Nintendo has had a wonderful year with the Nintendo Switch; it’s not even a year old and it has one of, if not the, best first-year catalogues of any system, the Nindie scene is on fire and it’s flying off store shelves and has been all year.
Some things this year have been excusable because it’s still early in the console’s life, things have been delayed on the services side — but the main message of 2017 was met: give people a good consistent stream of games and they’ll come.
Nintendo needs to do one better in 2018 — push forward and take the Switch to the next level and solve some issues it has with the ecosystem. Here are our suggestions;
Keep the Games Coming
Nintendo’s first-year strategy with the Switch was simple: a consistent stream of games, one a month (or so) and keep giving people something to play. Nintendo needs to keep this up in 2018, and it’s totally doable if they keep the strategy the same. We’re already seeing it in play, we’ve got a new game from Square Enix in January, a Wii U port (actually two) in February, Dragon Quest Builders, Kirby and Yoshi won’t be far away either.
Wii U ports are great (and they’ve been selling well), so are comfort franchises like Kirby and Yoshi, but we still want to be surprised. Nearly all of Nintendo’s teams have been working on Switch things for years already and we should start to see that, hopefully early next year.
It’s totally achievable for Nintendo keep up this momentum.
Sort out the Online plans
Nintendo and online, online and Nintendo. It’s never really gone that well for them; everything works, most of the time and we put up with it when it doesn’t because the service is free. If Nintendo are going to start charging us soon like they say, then they really need to step it up and have a united focused on this.
The Nintendo Switch online app which launched alongside Splatoon 2 is still only used by one game, and it’s pretty horrible to use. It’s not a great experience at all. Nintendo needs to show us how it works, in action, without charging us first, and it has to be better than what it is already.
If they’re not going to ditch the app, fine, but least show us what our money is going to buy, because at the moment it’s a trash fire.
Sort out the eShop
When the Switch launch we all praised it for being quick, easy to find things and it was good for a while.
Then, over the year with ten, twenty plus games launching each week, things began to fall apart. Nintendo has put band-aids on the store, like searching for demos or expanding lists. These are little things, but it’s just not working anymore, devs are complaining about a lack of exposure, games get pushed off the new releases page after a week and its hard to find anything that’s not new, on sale or selling well.
Our thinking is that Nintendo needs to merge the shop and the News section. The News section is doing all the cataloging, all of the featured items that the shop needs to do. This shouldn’t be hidden in the shop; it works well because the News section is baked into the OS. Everything should be as fast as the News area, but still work like a shop — essentially blend the two ideas together. The checkout will still need to be done in a browser, which is fine, but they’re a detriment to each other at the moment.
Sort out the cartridge situation
Reports came out recently that Nintendo is planning on delaying 64GB game cards until 2019, and honestly, that’s probably a good idea. At the moment the cartridges are too expensive and we, the consumer, are getting lumped with a “Switch tax” on nearly every third-party game. Not only that, but games are coming with just a snippet on the card so you either have to download the rest before you can start or have to download the rest at some point. This is a horrible user experience, and it looks bad on Nintendo and the publisher.
Publishers are cheaping out for small cards and making everyone download the rest, so if 64GB cards have to wait, make the 32GB ones cheaper now until this can be solved.
Be Proactive in 2018
When a tech company does something ‘bad’, they work their butt off to make things right as a way to save face. When Nintendo’s profits dropped, Iwata cut the executives pay packets; when Samsung had a phone that exploded they took a hit and sorted that out. Nintendo hasn’t stuffed up yet with the Switch, at least nothing major, and nothing that can’t be fixed.
Instead of just sitting back in 2018, Nintendo needs to get out there and fix the issues we mentioned, but also not just sit back and let problems coming to them. Sort out the cartridges, get apps on the system, sort out cloud saves, have some rules and quality control about who you’re letting on the eShop before it turns into Steam.
We’ve all enjoyed the Switch’s first 9 months on market, but it hasn’t been without some issues — thankfully the games have been there. We’re all early adopters, we can take the launch pain, but Nintendo just sold several million Switch units to people this Christmas who are going to want more.
Let’s get to it.