No, you don’t want “just upscaled 1080p and no native 4K,” and here’s why

So there is a lot of talk about a beefed up Switch, spurred by a Wall Street Journal article. One of the topics related to the discussion is whether the new Switch should do native 4K or simply upscale 1080p. My vote is to allow native 4K, and here’s why:

  • Upscaling is not as good as you think it is, and if you’re playing on a 4K TV, guess what? You’re already looking at an upscaled 1080p. In order for your TV to fill the entire 4K display, it needs to upscale the image at some point; it’s unavoidable. Otherwise the image would take up a quarter of the screen and you’d have a big rectangle surrounding it.
  • We already know that not all games are running at a native 1080p on the Switch. Many games are running at 900p – and yes, the Swich is upscaling that to 1080p to fill the entire screen. We already know that the Switch is capable of dynamic resolutions as well, allowing games to adjust the resolution on the fly to adapt to maintain their framerate.

So if we are to get a more powerful Switch, why not unlock the 4K resolution? Yes, I completely understand that not all games will be able to take advantage of it, especially graphically intense games. But that’s already the case with 1080p. Developers will select whichever resolution they believe the unit can handle for their game, and may opt for a dynamic resolution as well.

When it comes to resolution, we already know the Switch is extremely flexible in that regard. So I vote that 4K should be allowed, even if many games don’t take advantage of it.