In an interview with the Japanese enthusiast website Social VR Info, Epic Games Japan territory manager Takayuki Kawasaki explained that VR is a big part of the Unreal Engine’s future, and that the Nintendo Switch is also potentially going to be a big part of the engine’s future as well.
Nintendo Everything picked up the quotes from the interview and did a light translation of what Kawasaki had to say, where he stated…
“Nintendo’s “Switch” also comes out for Japan, and Unreal Engine supports Switch and there are many titles actually usable on the Switch, too. Large titles and new titles released so far [using Unreal Engine] will be released as well. I hope that the console [will generate excitement].”
The gist of Kawasaki’s comments is that the Nintendo Switch could revive the flailing console business in Japan, which has taken a backseat to the constantly budding ubiquity of mobile gaming. The problem, however, is that mobile gaming is ephemeral, and the audience is finicky since it’s mostly casuals. Core gaming has a more stable revenue base but is a harder nut to crack. Japan’s console business hasn’t been the same since seventh gen, and the Nintendo Switch could be the special key to bridging the sales from mobile with the stability of the core market.
Having a large variety of games will surely help, given that core gamers will want more high-end properties made with the Unreal Engine 4, and casual gamers will want something quick and easy to play on the go, both of which can be accommodated by the Switch. The system also supports the full fledged version of the engine, not just the gimped mobile version, so graphics can scale up to what you can expect from the PS4. The devkit specs have some people a little leery about how powerful the Switch truly is, but we’ll likely find out once 1:1 benchmarks can be run.
Nintendo Everything also draws a pertinent point to the fact that more and more Japanese publishers are also using the Unreal Engine 4 for Japanese-centric titles such as Dragon Quest XI, and this makes it a viable solution for reviving the home console market in the far east. And yes, Dragon Quest XI has been confirmed for release on the Nintendo Switch. This has also led to speculation about Kingdom Hearts 3, which is also running on the Unreal Engine 4, and gamers hoping and praying that Square Enix will release it on the Switch as well.
Nintendo will be unveiling more details about the console, likely including the price point and final release date on January 12th. If they can nail a $250 price point and have a healthy helping of both core and casual games available for the system at launch, they’ll at least have a fighting chance at being competitive in America, Europe and Asia.