The Slow, Stumbling History of Nintendo Online Support

Does Nintendo deserve the stigma of being behind when it comes to online services?

Feature by Mike Williams, .

When I wrote my article about the current status of Splatoon 2 online play and the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone application, I saw several responses around the internet. One of them was the perception that Nintendo has always been behind in online infrastructure, despite having years to catch up. Some say this perception is rooted in past practices of the Japanese giant. The fact is that while we've reached a stable plateau in online offerings, Nintendo still lags behind a bit.

As games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2 have a stronger online focus, the problems Nintendo has in the space have begun to compound. As Switch owners ask for popular titles from other platforms, the comparisons to other platforms increase. Someone playing Overwatch, Destiny, or Call of Duty has certain expectations as to how online play should work. Nintendo has to meet those expectations.

The thing is, Nintendo has been, at least to some degree, behind the curve when it comes to online services. Thus, let's look at Nintendo's history of online support.

GameCube: Nintendo GameCube Broadband Adapter and Phantasy Star Online ver. 2

Back when the Nintendo GameCube was still code-named Dolphin, Nintendo and other companies seemed to realize that online networking was something that would be needed for the future of gaming. Statements from Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto pointed to the push-and-pull that perhaps still hurts the company to this day: protecting a younger audience from the Wild West of the internet.

"There's got to be something Dolphin has with the Internet, because from now on we can't create entertainment without thinking about network communication," Miyamoto told GameSpot in 1999. "At the same time, we are an entertainment company so we have to take into consideration the cost associated with network games, and the ages of the users, who are actually going to make use of it. If we consider these two points right now, I have to tell you that there is not a big market right now for Dolphin to involve a significant Internet business."

Phantasy Star Online was one of the few GameCube games that used online features.

Some months later, it was rumored that Nintendo was following Sega and Square Enix in the creation of a potential massively multiplayer online game. Sony Online Entertainment's Everquest had launched in March of 1999 and had already passed Ultima Online in subscriptions. Ongoing subscriptions meant ongoing revenue, and other publishers wanted to get in on that action. Comments from Miyamoto reiterated his statements above, but also pointed to Nintendo's other ongoing problem: the need to be different from competitors.

"I'm very interested in online gaming, and I fully understand why people are so enthusiastic about it. But, you know what Nintendo is about, and has always been about, is not doing the same as every other company. So, if it ever came to the stage where we were talking about online gaming, it would be because we had a new way to approach the idea. It wouldn't just be because everyone else is doing it," Miyamoto told UK N64 Magazine (via GameSpot).

The Gamecube Broadband Adapter.

The GameCube launched in 2001 in North America and Japan, but that Nintendo online game never materialized. The company produced and launched the Nintendo GameCube Broadband Adapter and Modem Adapter in 2002, but never released a game that supported the internet capabilities. Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, 1080 Avalanche, and Kirby Air Ride used the adapter for local area network (LAN) play, but the only actual online games were the Japan-only Homeland and Sega's Phantasy Star Online in various incarnations.

For Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II, Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Plus, and Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution, Sega handled the online infrastructure. Nintendo just provided the hardware to make it possible. The same was true of the PlayStation 2's online offerings via the PlayStation 2 Network Adaptor, which launched in Japan in 2001. Microsoft, being a company tied heavily to desktop PCs with Windows, was the first to offer a unified online service with Xbox Live for the first Xbox in November 2002.

Nintendo DS: Mario Kart DS and Friend Codes

Following Mario Kart: Double Dash!!'s support of LAN play, the next Mario Kart would actually support online play for the first time ever. In 2005, Mario Kart DS and Tony Hawk's American Sk8land for Nintendo DS were the first games to to support the new Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection was the company's real shot at a unified online service where the DS could connect online via its built-in 802.11 wireless adapter. Players could also pick up the Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector for high-speed access.

This was the beginning of the infamous Friend Code system. Every copy of Mario Kart DS had an attached Friend Code, a 12-digit number that signified that copy of the game in tandem with a specific system. Players could share and register other Friend Codes to build their roster of friends.

