The November 1 Nintendo Direct for Super Smash Bros Ultimate tied up numerous loose ends about the game, which is nearing its December 7 release date.
Tucked amongst the cool new character reveals and news about the World of Light adventure mode, game director Masahiro Sakurai slipped in a few remarks about online play that might be taken as an admission Nintendo knows its online infrastructure is not great. It'd "appreciate if you could make your connection as stable as possible" by using a wired LAN cable. Of course, the Nintendo Switch's LAN cable ($29.99 USD) is sold separately.
Sakurai also revealed Smash Bros Ultimate will prioritize match-ups with players who are close by. That means, despite your set preferences, you might not always get your dream match-up against a Japanese Smash Master. Chances are good that prioritized matches will become less frequent during peak hours, especially once the initial hype rush cools off.
But Sakurai's polite suggestion to buy a Switch LAN adapter indicates Nintendo might be sweating a little over whether Nintendo Switch Online will be able to hold up during the aforementioned initial hype rush. Nintendo's online structure has never been its strongest suit, but we all kind of rolled our eyes at laggy connections and disconnects when Nintendo let you take your consoles and handhelds online for free. Now that we're paying $20 for the privilege of going online, people are going to understandably be irritable if attempts to play Smash online end with connection errors or choppy framerates.
Going by Amazon's listing for the HORI LAN adapter Sakurai recommends, people are purchasing the adapter alongside Smash Bros Ultimate. They're clearly preparing to hook up their Switch to a wired connection as requested. Here's a shout-out to you good people for doing your bit. There's a 0% chance I'll pick up an adapter myself. I'll try a random match-up once, get my face planted in the dirt by Villager, and become too embarrassed to try playing online ever again. There, one less player to clog up Smash's online lobbies. You're welcome. You need not be pathetic like me, though. Arm yourself wisely with our Super Smash Bros Ultimate guides, especially our Smash Bros Ultimate character / move set guides.