Months ago when the first details of the Nintendo Switch Online Service was first announced, I was definitely intrigued and was hoping to find out more in the future. I even wrote an article about how excited I was when it was first announced. During the September 13th Direct, when Nintendo talked about on the Online Service, I realized that there wasn’t really any more surprise benefits of this service. I just wanted something better. I wanted Nintendo to do better. Lets unpack exactly what I mean, how I feel, and why I feel it.
A lot of people are buying into this online service for different reasons. Some people may like the cloud saving feature, while others may like the NES games that they get to play. But for someone like me, there is almost nothing to entice me. My Switch never leaves my house so the chances of it being stolen are slim. I also never put it on a surface more than 3 feet off the ground and it’s never near any sources of water. The cloud service is just not going to be used by me, but that’s okay. I’m also not from the generation of the NES so there aren’t a lot of games that come with this service that are nostalgic to me. Yea, it’s cool that I have Super Mario Bros 3 on my Switch but it’s now the third console I have the game on. The $25 a year is worth it just to have all those NES games on the go, but again, for me, I have no nostalgia for any of these games. I grew up in the Gamecube era, those are the games I want on this system; the Switch, the system that I absolutely adore and will recommend to anyone, but some things are just missing. I paid for the service because if I ever want to play online, now I still can, but people aren’t just going to magically have better connections. I get that Nintendo can now have better servers, but there is no way they’re going to be as good as playing on PS4 or Xbox servers because Nintendo still doesn’t understand how this all works. Yes, the improved servers will help with connectivity, but if the person I’m playing against on Mario Tennis Aces has a bad connection, I’m still going to have a lag filled match. Like I said earlier, maybe I’m just a bit unsatisfied with the Nintendo Online Service because I’m in my early 20 and because I’m now paying for an online service that is far less superior than its competition. To be fair though, for $20, you are getting your money’s worth. It’s 2/3 cheaper than the PS4 and Xbox online services and it’s about 1.6 dollars a month. So for everything you get, yes, it is worth it, it’s literally change you can find it a parking lot. All of those NES games are worth WELL over $20 all on their own.
My point here is that the service is worth it, but just not personally for me. I think there are a few things missing that could easily be implemented. Earlier when talking about this online service, Nintendo mentioned they would have leaderboards for certain multiplayer games like Splatoon and Mario Kart, but now they are nowhere in sight. It feels like for years, Nintendo has neglected that they have quite the healthy competitive community when it comes to their games. Anyone play Mario Strikers Charged Online? That game was fantastic and had a great online community.
If you go into the settings on the Switch, you are able to change the theme of your dashboard, but only to black and white. Can Nintendo really not make some more interesting themes? Why are we not getting Mario themes? Zelda, Xenoblade, Fire Emblem themes? I can’t imagine that they are that hard to program into the Switch interface. It just seems like such a simple thing that fans are always talking about. I want my Switch to feel more like my own personal system, more than just booting up a boring interface. The PS4 has amazing themes that have their own icons and even music. I know nothing about programming, but again, I know Nintendo has the manpower and money to do these things even without getting 20 dollars a year from a few million people.
Perhaps the biggest let down of the most recent Nintendo Direct (which was bloody fantastic) was when they talked about the Online System and they alluded to the “special offers” once again. That Direct was the moment to talk about the special offers. They had hundreds of thousands of people watching. I want to know when it a better time to talk about it and what these special offers are before I buy into the service. I’ve thus heard it is things like cosmetics in Splatoon? And people who subscribe are allowed to buy wireless NES controllers which seem extremely overpriced. Just little things like that. Now AGAIN, I know it’s a 20 dollar service but man, I don’t think little dinky cosmetics and overpriced controllers should be classified as “special offers”. I can think of so much better things like a special character and kart in Mario Kart, extra weapons in Splatoon, extra characters and minigames in Mario Tennis, and maybe even extra modes in Smash. These sound like special offers that fit the title and are worth paying for.
Let me reiterate some things. I think the Nintendo Switch Online is worth the $20 a year. It’s cheap, it gives you what you pay for, and there seems to be promise of more. I don’t think its bad, I just don’t think it’s for someone like me. I PERSONALLY don’t feel like I’m going to get a lot of use out of it. I don’t care about NES games. I want N64 and Gamecube games because that’s the generation I’m from. I don’t take my Switch anywhere because I don’t commute to work and I never fly anywhere so the chances of it getting stolen or broken are slim, thus I have no need for cloud saves. Yes I’m glad I can still play online when I boot up Splatoon or Mario Kart, but after a year and a half of being free, it feels odd to now pay when my connection is the same because I’m still relying on other people to have good internet. I want to be convinced that this service is worth it and that I’ll like it, it just doesn’t seem like that’s possible at the moment. But please, if you think you can try, let’s discuss it down in the comments and hopefully you can change my mind.