Reviews of Nintendo’s latest console are aplenty this week after the launch of the Switch last friday, and thankfully many of them have great things to say about it. Praise has been heaped on the unique and varied styles of gameplay available, as well as the capabilities the console has demonstrated in launch title Breath of the Wild. Of course, most reviews have thrown at least one negative comment into the mix, and they’ve all been justified in doing so. As much of a step up as it is from the Wii U – it’s been hailed as a return to form for Nintendo – there are still a couple of issues that could do with being cleared up over the next few months.
Personally, I have no major qualms with the console, but there are definitely some features that could do with being added in to make the Switch a richer experience for everyone. It seems to be a common theme for the company given that the sparsity of the console’s launch titles was widely criticised, however, I have no doubt that Nintendo know what they’re doing. While we await an update on potential new features for the Switch, I’ve put together a couple of my own suggestions that I’d love to see implemented in the near future.
During the first few days of owning the Switch I kept meaning to check how much playtime I’d already logged on Breath of the Wild but kept forgetting. The game is so immersive that I’d found myself losing hours of my day with relatively little progress through the game, and I was interested to know the extent of my ‘addiction’ over that first weekend. When I eventually remembered to check, I was dismayed to find that there was nowhere on the console that could actually show me such data.
Now, I have been made aware that you can find out your playtime by using the parental controls smartphone app, but given I have no need for that other than to look at my stats, that seems like a lot of unnecessary effort. The Switch really ought to have an application like this on the console so that it’s easily accessible for anyone coming off of a lengthy gaming session. I don’t know how many times I’ve checked the feature on my 3DS to see how my playtime stats rank up against each other, and to see how many hundreds of hours I’ve logged on Animal Crossing: New Leaf (800+ and counting). Once more titles are released for the Switch, I’m going to want to be doing the same thing with those.
YouTube and Streaming Sites
Whenever I’ve got the house to myself for a night I love nothing more than watching YouTube gaming videos on the living room TV while I do some writing or work on this blog. Before I sold my Wii U, I used to play the videos through the console while I worked on my laptop, but that option is no longer available to me now that I just have the Switch. My laptop is the only source I have for playing YouTube through the TV, and hooking that up is such an effort because the HDMI cable I have for the console isn’t long enough to reach the sofa.
It would be great if sites like this were downloadable from the E-Shop for anyone who wants them so that the use of the computer is still there while a video is being streamed on the TV. Although I love being able to access to the console and play games while the TV is busy, it would be much more convenient if I didn’t have to hook up my laptop every time I wanted to watch something on a bigger screen.
Preventing Unfortunate Loss
Admittedly, I’m not stressing out too much about this right now, but I’m well aware that so many months or years down the line that may not be the case. For anyone not in the know, Nintendo have confirmed that save data for gaming can only be stored on the 25GB of system memory that the console has. Even though you shouldn’t be running out of space just from saving alone anytime soon, the addition of any game downloads from the E-Shop can cut it down dramatically. If you’re not someone who prefers to buy the physical copies of a game, then you may need to invest in a micro-SD card.
This, however, is not the issue I have. What I am concerned about is that if, for whatever reason, my console becomes damaged and is rendered unplayable, all my data is lost. No replacement Switch will be able to recover the hundreds (potentially thousands) of hours spent gaming in my free time. Though I’m not working myself up into a panic over this – after all, I don’t intend on causing irreperable damage to my Switch – accidents do happen and there have been incidents in the past where I’ve had to replace a console. I hope that if that time ever comes, Nintendo will have added in the ability to back up and transfer save data.
An Assortment of Applications
My first day of owning the Switch was essentially pointless because my pre-order of Breath of the Wild didn’t arrive until the following day. After setting up my account and browsing through the few available titles on the Nintendo E-Shop, I was left with little else to do but mindlessly click on everything I could until I ran out of new things to discover. While I was perfectly happy to wait another day to make full use of my new console, it would’ve been nice if there were some free or very cheap applications to spend some time on.
For example, the Wii U had Animal Crossing Plaza which allowed you to speak to characters from the game, create posts and other small things. It was nothing major, but it was something to look through every now and again when you were bored. Having a couple of applications with a similar purpose would be a great way of making the console look a more padded out and give you other things to do during the wait between major game releases.
This last one is more wishful thinking than anything – I don’t see Nintendo ever following through with it. Nevertheless, I reckon it would be an excellent addition to the console, especially given the popularity of it on the other leading home consoles. They’ve followed their trend of having an online subscription service, so why not achievements too? I’ve always found that they give games an additional purpose and can keep you playing longer than you might have done otherwise, and the more of them the better.
I’m a completionist at heart so anything like this would keep me firmly focused on the Switch, and that can only be of benefit to the company. An achievements system might not be a factor that pulls people in, but it will almost certainly be something that keeps them around.