthfully, there is not currently any tablet technology that has the power to produce 4k 60 FPS graphics in a portable game and still offer long battery life. Only a desktop computer running on wall power can actually achieve both of these.

However, some notebook computers can actually achieve this at a really high cost. But, even the battery life of a notebook computer will labor a whole lot with 4K 60 FPS graphics. The battery may only be able to last for an hour or, at most, two hours.

Currently, shoving high levels of graphics into something as small as the Nintendo Switch is impossible. Seeing as battery life and functionality were prioritized, the quality of the graphics had to be reduced so as to make sure that the console is functioning at its best while still providing great battery life.

The answer, therefore, comes down to the batteries. Currently, we do not have a technology for batteries that has the capacity to drive 40K 60 FPS level graphics in a console as small as the Switch.

Nintendo Switch Graphics

If you look at the comparison of graphics, you can see that even though Nintendo graphics are not that good, they’re not exactly terrible. It’s fair to say that the graphics are average.

Another thing to consider is that developing a game for a particular console always means that you would need to work out how to adapt it to the hardware in question. Even though powerful hardware always makes this easier, that’s not the case all the time.

The PS3 is a good example of a game with powerful hardware and was still tough to develop quality games.

If you take a look at some of the early games and even a few of the later games, and compare them with the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, you will find that the Xbox 360 versions actually look better. But, if you look at games that were specifically made for the PS3, the graphics quality is top-notch.

The Switch versions of titles like Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice are certainly less sharp than their Xbox and PS4 equivalents. But, titles like Super Mario Odyssey and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are exclusive titles that are not available on Xbox One or PS4. These exclusive titles have really good graphics.

The point is, making games for multiple platforms would require you to make sacrifices on some of those platforms. Even games that are released only on PS4 or Xbox One will have slight differences. Now, when the platforms the games are developed for span two generations of mobile and hardware, the hardware that is more difficult to develop for will have inferior graphics.

Putting Nintendo side by side with the current competition, Switch is performing quite well. Also, many people use the Switch system in handheld mode, where the Switch’s screen is just a 720p display. Many flaws of the Switch versions of games like Hellblade or Skyrim are that they are just not visible on small-sized screens.

A lot of Switch players would rather have a 1080p screen, but seeing as most of these players use the system in dock a good part of the time, that feature is not necessary and will only lead to more production costs.

Now that we know why Nintendo’s graphics are bad, one of the reasons being that the Switch console is small and is adapted to multiple platforms, you might also be wondering why Nintendo can’t just go on and build consoles that support high quality graphics.

Nintendo Switch Hardware

We have already established that Nintendo has quite bad graphics because the Switch is small. The reason the Switch is small is that Nintendo prioritizes battery life. But more than just that, Nintendo considers competition in graphics a pointless one.

Your console is definitely going to be outdated someday, no matter how powerful it is. So, Nintendo focuses on its strengths instead.

Because hardware tricks make their console stand out, Nintendo chooses that to focus their energy on. The Wii sold because of its motion controls, not because of its high-quality graphics. It’s the same strategy they’re using to sell the Switch.

The Switch has poor graphics, but people still buy it because it lets them play their games anywhere and move between home console and handheld, something that you can’t get anywhere else.

Nintendo has managed to keep its price at a range people can afford (even though their systems can be quite expensive) by not focusing on having the performance levels of the PS4 or Xbox One. If Nintendo wanted to get to those levels of performance while still keeping their console portable, production costs would have been too high for people to be able to afford their console.

Or, they would have had to sell the consoles at a huge loss. By not focusing on performance, they can sell at a buyable price and still make a profit on each console.

Nintendo has comfortably carved a niche as a second system by not competing with other PCs or consoles for power while it offers unique gaming experiences. Nintendo makes sure to offer what no one else offers, so it’s easy to convert people who use a different gaming device.

If you use an Xbox or PS4 device, for example, there’s almost no reason to buy any of the others since they’re basically the same. But, there is a reason to buy a Nintendo console.


So there are many reasons why Nintendo usually goes a cheaper route when it comes to graphics. One of the main reasons for the portable systems is because they trade better graphics for a better battery.

Nintendo sticks with what it knows, and doesn’t compete in markets they are not built to compete in.