13 Things We Still Want To See From Nintendo Switch
By Chris Pereira on
What We Still Want To See
Not for the first time in its history, there were those who believed Nintendo was doomed in light of the Wii U's struggles, and that its only option was to become a third-party developer, a la Sega. The Nintendo Switch has silenced many of those critiques: Its sales have exceeded those of PS4 through a comparable period following its launch, surpassed projections, and helped to boost Nintendo's market value to levels only exceeded during the heyday of the Wii.
And all of that is not without reason: the Nintendo Switch is great! Provided you have some use for removing it from the dock--whether it be to take it to work, school, bed, or, let's be honest, the bathroom--it provides an experience unlike quite anything else. It's also quietly built up an excellent library of games in just a year, even setting aside big hitters like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey.
But there's also room for improvement. Areas in which Nintendo has historically struggled are present and need to be addressed, and there are other spots that this already solid system could be made even better. Let's run through what we want to see.
For an analysis of Nintendo Switch's first year, be sure to read our feature discussing the console's various successes and failures. In addition, you can also check out our features detailing all the Wii U games we ported to Switch, the best games on the console as of 2018, and the best Switch games under $20.
Folders and Game Management
Over time Switch owners will inevitably continue buying more games on Nintendo's Eshop. Those who have already accumulated a large collection of digital games know Switch is not well-equipped to handle this. The system's main navigation bar doesn't scroll infinitely, and eventually you do hit the point where you get an "All Software" button that displays everything installed. But there's no level of control over how things are displayed--you can't sort the games in any specific way (everything is shown based on what was opened most recently).
Worse, you can't pin specific games to the main navigation bar or create folders, which would help to alleviate all of this. Nintendo might have been able to argue folders weren't necessary at launch, but as the number of worthwhile games continues to grow, it's time for them to be introduced.
Switch features two different color schemes for its main menu, and while I appreciate not having to suffer the eye-searing white while playing late at night, it's not enough. Vita has allowed you to use custom images as backgrounds since it launched more than six years ago, so why shouldn't I be able to Twin Peaks-ify my Switch in 2018? Pre-designed themes, like those available on 3DS, would also be a welcome addition to the system. Considering they would likely cost money, though, having both those and custom wallpapers would be best.
HD Rumble Settings
HD Rumble is great--when it's used right. There's nothing quite like 1-2-Switch's ball-rolling mini-game, and TumbleSeed makes good use of the advanced vibration technology. But we've also seen multiple games go overboard, pushing the rumble effect well beyond the point of comfort. Having a system-level setting that can override rumble strength would help to mitigate this unpleasantness.
Web Browser and Media Apps
At launch, Nintendo may have wanted to emphasize that the Switch was a game machine first and foremost, and thus left out non-game functionality to accomplish that. Fine. The point has been made, and I don't think that the ability to watch Netflix and YouTube videos or visit a website is going to chill demand for the console. It didn't hurt the Wii, and frankly, it's silly to consider that a console that had outdated hardware a decade ago could do anything that the Switch can't today.
Currently, there a two video apps for Switch: Hulu and Japan-exclusive NicoNico. We're hoping the number of video and media apps continue to increase as the year goes on.
Adding these features would also give Nintendo a way to leverage the right Joy-Con's little-used IR pointer--which we suspect many people don't even know exists. Pointing a Joy-Con at your TV would be even better than navigating with a controller, as you do on Xbox One or PS4.
Even a year into the Switch's release, the Eshop remains a bit of a mess. The system itself struggles to house a fraction of the games available, but the Eshop has to hold them all, and it does so poorly. You can search manually, look at recent releases or best sellers, or check out a full list. That's it. Building a store is no easy task--just see the more extreme, but similar problems Valve faces with Steam--but there is basic, core functionality that is missing here.
Oh, and one more thing: BRING BACK THE WII ESHOP MUSIC. Scientific studies we have definitely conducted show a guaranteed 1,000% increase in sales if people are visiting the store just to listen to the music.
More Wii U Ports
Any system could use more games, and while I hope to see worthwhile original ones continue to roll out at a regular cadence, that doesn't mean the Wii U ports need to stop. Already we've seen Bayonetta 1 + 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and soon we'll have Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, but why stop there? There are plenty of quality games on Wii U that never got the attention they deserved due to low adoption of the system, so let's keep them coming. From The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker to Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario Maker, there are a wide variety of genres that could be bolstered on Switch with improved versions of Wii U games. The hard work is already done, with these games already being great--now let's hope Nintendo makes good on what it's already teased by sprinkling in more deluxe ports over the next few years.