The Friend Codes were fine on a smaller scale, but had a few issues. First, every player had to have all Friend Codes mutually registered on every system involved. Second, every player that wanted to join needed to be looking at their Friends list at the same time. Finally, there was no way to simply pick up a Friend Code or make an ad hoc connection without a Friend Code. It worked for local wireless play though, which was all Nintendo needed.

The problem was that Microsoft had reached two million registered Xbox Live users earlier in 2005. Xbox Live had a more elegant account system and it was easy for players to create a buddy list, voice chat, and play online. Microsoft would launch the Xbox 360 with an updated version of Xbox Live in November 2005, around the same time Nintendo was testing the waters with Mario Kart DS. A year later, Sony would offer a similar unified online system for its all-new PlayStation 3: the PlayStation Network.

Mario Kart Wii continues the series' tradition of pushing Nintendo's online.

Nintendo Wii: The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection Expands

When the Nintendo Wii launched in November 2006, the company simply expanded the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to the new platform. Nintendo's online strategy was wrapped up in a single phrase: "simple, safe, free."

The Wii still used Friend Codes though, and players who wanted to become friends in a game had to mutually share codes. On top of this, Nintendo added WiiConnect24, which let games send data online even when the system was in standby mode. WiiConnect24's features tended to use a 16-digit Wii Number, which was tied to the system itself. Some games even used both the Friend Codes and Wii Numbers. Overall, it was more frustrating to connect with friends compared to Xbox Live or PlayStation Network (the latter of which was still free).

Nintendo was catching up though. With the Wii came the Wii Shop Channel for buying digital games via Wii Points, WiiWare indies, the Virtual Console, an internet browser, media services like YouTube, and several other connected online channels for weather and news. The Wii Message Board even allowed for messaging with friends and family.

Mario Kart Wii and Super Smash Bros Brawl were probably some of the bigger online-enabled Wii titles. Mario Kart Wii allowed up to 12 players to race at once. Super Smash Bros Brawl, once you had swapped Friend Codes, was easy to get into and start up a match. Both games had issues with hackers and griefers though. Since Nintendo didn't really have a unified system, there was no real way to ban or penalize these players.

Another major issue was the lack of game patches, which had begun to become more common in home console gaming. If there was a game with balance or other severe problems, developers on other systems could release a patch to fix the issues. On the Wii, that wasn't the case. When The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess launched with a game-breaking bug on Wii, Nintendo simply sent a new copy of the game to affected customers. This was probably because of the Wii's storage capacity, which was only 512 MB of flash storage.

In contrast, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were racing ahead in online features. Xbox Live and PlayStation Network users had single unified accounts. From those accounts they could play online games, purchase and download new games, grab demos, or use a wide variety of multimedia services. The Xbox 360 did launch with a harddrive-less Core unit, but developers considered the base 20 GB Premium model to be the default. The PlayStation 3 launched with 20 GB and 60 GB models. Downloading content and patching became the norm for those userbases. It didn't matter though, because the Wii was a hit with the "Blue Ocean," or average consumers who hadn't gamed before.

Nintendo 3DS: Friend Codes Improve

Nintendo launched the Nintendo 3DS handheld in early 2011. Along with the new system came a brand-new iteration of the Friend Code system. This time, Friend Codes were tied to your 3DS system and a Friend Card profile on that system. Players could add up to 100 friends on their 3DS, though the same basic issue with Friend Codes persisted: you had to mutually register Friend Codes, unlike Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, where you could send a friend request that would complete the handshake once accepted.

It was better, but not quite there yet.

Nintendo 3DS and Wii U: The Nintendo Network

The 3DS launched in 2011, but by January 2012, Nintendo realized that Friend Codes weren't going to be enough. The company announced the Nintendo Network, finally offering a unified account system for the 3DS and the upcoming Wii U. In talking about the Nintendo Network at the time, former Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said that the lack of a unified, strong online network is what caused the decline in Wii sales. (Though the system had sold 96 million units by that point, so I think you were okay Nintendo.)

"Unlike Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, which has been focused upon specific functionalities and concepts, we are aiming to establish a platform where various services available through the network for our consumers shall be connected via Nintendo Network service so that the company can make comprehensive proposals to consumers," Iwata said, according to a report from Kotaku.

