Why Is Nintendo Switch Still Missing Essential Features? - VRGyani News and Media


Friday, September 10, 2021

Why Is Nintendo Switch Still Missing Essential Features?

As we near closer to the five-year anniversary of the Switch, there are many great aspects to talk about when it comes to Nintendo’s console. It’s a system that bridged the gap for the company in a way that wasn’t fully realized with the Wii U. A portable system that could also act as a home game console appears to be the home run the company needed after the big misstep from the last generation. It’s been such a success that we’re now starting to see major companies like Valve try to replicate the system’s success on their own terms with the Steam Deck. However, as it has been nearly five years, there still appears to be a lot of missing features from the beloved console, many of which are still baffling.

One, in particular, is the exclusion of themes. This is odd because of its potential as a continued revenue stream, and its inclusion already on the console. Since its release back in 2017, there have been a total of only two themes for people to choose from: basic black and basic white. These themes were included at the launch of the system, so nothing has even changed on that front. This is especially odd when you consider all the avatar options that Nintendo includes on the console, oftentimes updating them throughout the year as well.

You could look at this and see how the PS5 is actually doing something very similar. During the PS4’s lifetime, Sony had themes for their console, which allowed users to make their home screen and menus look and sound however they wanted. You’d often have publishers bundle these items with deluxe editions or pre-orders. Companies like Square Enix would even use a theme to promote Final Fantasy VII Remake, as they, along with Butterfinger, ran an ad campaign wherein you’d end up getting a “free” Tifa dynamic theme if you bought enough candy bars. Nintendo is an incredibly creative company, so to imagine the type of themes they could come up with makes their absence felt even harder.

A major staple of both the Xbox and PlayStation online communities are achievements and trophies. Both have been really fun inclusions to these systems for the past three generations. One of the really fun aspects of achievements is the innovation that can come with them. Though you’ll often see generic achievements for beating the game or reaching max level on a character, there are definitely some weird ones. Now imagine playing through the latest Mario or Zelda game and having an achievement pop if you’re able to perform a difficult move on a tricky stage with Mario, or finding a sneakily hidden treasure in Hyrule. Nintendo's oddly implemented voice chat is somewhat understandable, especially when you consider their younger community and exposing them to unfiltered conversations. However, something as simple as achievements, most of which appear to be done on the developer end, is incredibly odd.

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Some publishers have even circumvented Nintendo’s lack of achievements by manually including them in the games themself. You’ll see these activate in-game, though they don’t do anything on a system-level like other consoles. Achievements could also be seen as a great way to incentivize players to keep coming back and playing Nintendo games. The more time someone is looking to get all the stars in a Mario game means that's more time they're spending interacting with the title. They could also act as an incredibly easy way for Nintendo to incorporate the themes problem talked about earlier. During the last generation, you’d often see Sony or other publishers provide free codes for themes if you were to Platinum a game on the PS4. Titles like Bloodborne, God of War, and Spider-Man were just a number of the free themes you’d get if you got 100% in a game.

A lot of these exclusions could be handwaved aside, but one of the biggest oddities is the exclusion of many major video apps. One has to think that at this point that it might be a mindful decision on the part of Nintendo not to include a lot of the major media apps. There’s the thought process that they’re doing this because they want people to continue playing and buying new games rather than watching videos. However, that seems incredibly odd, even for Nintendo. This all comes after the Wii U, which had most of the major streaming apps at the time. Though a few apps, like YouTube, and oddly enough Hulu, are available, there are quite a few that are missing. Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+, among others, are all absent. It's baffling when you consider that the Switch could also be marketed as a great portable media device like a tablet.

Probably the biggest single omission, and one that many gamers have continued to make noise about, is the absence of the virtual console. A staple of the Wii, 3DS, and Wii U, it was a feature that allowed people to download and play games from handheld and home consoles of the past. Being able to download your favorite older titles from past Nintendo generations was great, and oftentimes you could grab them for cheap.

Now, many of those games remain stuck on those older platforms. What’s worse is that since the Switch doesn’t allow for any type of backwards compatibility, if you had bought them on any of those three platforms you can’t currently play them on the console. Instead, the closest thing fans have gotten is the NES and SNES Switch Online catalogs. Other publishers like SNK have tried to pick up some of the slack with their ACA NEOGEO series of releases, as they bring past titles from series like Metal Slug and The King of Fighters to the console, but it pales in comparison to what once was there.

One would hope that Nintendo could understand the greater want for ease of interacting with friends online, especially as many people now find themselves at home more often. That makes searching for a friend’s name and adding them that way an odd exclusion. The continued utilization of friend codes is frustrating in a time where every other platform makes the action of adding a friend incredibly easy. Nintendo does let people change their user name at will, but that doesn’t explain the fact that a platform like Steam doesn’t have this problem, as they also allow users to change their names as much as they want.

At this point, you just have to wonder how the absence of something like Bluetooth is even acceptable, especially from a company like Nintendo. You’ll be able to connect your Switch controllers to the Switch just fine, but if you’re wanting to use your headphones, you’ll have to buy an adapter to connect. This comes after the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate reveal a few years back, which showed a woman putting a Switch in her purse to use as a music player. The fact that such a common feature on almost all major electronics only works with controllers is baffling.

Most consoles aren’t going to have every single feature that you want, and people should be resigned to that fact by now. With that being said, there’s a lot of odd exclusions that are still present on the Switch four years on. Nintendo is a company known for innovation and creativity, but for most of the Switch’s lifespan, it’s felt stagnant when it comes to actual features on the system. Even though they've finally gotten around to adding an ethernet port with the Switch OLED model, it’s not bad to stop asking yourself why some features are inexplicably missing from the console.

KEEP READING: Game Boy and Game Boy Color Games Reportedly Coming to Nintendo Switch Online

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