Skyrim On Switch Vs PS4: Runs At 900p Docked, 720p Undocked At Stable 30fps
Skyrim Nintendo Switch
(Last Updated On: November 18, 2017)

Bethesda and Nintendo have announced that Skyrim is currently available for download and available for purchase from participating retailers for the hybrid gaming machine, the Nintendo Switch.

The game has been out since 2011 and is on just about every major gaming platform that came out in the last six years. It’s no surprise that Bethesda is still chasing those dollar, dollar bills and doing so via the Nintendo Switch this holiday season.

While the release on the Switch may not be surprising, the price might actually surprise you. Bethesda is asking for an extremely hefty $59.99 for either the physical or the digital release of the game. Meaning that you’ll have to shell out exactly what you paid for Skyrim back in 2011 if you plan on getting it for the Switch, today.

Also, if you’re a tech geek and you absolutely must know how well the game performs, Digital Foundry has a comparison of the Switch version versus the PS4 version, which you can check out below.

As you would expect, the game runs at a much lower resolution than the PS4, which clocks in at 1080p and 30fps.

According to Digital Foundry, Skyrim on the Switch runs at 1600 x 900p at 30fps when it’s docked and at 896 x 720p when it’s in portable mode. They made it known that the 30fps was stable across the board for what they played, which was rather shocking.

The comparison video also reveals that the game’s shaders, shadows and lighting stay the same between docked and undocked mode. However, the one thing that does change is the LOD settings for some of the foliage in the distance during the undocked mode.

Additionally, the Switch version also has lower texture resolution to reduce on the memory load, likely to keep the game from burning up the cartridge space the way Rockstar did with L.A. Noire.

One of the biggest differences between the Switch and PS4 version of Skyrim is that the Switch version loses a lot of detail in the environmental ambiance and foliage, as showcased in the image below.

Skyrim - PS4 vs Switch Foliage

You can see that the density of the foliage is gone, the alpha dithering for transparency are reduced or completely removed. There’s also less fog and the depth of field has been reduced.

One highlight, though, is that the Nintendo Switch’s shaders make for a vibrant color scheme. The colors have more saturation and contrast compared to the PS4 version of the game, as indicated in the image below.

Skyrim - PS4 vs Switch

Another drawback for the Switch version compared to the PS4 version is the is the reduction in ambient occlusion and soft-shadows. This means that you see more hard-shadows to cover for the lack of SSAO.

As you can see in the image below, while the colors may pop more on the Switch, the PS4 version has more shadow density to give the game a more dynamic look.

Skyrim - PS4 vs Switch Resolution

Overall the game looks and runs a lot better on the Switch both in TV mode and portable mode compared to how people thought it would perform. Is it worth $60? That depends on if you think it’s worth the price of being able to play while on the go. Otherwise, it would be best to stick with the moddable PC version.


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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.