Players finally had a Nintendo Network ID. One ID could be tied to a 3DS system, while the Wii U would allow up to 12 IDs per system. With your Nintendo Network ID, you could access the Nintendo eShop to buy games, or just pass the time in the social setting of the Miiverse. The unified account let Nintendo catch up to Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, allowing players to use the same payment on both 3DS and Wii U eShops.

The Miiverse stage on Super Smash Bros.

Games like Mario Kart 7 for 3DS used the Nintendo Network to allow for more seamless online play. The Nintendo Network let players view rankings and leaderboards, voice chat on the Wii U, and rate titles on the eShop. Miiverse integration let players share doodles and screenshots online.

The Wii U and 3DS also improved over the Wii by having the ability to patch games. Developers could finally offer updates to titles over time. Nintendo itself used the option to continue supporting games like Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon with free patches and further downloadable content. Multimedia services like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube were important additions to both platforms.

Mario Kart 8's online lobbies.

But while Nintendo had reached near parity finally, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live were making incremental changes. Party chat became a standard feature on both networks, letting players chat with friends regardless of which game they were playing. Media services were a strong backbone of both systems, offering Blu-Ray playback and more in a bid to be the only box hooked to your television. Nintendo still lacked Trophies or Achievements, which were the sole focus of some players.

Nintendo standing on even footing would only last for one year. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 would both launch in November 2013, pushing online offerings further. They carried forward Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, but there were new social features. Recording game videos and streaming gameplay to services like Twitch became a core part of both systems.

PlayStation 4 sharing is dead simple.

Taking screenshots on the PlayStation 4 was a breeze with the Share button and those screenshots could be moved to PC or shared directly from the system to Twitter or Facebook. Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 could send save data to the cloud, allowing you to pick up your saved games on another system simply by signing into your account. (This actually started on the PlayStation 3 with PlayStation Plus, but became the standard here.)

Nintendo Switch and Mobile: The Nintendo Account and... Friend Codes?

Ahead of the release of the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo announced a whole new unified account system, the Nintendo Account. The Nintendo Account isn't an online service in and of itself. Instead, it's a single login that ties together multiple Nintendo services.

Users can create a Nintendo Account by logging in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, an email address, or a Nintendo Network ID. Essentially, Nintendo killed the Nintendo Network for something a bit broader. Nintendo Accounts are the backbone of the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Online, the My Nintendo benefits service, and any of the Nintendo mobile games, including Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Miitomo. Theoretically, it's one account for everything Nintendo does.

Except, it's not quite. Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes still have friend code-style systems to connect players, as does the Nintendo Switch itself. On the Switch, the Friend Code is attached to your Nintendo Account profile, not the system. It's easier than before, no longer requiring players to mutually add each other. Instead, you send a friend request with a code and the other person just has to accept. The Switch also lets you search for local users in your area and easily friend users you've recently played with. Nintendo later added Friend Suggestions, which pulls from your Nintendo Network friends lists or those you've friended on Super Mario Run and Miitomo.

Basically, it's not quite just searching for a friend's name, but it's not bad at all.

Nintendo took a few steps back though. The Nintendo Switch has no built-in voice chat and the new Nintendo Switch Online service requires an app. Features that are system level on other consoles—even on Nintendo's earlier efforts—are now shunted off to a smartphone application. Voice chat is tied to private rooms within specific titles, even with the app.

Games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2 rely on a lobby system, meaning if you want to play with a friend, they have to join a game in progress and hope there's an open slot. If either of you disconnect, there are issues rejoining your friend. Which is a problem, because Nintendo's servers have caused Mario Kart 8 Deluxe players to complain about significant lag and disconnects.

Basically, Nintendo had achieved a level of parity, only for Xbox Live and PlayStation Network to move further ahead. The app for Nintendo Switch Online is fine as an optional measure—PlayStation Network has the PlayStation app to provide similar features—but things like partying with friends and chatting should be a part of the system itself. The app itself is limited, especially in comparison to other smartphone-based options like Discord. Listening to voice chat and game audio requires a splitter solution if you want to use headphones.

