You'll finally be able to invite your friends to play games on the Nintendo Switch, though you'll likely have to wait for some older games to implement it. A 9.0.0 Nintendo Switch system update went live last night, adding several quality of life changes including a section for "Online Play Invites."
There was an inkling of this news back during E3 2019, when a Nintendo representative on the company's Treehouse Live stream said there would be changes coming to Super Mario Maker 2 to allow friends to play together. While some games, like Splatoon 2, have supported joining games via in-game options or through the Nintendo Switch Online app, there hasn't been a universal invite to play. By comparison, both Sony and Microsoft's consoles allow for this, as well as online PC storefronts like Steam. It looks like this update is paving the way for developers to allow invites to extend out to players, regardless of whether they're inside the app already or not.
Of course, Switch games would have to be updated to adapt to this change. The update even specifies that it allows for joining online play in "supported software." But with Overwatch and other major multiplayer games gradually making their way to the Nintendo Switch platform, it seems like a necessary update. Hopefully all of Nintendo's own games see the same update, so instead of forming a lobby in Smash Ultimate and telling my friends to join it, I can just invite them in, whether they're in Smash or just idling on the Home screen.
The update contained a few other notable changes, including alarm functionality, a fix for a major Fire Emblem: Three Houses bug, and the option to turn off system button input for the upcoming Nintendo Switch Lite. That latter option would let you disable system input if you're using a wirelessly paired controller; basically, it seems ideal for situations where you'd be hooking up additional Joy-Cons to play a game like Super Mario Party or 1-2 Switch. Keep up with the latest on the Nintendo Switch Lite in our guide to the new portable-only Switch model.