I’ve been glued to my Switch ever since the midnight launch back in March. That’s certainly meant as a compliment to the system and not an insult, but a big part of the reason I’ve been so enamored with the home/portable hybrid console has been Breath of the Wild. I’ve pumped over a hundred hours and counting into the game and loved every minute, but the other offerings on Switch haven’t been nearly as captivating. Granted, I enjoyed Fast RMX, and I also regularly boot up many of Hamster’s ACA NeoGeo titles, but otherwise the pickings are slim for both physical and digital games on the system.
Now, I understand that it’s barely been a month since Switch dropped. I know that new consoles need time to build up their catalogue of games. Switch seems to have a number of developers either actively developing software for the system or gearing up to. That all said… there simply isn’t enough out there for people to play. The console is selling out everywhere and continues to do so. I heard a couple of random dudes on the street talking about Joy-Cons today as I walked to get a sandwich for lunch. The interest is there. People are flocking. Yet, for all this momentum that’s been built, it has the real potential to fizzle out if Nintendo doesn’t start putting more games out there for fans to enjoy.
I think that even though there are plenty of players out there who can stick with a game for weeks on end, there are also quite a few folks who are a little more fickle or simply need a regular flow of new titles coming in. As things currently stand, there are a number of games heading to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One that aren’t (as of now) coming to Switch. Third parties seem interested, but until Switch really demonstrates that it’s not just a flash in the pan, their enthusiasm isn’t going to manifest as tangible, playable games any time soon. That said, even if developers are lured to make titles for Switch… those games still won’t be seen in the near future, because they have to be made!
In a nutshell, third party development will be key to Switch’s longterm survival, but in the interim Nintendo needs to pick up the slack. We have Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to look forward to at the end of this month, but beyond that it’s going to be a bit of a wait until the next notable release. That’s also ignoring the fact that, despite the addition of a real Battle Mode and new racers, this is largely the same game we’ve all been playing on Wii U for the past three years. As much as I love a lot of the titles that have hit the console so far, they’re not going to be enough for the average fan to stick around or keep coming in droves. Switch needs more software and it needs that software now, not in three months.
As much as I love Nintendo, it can be maddeningly lackadaisical with its meting out of games, and that’s saying nothing of the company’s notorious tunnel vision when it comes to technological and consumer trends. Case in point: where the heck is Netflix? It’s 2017—any tablet on the market (even one as specialized as this one) is going to be expected by consumers to stream media. I get that Nintendo is touting Switch to be a “games first” platform, but having streaming services like Hulu and Netflix is a must, and frankly didn’t prevent Wii U from being a dedicated gaming machine. Ancillary services like Netflix means consumers are using the system on a regular basis, that they’re thinking of their Switches beyond a multiplayer match of Splatoon 2. If there aren’t going to be many games to be enjoyed by a broader audience for the foreseeable future, then at least give fans another reason to be utilizing Switch.
Another issue I have with the system to date is the eShop. I have to input my credit card info every time I want to buy something. Why? Why when this problem has been solved twice previously on 3DS and Wii U. Enter your card info once and it can be accessed repeatedly until you deem otherwise. Every single reputable online seller of goods follows this practice, because to do the opposite would be to cause consumers needless hassle and belligerently grind against a practical standard. Nintendo has elected to not do this, to not follow the sensible standard that it’s already followed twice beforehand. It’s asinine, it’s sloppy, it’s lazy, and I’m irritated that I’m having to write about it. The time for oversights like this needs to end. I don’t need anything but a round wheel, Nintendo, so stop trying to reinvent it, at least when it comes to something as basic as buying your software. Heck, at this point Nintendo isn’t even reinventing the wheel, it’s leaving them off entirely!
The market that existed for video games when Wii dropped back in 2006 isn’t the same now. I had my doubts about Switch before it launched, hesitant to think that fans would flock to the console as they have, but thankfully I was wrong and, so far, the system is a success. Sadly, that doesn’t mean that foolish oversights and sloppy scheduling might not trip Switch up before it can truly establish itself with consumers. Nintendo at the very least needs to port and remake some no-brainer evergreen Wii and Wii U titles for the system to keep players glued to it.
Bring on Tropical Freeze Deluxe and Skyward Sword HD, and titillate the masses with Pikmin 3 Definitive Edition (I’m making these titles up, obviously). Hell, the Virtual Console alone would be a huge help in this regard, too — it’s a shame that even 20 and 30-year-old games couldn’t be ready to go for Nintendo’s newest console. Ultimately, I don’t care what Nintendo does so long as it does something to help bridge the gap between now and the middle of the summer when things start to pickup for the Switch release schedule. Give third party developers the incentive and time they need to start adding even more to Switch’s library. Step up your game Nintendo; Switch is a hit almost despite you, but it won’t be for long if the Nintendo-trickle isn’t changed to a geyser.