This is where we are currently. This hope that one of the major platform holders in the industry would take the time to look at other competing services and attempt to achieve some measure of equality. But Nintendo doesn't seem keen to. This is backed up by an account from an anonymous developer posted on Eurogamer in regards to the Wii U.

"There were apparently issues with setting up a large networking infrastructure to rival Sony and Microsoft that they hadn't envisaged," wrote the developer. "This was surprising to hear, as we would have thought that they had plenty of time to work on these features as it had been announced months before, so we probed a little deeper and asked how certain scenarios might work with the Mii friends and networking, all the time referencing how Xbox Live and PSN achieve the same thing."

"At some point in this conversation we were informed that it was no good referencing Live and PSN as nobody in their development teams used those systems so could we provide more detailed explanations for them? They were trying to play catch-up with the rival systems, but without the years of experience to back it up."

Especially in an era where online play is key, this just doesn't work. Porting games like Overwatch over to Switch probably won't happen, because the online features just aren't there. Effectively, Nintendo's already removed the system from the conversation before even getting to graphical power.

Nintendo fans are a resilient bunch and have survived without online parity for years. But they shouldn't have to. Nintendo has a warchest in the bank that absolutely dwarfs many other companies. They have the money and potential resources to fix this problem. Ideally, this should be something Nintendo could be able to provide. Instead, we wait and hope the situation improves in the future. Which is pretty normal on Nintendo platforms with regards to online, as its history proves.

That's a shame, because otherwise the Nintendo Switch is a complete winner. Hopefully Nintendo will get the online on track, sooner rather than later.

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Comments 18

  • Avatar for Mr.Spo #1 Mr.Spo 8 months ago
    Good write-up. Nintendo seemed to be moving towards a unified account system but have complicated it unnecessarily with 'Nintendo Switch Online', their voice-chat options and the Switch Online phone app being a necessary part of the experience for users wanting voice-chat, lobbies etc. Surely it would have been far less work to keep the Nintendo Network branding, incorporate unified user accounts under that, and go ahead onto Switch with that? Similarly the voice-chat debacle was easy to avoid. Stick a microphone on the Switch and allow people to use bluetooth headsets. But again, Nintendo overcomplicate things. What's worse is that soon Nintendo will be charging for this overcomplicated, poorly thought-out service that lags behind rival platform holders.

    I was able to use voice-chat with Advance Wars: Days of Ruin/Dark Conflict when playing against friends 9 years ago on a Nintendo system using the DS's in-built microphone. It's embarrassing Nintendo have gone backwards in this regard. It won't stop me from buying a Switch at some point, but unless there are serious improvements or extra features, I definitely won't be bothering with Switch Online and a subscription.
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  • Avatar for Ralek #2 Ralek 8 months ago
    Interesting retrospective all-in-all, but I have to say, the fact that in 2017, I can't simply invite a friend to a group, start Splatoon 2 and then queue us both for a match (of any mode really), outright killed the game for me.

    I love ARMs, and I think the Party Mode is mostly neat, but it has a similar issue. If you join in 2-Player mode, you will be thrown into 1-on-1 matches, with each player taking turns playing, and - way worse imho -you can even get thrown into matches other 1-on-1 and one player still might end up having to spectate. I actually found that pretty disappointing, as 2-player therefore equals quite a bit of spectator time for each player no matter what.

    I don't know why you don't skip 1-on-1s altogether, or at least play against each other, and I REALLY don't get why you don't ALWAYS end up together in all the other modes available in party, featuring more than 2 players. That makes no sense to me whatsoever.

    All in all, and this is really heartbreaking, it makes it hard, and in the case of Splatoon 2, impossible for me to recommend to my friends getting a Switch for online play. ARMs and Splatoon 2 are still amazing games for sure, and Breath of the Wild is ... breathtaking, but too much of the essentials on the Switch are broken right now, and I have a deep seated suspicion, fear even, that party mode in ARMs will never get 'fixed' and neither will Splatoon 2's lack of basic group-queueing ...

    I don't know if Nintendo 'doesn't get it' or if they don't care or maybe if they are truly inept, but the result is always the same: great games with severe problems/ limitations as far as online play is concerend, some of which are downright multiplayer-breaking.