Let Me Preserve My Saves
Switch feels like a modern console in many ways; having one system that can play a game like Breath of the Wild on your giant TV or in the backseat of a car is positively magical. And yet numerous aspects of the system lack the type of functionality you'd expect from a system released even several years ago, let alone in 2018.
The inability to back up save files has us perpetually in fear. For a system whose marquee game can consume hundreds of hours of your time and would cause tears to be shed if your save were lost, the absence of save backups is absurd. Nintendo has made it possible to transfer your data from one Switch to another Switch--albeit in the way system data transfers have worked with Wii U and 3DS where it's permanent. Our hope is that Nintendo is developing a seamless cloud-based save backup system (unlikely, we know).
Better Online Support
Similarly, Switch's online support is poor. The fact that friend codes still exist is frankly staggering. There's no way to message friends or create a profile for yourself (or, in lieu of that, a nickname for people on your friends list to help keep track of who is who). And while it's easy enough to boot up a simple online match of Splatoon 2, the official voice chat solution is nothing short of laughable. Nintendo's premium online service still isn't available while it continues to ensure it's up to snuff, but there are numerous ways in which the overall experience--paid or not--needs to improve.
Bring Back the Activity Log
An one odd pleasure of ours is taking a look at how much time we've spent playing games. Nintendo embraced this desire with the 3DS and Wii U's Activity Log, which broke down exactly when and how much specific games were played. Switch only presents a rudimentary version of this. Currently, even that information is starting to get scrubbed.
It's possible to see some information in the mobile parental controls app or view your online profile to get a fairly non-specific hour count (assuming you aren't in the dreaded "Played for a little while" range). But if the system is bothering to count, just give us that cold, raw data.
HDMI Output in Handheld Mode
The only official way to play your Switch on a TV is to drop it into the dock, but what I'd love is the ability to cut out that middle man and output video to a TV from handheld mode. The most obvious benefit would be not needing to buy an additional, pricey dock for a second room you want to play in (which may be one reason Nintendo doesn't offer this option). But it would also make it significantly easier to take a Switch to someone else's house for some multiplayer action. We've brought our Switch to family gatherings, and we were forced to endure multiplayer on the Switch's screen, which is just not big enough for some games, like Fast RMX. Perhaps we should have had the foresight to pack our dock, but that runs contrary to the idea of being able to pick up the system and walk out the door.
Different Kinds of Joy-Cons
Image credit: ryansalamanda on Twitter
It's a concept that fans immediately imagined after the Switch's design was revealed: alternative Joy-Cons. We've seen some different colors announced--and there are still a lot of possibilities there; We'd love a Super Famicom one--but functionally different Joy-Cons is where the real potential lies. Hardcore Super Smash Bros. fans would undoubtedly like to see a GameCube controller essentially cut in half and Joy-Con-ified, while others have proposed those that lend themselves to shooting games or even specific titles, like Yo-Kai Watch. Nintendo could run the risk of flooding stores and demanding too much shelf space, but it's exciting to think about what's possible.
Virtual Console (With Cross-Buy Support)
Here's the biggest one of all. Switch is already home to numerous Neo Geo games and classic Nintendo Arcade games, but there is a vast library of classic console games that we're dying to be able to play on the system. The success of the NES Classic (and strong demand for the SNES Classic) may have incentivized Nintendo to wait or drop Virtual Console plans altogether, but we remain hopeful that it's on the way in full. More than just the ability to boot up classic games, we hope Nintendo doesn't ignore the money fans have invested in Virtual Console on its older platforms. Cross-Buy support that brings your existing collection of VC games to Switch would be a dream come true and make the Switch even more appealing than it already is. Let's just hope that, by the time Nintendo decides to dump these hundreds of games on the Eshop, it also overhauls the store's layout.
And don't forget about that music.
Nintendo Character-Themed Labo
While Nintendo's eccentric Labo has yet to come out, its upcoming release has us eagerly hoping that it'll reveal more based specifically around its most popular properties. Imagine if we had Labo-like accessories resembling Link's sword and shield, or even a cardboard version of Samus Aran's blaster that we could slip snugly onto our arms. Labo is already such a quirky idea that caters towards our childhood memories of playing with cardboard boxes; Nintendo character-themed Labo could be the step that pushes it further.