As the Switch’s launch day creeps closer, the excitement will mount to crazy levels, blowing away the intense cynicism we see now about: a barebones lineup, motion/audio gaming, and online that’s either confusing or just downright insulting.
The online portion of the presentation started out just fine. A paid service was new for Nintendo, but right in line with the industry standard. I was excited to pay a monthly fee if it meant the infrastructure was getting a serious investment. My excitement took a nose dive however when the rest of the online details tumbled out.
I’ll admit I don’t have the final details, as Nintendo hasn’t given them yet, but what I’ve heard so far sounds downright insulting and misguided.
Requiring a smart device for online functionality is insult #1. Does Nintendo know that some people in the world won’t have one? Perhaps they share a phone or tablet with their family or partner.
The original Xbox handled online play and voice chat on their console way back in 2002! It’s the bare minimum expected.
I’d love to hear a clever reason why Nintendo requires a second device, but until they provide one, I’ll have to assume they chose infra-red sensors, HD rumble, and amiibo readers on their ridiculously expensive Joycons instead of a headphone jack.
Insult #2 is Nintendo’s laughable “free” game offering each month. Sony and Microsoft offer several titles each month in exchange for subscribing to their service. Those games are yours to keep for as long as you stay subscribed. The quality and age varies greatly, but it remains a sign of good will.
Nintendo – although they sit on a goldmine of classic games that anyone’s grandmother could easily emulate – have decided that just one game a month, and only for that month, will be free.
That’s it. Play Snow Brothers for a month and if you want any more? You better pay up sucka! If you’ve been paying for Snow Brothers since the Wii then that’s just too bad. Apparently the upkeep on ancient roms less than 1 megabyte in size isn’t worth it to Nintendo.
Also, has Nintendo heard of Netflix? I would gladly pay again to play these classic games if a simple subscription of $9.99 gave me access to NES/SNES games. Netflix and the Mini NES are VERY popular with consumers, how does Nintendo not automatically combine them?
Same old Nintendo for better or worse
Nintendo has been tone-deaf for years, but they do make great games. The Wii and Wii U made many obvious mistakes but still provided some of the best gaming experiences of their respective generation. I won’t be too insulted by the ridiculous online business model while playing Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey. I probably won’t be playing while commuting, but I loved the Wii U’s ability to play almost anywhere in the house while the main television was being used for terrible romantic dramas. The Switch will make that even easier.
Nintendo just needs a few more quality games to pump the excitement back up to pre-presentation levels. A great looking Metroid, Donkey Kong, or interesting new IP will go a long way to giving gamers something to do after Zelda and Mario. I just worry it’ll be too late.