    I don't regret getting a Switch, but it's also true, that I will stick to exclusives as far as games go (at least for the overwhelming majority of releases) and it's also true that my personal attach-rate will suffer due to exclusive games lacking basic and in some instances - to me - essential features. It's a sad state of affairs, and what makes it even worse, is the fact that all of this seems so unneccessary. How hard could it have been to get this right? Not 100% perfectly right, but just right enough to make me feel it works, it gets the job done that it needs to do.

    I want to say "the Switch is great, buy one", but what I have to say instead is "the Switch is great, buy one, as long as you're not reliant on playing online to get your money's worth".

    Your retrospective made me realize, that Nintendo is flat-out failing on this. Forget the competition, they've been at this since the Gamecube, or at least the DS, and they still have not figured out how to get it right. Even if Sony or Microsoft or Steam etc. didn't exist, this would have to be considered a failure by a billion dollar company.

    I mean, next year they are expecting me to pay what? $20 for this? $20 is not that much, but for WHAT exactly am I supposd to pay that money? As things stand, the games I'll be playing online on the system will at best number in the single digits. Sorry for the rant, but ... again, this is almot heartbreaking for someone who has been with Nintendo for virtually all his gaming life.
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  • Avatar for Lonecow #3 Lonecow 8 months ago
    Salmon Run is so much fun!!!!
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  • Avatar for metalangel #4 metalangel 8 months ago
    Very good piece. Nintendo's online stuff is always painful: confusing, slow, unreliable. The amount of downloading and handshaking before you can even get into some games (Pokémon Shuffle, that Badge Arcade thing) is ridiculous. The online features are clunky once in game, too - look how many steps and dialogue screens there are to do any of the online things in Animal Crossing: New Leaf!

    When we got a WiiU recently, it was a real production to set up both our Nintendo IDs (we had stuff that predated it, including VC games).

    That someone saw that ridiculous apparatus needed for Switch voice chat and decided that was fine pretty much says it all. They seem to be making this up as they go, and are curiously reluctant to actually commit, both to online in general, and the resources needed to make a robust system to support it.
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  • Avatar for nimzy #5 nimzy 8 months ago
    Having experience with Lego's experiments in this area, I can give weight to the "for the kids" paranoia hypothesis. There is no restriction too great, no feature too important to leave out, if there is even the slightest chance Nintendo might be liable for an unsafe experience.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #6 Roto13 8 months ago
    I was really surprised when the Switch went back to friend codes after the Wii U ditched them. At least that system allows you to change your screen name whenever you want.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #7 donkeyintheforest 8 months ago
    I think the biggest reason for the slow adoption has been that their focus is on making games for people to play the way they themselves like to play. I find myself not caring about the lack of voice chat, streaming options, or friend lists, etc. but it sounds like I'm increasingly in the minority.

    I don't understand why people would rather watch a stream of a game while being yelled at by someone in their mid twenties than actually play it themselves (and leaders at Nintendo have said the same), but millions of people love it! It is something, from a business perspective that Nintendo should support. So, it seems, would be a more robust mobile and online strategy.

    So yeah, I wish they had good online support, but I am even more glad they have barely spent their limited resources on mobile. Nintendo gonna nintendo.Edited July 2017 by donkeyintheforest
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  • Avatar for TheWildCard #8 TheWildCard 8 months ago
    I'd say the answer to the headline is pretty obvious.
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  • Avatar for TernBird #9 TernBird 8 months ago
    This is a pretty darn good write-up! I recall the Gamecube days, where many ports on the system were considered inferior by virtue of having had their online components stripped. It didn't help the ol' "Nintendo is going out of business!" paranoia in those days (then again, people always want Nintendo to go out of business).

    For my two-cents, though? I didn't need online components in my games. I had no appreciation for them. I lived in the boondocks with no Internet connection, not even cable TV. It made no difference to me if Windwaker had online support because even if it did there was no way for me to enjoy them!

    That's something I don't think many people appreciate. There are still parts of the US and its territories where you can't take a WiFi connection for granted. What's super-convenient for someone living in a suburb in Washington (a patch, for example) can be a death sentence for someone stuck in Utuado, PR, because there's no system to hook up their Wii U to.

