1080p Minecraft for Nintendo Switch Not as Simple as it Looks

1080p Minecraft for Nintendo Switch Not as Simple as it Looks

Though fixed with the recent update, when Minecraft first launched in May for the Nintendo Switch, many took displeasure at the fact that the game ran at 720p for both TV and handheld mode. While most games output at 1080p when docked, Minecraft for the Nintendo Switch continued to output at only 720p. This has led to many speculations that it might have been due to the Switch’s lack of horsepower.

But this just isn’t the case as explained by 4J Studios, who handles all console version of Minecraft. The reason why 1080p was initially unattainable was that the transition from 720p on handheld mode to 1080p on TV requires multiple checking of the interfaces.

In an interview with TIME, 4J Studios’  CTO, Richard Revy, explained that the team went back and did a lot of work internally to optimize the Switch version for a seamless transition.

“We did spend some time analyzing our GPU usage and optimizing things before we did this move as well,” he says. “We needed to spend some time looking at the fill rate and being more careful with that, just because of the number of pixels in 1080p. We kind of knew we could do the optimization and we would get there with the performance. But yeah, ultimately, the fundamental problem was switching resolution.”

“We wanted to make sure the transition was really slick, and that the user wouldn’t notice anything, like it taking seconds unloading one user interface system for another,” he says. “And also because you can dock and undock your console at any point, it can be quite problematic that the user could switch the console at a really inopportune moment.” This explains Microsoft’s delay in rolling out the feature between May and now: 4J Studios simply wanted the time to thoroughly vet the user interface while changing resolution at any point while playing the game.

While this means that the Nintendo Switch version of the game is taking a step closer to the versions from other consoles, it still has some weaknesses against them. The draw distance is still not as large as compared to the PS4 and Xbox One and as of now, world sizes are still limited to medium.

However, this is all about to change with the huge “Better Together” update coming this fall. The update will transition the Switch version’s engine to a more versatile “bedrock engine”, comparable to those running on the Windows 10 and mobile version of Minecraft. As to when the update will arrive, there is still no exact date given but in the meantime, you can read more about this in TIME’s article here.