Nintendo is firing on all cylinders with their Switch information, some good, some weird, and some off the mark completely.One of the biggest controversial topics that fans have been clamoring on about since the Wii was a dedicated online system for Nintendo , similar to PlayStation Network and Xbox Live. Their use of Friend Codes for the Wii and 3DS really jarred a lot of people, and the lack of party chats for players to play with their friends was also a big hindrance ,while the other companies were able to capitalize on the ever growing online aspect of gaming for the past 10 years.
Finally the big N has put their foot down and geared up for their entrance into a better online platform. However, instead of putting it down firm, it seems they have slipped on one of Donkey Kong’s banana peels. Nintendo has released details of their online platform and one of the biggest things is that it is now a paid service.Early adopters get a free trial of this new Nintendo Online platform, but come later in the year, users will have to pay for the full experience. One of the biggest things that set Nintendo apart in this recent trend of online was how gamers did not have to pay for their online services. Yeah the services may have been subpar in certain games, but it was what set Nintendo apart from Xbox Live’s pay to play and Sony’s Playstation Network, which is still free for games to use.
Subscribers to Nintendo’s new online platform also get access to the online lobbies and Voice Chat App that doesn’t come with the system,but rather installs on your phone, meaning you have to use a separate device just to access the service with your friends, instead of it all being integrated into the system.That is a big drawback, and a huge oversight in Nintendo’s new scheme, as people who like using their phones for other purposes while gaming will not have the luxury to do so with Nintendo, and if they do, it can run the risk of draining the battery life on the phone much quicker than a person’s phone normally would, should the app be allowed to run in the background.
There’s also the exclusive deals, where subscribers get access to one NES/SNES game free for a month, which is definitely a turn off. In the age where Xbox Live and Playstation Plus Subscriptions get you games free as long as you are a subscriber, this is a huge turn off from the service. Not only is it just the 8 bit and 16 bit classic games that I probably already owned on the Wii / Wii U Virtual Console , if not back in 90s, but to limit my access to those games to at minimum 28 days is really baffling. There wasn’t even a mention of an upgrade fee or free downloads if a user already purchased those titles on the aforementioned Nintendo systems, which as it was with the Wii U, may very likely go the upgrade fee route, if not a full price title.
However the biggest drawback in general, is the length of the trial of the service itself. If a gamer buys the Switch at Launch, they will have at minimum 6 months to enjoy the few games that will support the online function of the Switch, which currently, it seems like the major games to take advantage of this function will be Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which aren’t even launch titles themselves. Even Microsoft has gotten flack for this “Always Online” route and it is looking down for them as well. At least Sony went a whole console generation with Playstation Network and still allows friends to play online with each other without the need for a subscription. For Nintendo to expect gamers to suddenly pay for these fees is really a stretch. What do you think about Nintendo’s strategy for the Switch? Leave your comments and concerns below.