    These sound like niche problems until you're the one that can't play Blade Kitten at home because it's an always-online game, or your $60 copy of Diablo III is revealed to be a very expensive, shiny coaster because you can't connect to the server.

    I can understand the need for parity in these systems. People who play Smash online honestly deserve the same experience they'd have playing, say, Rocket League online. And Nintendo does have the funds to have a far better online service than they have now. Heck, they could probably make it for free if they hired an Iwata-level programmer to design one that ran smoothly enough. But, for me? Even today, online play is an embellishment, a luxury, and I can only think of a handful of games I play on my Nintendo consoles that would benefit from it.

    That said: if Nintendo does improve their online services, we need something that can restore patch data to old Wii/DS games. There are a lot of DS games with on-disk DLC that can't be accessed because the online services that unlocked them are no longer functional. So, a good 70% of Dragon Quest IX's data is now dummied out, and you can't get the special shop in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon. (Unless you cheat.)
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  • Avatar for Darkarm66 #10 Darkarm66 8 months ago
    While this is solid and voice chat/online options leave a lot to be desired on Nintendo's side, we might wanna hold off on bumping up Sony's and Microsoft's online offerings as a standard. I still remember that amazing six weeks I couldn't go online with Portal 2 because the PSN was down for maintenance cause their network was a hacker paradise. And even a paid online service doesn't guarantee a solid service. I stopped using consoles for Netflix and Hulu when I couldn't access cause i had to update something else.

    Updates and bug fixes aren't good things when they take hours and a lot of memory. I pretty much had to get rid of Doom after one 20GB update too many.

    'Why doesn't the Switch just build a mic in?' Last I checked, i had to pay for a headset on the Xbox One, so just because a company can spend the money doesn't mean they will nor should they.

    So if Nintendo being Nintendo means I get to go online and not hear a bunch of abuse and slurs, not have my play sessions ruined with invites, and not have my console functionality locked due to a network being down, then I'm okay with Nintendo being Nintendo.
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  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #11 LBD_Nytetrayn 8 months ago
    The willful obliviousness mentioned at the end just left me shaking my head when it was first uttered and now.
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  • Avatar for docexe #12 docexe 8 months ago
    Sigh and double sigh... I had high hopes for Nintendo to finally get their online features “good enough” (not great, not even on par with Sony and Microsoft, just “good enough”), especially given that the Nintendo Network on the Wii U was a major improvement over the Nintendo Wii-Fi Connection on the Wii. Instead, with Switch Online and the mobile app, they seem to have taken several steps backwards.

    From a business perspective, I can at least partially understand some of the rationale that went into taking online features like voice chat out of the Switch and putting them into a separate device. I think it’s related to what is mentioned on the opening paragraphs of the article: That need to provide a “safe” environment for younger audiences. Nintendo, for good and for ill, has branded itself as the company that manufactures the “family friendly” videogame systems. The notion among many people (especially parents) is that you can buy a Nintendo system, give it to your kids and don’t need to worry for the most part about them being exposed to the “horrors” of the untamed Internet.

    The problem is that, in order to protect and maintain that reputation (and to protect themselves from liabilities because how many times have they been sued by angry parents already?), they end up restricting their online features to the point that they become painfully unwieldy. Hence why we end with things like the infamous friend codes or, now, this separate cumbersome mobile app to handle the online functions of the Switch.

    That being said, even if I understand some of the rationale that went into their decisions pertaining online (and thus might be willing to forgive some of them), it doesn’t justify some of the... well... outright incompetence they keep exhibiting at times. I mean, one thing would be if the Switch Online mobile app merely had limited options for matchmaking and voice chat. But the fact that it can’t run in the background or even if the screen of your phone is turned off… I mean, seriously?! Who the hell designed this thing? Someone who on top of never using PSN or Xbox Live, has never even used a freaking smartphone in their life?
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  • Avatar for fstim82 #13 fstim82 8 months ago
    How much should we be blaming DeNA for the current situation? Were they not building this network? How did they not let Nintendo know that they were being stupid and help them get their act together?Edited July 2017 by fstim82
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #14 MHWilliams 8 months ago
    @Darkarm66 Two things. "Standard" doesn't mean "perfect". It means, we have at least gotten near of achieved a certain number of features that players expect to find in an online service. Xbox Live and PlayStation Network absolutely have their own issues, but this problem here is Nintendo is consistently behind, for no real reason. Learn from the competition. If you can't do it internally, hire someone who can. As of last year, Nintendo's bankchest was in the neighborhood of $4.4 billion. They have the money to fix this.

