Ever since the Nintendo Switch came out March last year, the one thing I’ve been wanting to know more and more about is Nintendo Online. Courtesy of the WayBack machine, here is a snap of the landing page for the service as it was on January 13, 2017!.. Lets all take a moment to truly appreciate the Wayback machine and it’s amazing-ness
Now I’ve been through some stuff about the online service before, however it’s changed alot since, which I’ll let any potential readers do you’re own investigation about such changes, I noted some here (Mostly about the monthly games service).
Anyway I’ve been very invested in the online service, in terms of, refreshing the page to see if there’s any more information about it, or listening to other people’s thoughts. So I figured it would be interesting to do a couple of blog posts. One on my thoughts about the online service just before it’s released, another on my thoughts after.
Now I’ve been on the fence in terms of positive/negative opinion forever… since I first learned about it and hearing people’s opinions etc. In these sorts of things, I generally err on the side of ‘lets wait and see’.. ‘I trust it will be okay’.. However the more I learn, the more I realise, hmm.. maybe it won’t?
To start with the elephant in the room.. to me.. it makes sense that Nintendo doesn’t have an ideal solution for voice chat, it sounds like they never really did. The more I think about it.. Xbox is Microsoft, Playstation is Sony, Nintendo is .. Nintendo. Microsoft and Sony both huge companies with well developed voice solutions, both in software and hardware spanning decades! Microsoft and Sony have zero excuse to provide poor voice chat solutions. Nintendo kinda does because it doesn’t have any other brands executing voice chat or voice over internet solutions beyond it’s past console’s. In alot of ways it’s no surprise they want to use a mobile app instead. To leverage technology that is ubiquitous and well developed across a world wide infrastructure. So it makes sense, but just because something makes sense, it doesn’t mean it’s something people want. Now we all know why people don’t want the phone app, but for me, I’ll probably never use it because I just want to pick up my switch and play, not connect cables everywhere. My phone is old and needs replacing soon and voice chat would run poorly through it, but I’m sure as hell not replacing it just for voice chat. So we’ll see what happens here, I don’t voice chat much anyway, obviously it’s hell on earth for most people, but for me, I’m just not going to voice chat.
However I’ve since come to learn over the past week and in further detail from my favorite ranting youtube gamer RGT85 that cloud saves are deleted upon an expired subscription. As soon as it expires. Which isn’t good. Further not all games even support it. I mean I appreciate that Nintendo doesn’t market itself as trying to compete with Xbox and Playstation, but it could at least provide comparable services to other consoles, especially if people are expected to pay for it. However for me cloud saves just sound like a risk if they’re deleted upon an expired subscription, what if you forget to renew or can no longer afford it so decide to cancel, simply forgetting you’d lose your save data. I mean I assume there’s a local copy created on the switch. But I’m pretty sure some would be deleting their local copies to save space and things like that. To me, it sounds unreliable, and untrustworthy, people want a cloud saving service, that sounds solid and persistent and user friendly. Without these qualities, it seems better to keep things locally. For me however, I’ll keep my local copies and a cloud copy when it’s available, but I’m certainly not going to rely on it. Hopefully local backups become a thing soon…
Finally according to here. NES games require a weekly check-in or else you will no longer have access to them. I assume it’s to ensure people are in fact still subscribed to the online service. If the check-in doesn’t occur, it seems the games will become inaccessible as the service would assume you are no longer subscribed. However it does sound like as soon as you connect to the internet again the NES games become available to play again, which is a little relief. However for a portable console, it’s simply ridiculous. One month would sound more reasonable, or hell maybe for the length of the subscription? Surely it could just disable if been disconnected for the length of time left on the subscription. I mean if every time the switch was connected to the internet the online service copied the expiration information to the switch locally. So if it ever disconnected, it kept checking against a local copy of the expiry time until it either got a refresh from the server, or ran out locally? Surely this is more sensible?
So yeah, a whole bunch of reasons it sounds very bad. Further people complain they’ve had access to online for a long time for free, why now put it behind a pay wall? Which will be a huge problem when it goes live in two days time, complaint wise. However I have no problem with paying as I’m excited about the NES games and the discounts.. literally the only reasons it sounds good to me, I don’t care about any of the online stuff at this point.
I’d have to say the thing that gets me more than anything is the delay on the online service. Fall 2017 was it’s initial release date. Which is Spring 2017 in Australia by the way. They delayed it an entire year because it needed work, when in the most part, it sounds exactly the same as last year. What have they been doing for a year, because it sounds like they’ve been making it worse.
Nonetheless, I’ll get the service and we’ll see, I’m kinda excited for it because it still has things I’m interested in, however for most.. and I mean for most:
It sounds really bad!
What are other people’s thoughts, will you be getting the online service?
I’ll try it out and post my thoughts next week about it. Maybe it’s better than it sounds, or maybe they improve it upon release or a few weeks into release.. who knows? But they’ll need to improve it soon or people make start making a different kind of ‘Switch’.
Second Image: Courtesy of Youtube