    Two, let's tackle these other statements:

    'Why doesn't the Switch just build a mic in?' Last I checked, i had to pay for a headset on the Xbox One, so just because a company can spend the money doesn't mean they will nor should they.

    I can't even hook a basic headset up to the mic jack on the Switch currently.

    So if Nintendo being Nintendo means I get to go online and not hear a bunch of abuse and slurs, not have my play sessions ruined with invites, and not have my console functionality locked due to a network being down, then I'm okay with Nintendo being Nintendo.

    Protecting the players from abuse and slurs has little to do with preventing players from doing something as simple as making a party and playing regular online matches with their friends. I can load up Overwatch, join a group with my friends and we can jump into Quick Play together. We stay together, we have our own chat channel away from general chat, and enjoy everything Overwatch has to offer.

    So, why is such a feature missing on Switch? Who are they protecting us from?

    And note, speaking of slurs and abuse, Nintendo has a way to ban players. Why? Because they have to with the Miiverse-style sketches you can make in Splatoon 2. The question being, why protect people from voice, but not this? Where is the disconnect?
    @fstim82 It could totally be an issue with DeNA, but if that's the case, DeNA was contracted by Nintendo to solve the issue.Edited July 2017 by MHWilliams
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  • Avatar for Wellman2nd #15 Wellman2nd 8 months ago
    I do find it funny that three of the last four Nintendo devices (DS, 3DS and Wii U) before the Switch had mics built in that they rarely used but the Switch does not.

    Hopefully they will find a way to make their online services worth paying for before trying to charge folks.
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  • Avatar for Hoolo #16 Hoolo 7 months ago
    Personally I don't expect I'll be feeling the loss of this very much; I'm not a very social player, shunning both people and competitive play in most cases... but I can still see Nintendo is continually making bad moves when it comes to online. Well, maybe not bad, but certainly sub-par.

    The biggest loss for me is still the Nintendo WFC going down, meaning that Dragon Quest IX is now an incomplete game if you start a new game (like it was very complete without good Streetpass, pssht). I think it's all on the cartridge, though, so I might just go find a device to unlock the things, unless Square Enix releases a remake à la DQVII/VIII before I feel the urge to play it.
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  • Avatar for uberbryan #17 uberbryan 7 months ago
    What kills me is how they tie digital games to systems. I use Steam on the PC and only buy digital but feel like Nintendo platforms punish you for not wanting discs. It's not that hard:

    1) Tie purchase of a game to an account
    2) Let you download that game whenever you want on any system when you are logged in to the account
    3) Require being logged in to play a game you bought digitally
    4) Store all save data etc. in the cloud

    System dies? Just get a new one and download all your games and go. Playing at a friends? Sign in to your account, download the game and play - he won't be able to access it once you leave and sign out.

    This isn't a pipe dream - this is how steam works and until Nintendo works the same way I (sadly) won't bother - I paid for too many NES games on Wii I can no longer access to ever do that again.
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  • Avatar for Number1Laing #18 Number1Laing 7 months ago
    Online systems are merely a means to an end. Nintendo isn't going to spend the hundreds of millions to build a Xbox Live clone if they don't have the same goals that led MS to make that investment. And so far they have not. I seriously think Splatoon, their first multiplayer, team-based shooter that is designed for the online world, might be the first game that would lead them towards that direction.

    And let's not let MS and Sony totally off the hook - the One's party functions were so poorly designed at launch it might as well have been nonexistant and it took them a good year before they had it figured out (with a quickie redo for Titanfall). And the PS3 at launch, it wasn't so much poorly designed as not designed at all.Edited July 2017 by Number1Laing
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