Nintendo Online is a very poorly designed service, and it’s been highly criticized for its lack of features. This article will attempt to explain all the problems with Nintendo Online in detail.
“Why is Nintendo Online so expensive”
The “why is nintendo online so expensive” is a question that many people have been asking for quite some time. The answer to this question has not yet been answered, but there are many theories as to why Nintendo’s online service is so expensive.
As a Nintendo fan, I’m sure you’ve pondered how a firm that prides itself on its wonderful games could have such a bad online system. This perplexed me, so I turned to the internet in quest of an explanation.
Nintendo Online is awful because the company prioritizes the single-player experience and considers multiplayer as an afterthought. Nintendo also costs $20 for a substandard service when compared to the PS4/Xbox One, has dropped the virtual console, and lacks dedicated servers.
I’ll go through everything in detail, but it’s fascinating to think about how a firm that makes some of the finest video games in the world could have such a bad online service.
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Nintendo’s Multiplayer Is Second to Single-Player.
One argument is Nintendo prides itself so much on it’s fantastic singleplayer AAA exclusives like Zelda & Mario, it does not have the resources to create an enjoyable multiplayer experience.
This is the argument put out by gaming YouTuber Escapist, and you can see his video below, however I disagree with him.
He claims that since Nintendo has a long gaming history of 30 years, it wants to safeguard its reputation, hence some titles like Mario Maker 2 may only be played with randoms and not with friends.
This is a Nintendo quotation.
You can’t make online buddy lobbies right now in the game. You can only play with randoms online.
Is this, however, correct? Not in the least. Super Mario Maker 2 was recently upgraded to add buddy matching. Nintendo’s admission of their error demonstrates their utter ineptitude. Why wasn’t this a part of the original game?
Nintendo, in my opinion, is not just uninterested in online gaming, but also inept. Nintendo’s online services are inferior to those of the PS3/Xbox 360, which says it all. Nowhere is this more evident than in the fact that the opportunity to play with your friends rather than randoms was only available as a patch and was not included in the vanilla game!
‘Voice Chat’ on Nintendo’s Online Platform Is Horrible
To connect with your friends through voice chat or text messaging on Nintendo Online, you must first download an app to your phone. In contrast, even the Xbox 360, which is 14 years old, has built-in voice party chat! Worse, you can’t even ask your buddies to play with you! It beggars belief that the Switch does not have a comparable party system to the Playstation or Xbox.
This is further shown by the fact that Fortnite for the Switch has built-in voice chat and enables you to invite your pals to a session if they’re also playing Fortnite.
Discord is a third-party gaming communication software, and its CEO, Jason Citron, told Nintendo Life that he is a great admirer of the platform and is eager to start working on a Discord Switch application.
The Switch has crossed my mind. I’ve spent hundreds of hours of my life in front of that little screen. We’d be delighted to speak with Nintendo about powering their voice chat.
CEO of Discord, Jason Citron
So, although a Discord app for the Switch is possible, I don’t think it will happen. This emphasizes Nintendo’s ineptness even more. In certain titles, such as Super Mario Kart 8, voice chat enables you to summon random players, while in others, the capability is completely absent.
The greater issue is why wouldn’t Nintendo do its hardest to promote a Discord app from the Switch if the company’s CEO was reported in an interview indicating he would cooperate with Nintendo? Voice chat would significantly enhance the Switch’s online experience, and every Switch owner would be grateful.
Instead, Nintendo chooses to persist in a smartphone app that is as ridiculous as it is convoluted and highlights what a backwards stance the company takes towards something that Microsoft & Sony have offered for more than 14 years.
Nintendo’s Online Servers are a complete disaster.
In the days of the Wii & Wii U, you could complain about the terrible server connection but at least it was free, now your paying $20 annually for a terrible matchmaking experience, this is not good.
The majority of Switch games use peer-to-peer servers rather than dedicated servers (read more about the differences here), however with peer-to-peer, your internet connection is dependant on others’ connections, while dedicated servers aren’t.
Even if your connection is excellent, if someone has a bad connection, it will destroy everything for everyone. When I first started playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, I was often disconnected before finding a match, and when I did, the latency was so awful that it was unplayable.
This much improved once I acquired an ethernet connection for my Switch, which you can get here. Because of Nintendo’s servers, it is absolutely necessary to play games online. Only a handful Switch games enable dedicated servers, which should be made necessary.
Third-party games with dedicated servers work fantastic for the Switch such as Rocket League & Fortnite which is why it is utterly baffling why Nintendo doesn’t change all its servers into dedicated servers. Splatoon 2 the biggest online Switch game does not have dedicated servers and it suffers considerable, We will return to Splatoon 2 as Nintendo’s treatment of it perfectly showcase all its failings as a company.
Nintendo’s Online Cloud Saves Are Terribly Implemented
When your game progress is stored to a cloud system rather than directly to your console, it is referred to as cloud saving. This is useful since you wouldn’t want those 100+ hours of Breath Of The Wild to vanish if your console was lost or stolen, would you? The problem isn’t with the internet functions themselves, but with how Nintendo handles them.
Firstly, cloud saves ludicrously are not for every game like Xbox & PS4 and even games that desperately need it like Splatoon 2 don’t have it on the grounds of unfair advantage with multiplayer. Nintendo said the following.
“Save Data Cloud backups will not be enabled in Splatoon 2 to guarantee that they cannot be utilized to improperly impact online multiplayer rankings,” it noted.
This excuse, which we anticipate from Nintendo, is illogical since many other games, such as Fornite and Apex Legends, do not have ranking difficulties and yet feature cloud saves. The problem isn’t with the subscription; it’s with Nintendo’s refusal to enable you to move your cloud saves to an external hard drive, like the PS4 does.
Previously, when your online membership was terminated, your Nintendo cloud saves were deleted! Fortunately, Nintendo has reversed their decision, and “Nintendo will enable consumers who resubscribe within 180 days to retrieve their prior Save Data Cloud backups,” according to the company.
This is a step forward for Nintendo, and it points to a better future in which the company listens to its users, similar to how Sony maintains your saves for 6 months but Microsoft keeps them forever.
Nintendo doesn’t have a virtual console.
Nintendo is adamant about piracy and the use of ROMs to simulate their products, and although Nintendo’s previous three game systems, the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS, all had a virtual console, the Switch does not. Nintendo has taken a step backwards by not using the game industry’s best back library, for which consumers would willingly pay money.
People would want to play old games on the Switch, such as Super Mario 64 Ocarina of Time or Pokemon, and carry it with them everywhere they go. The only way to play games would be to keep the system, have a game copy, and figure out a method to make the console operate with a contemporary TV/piracy, or purchase pricey second-hand games on eBay.
Nintendo could simply release all of their great games from the GameCube and beyond in an eShop for $5-$15, and I’m certain they’d earn a lot of money. However, there may not be as much financial motivation, and Nintendo understands that consumers are willing to spend $60 for a Switch version of Nintendo classics like the recent Links Awakening restoration (get it from Amazon here)
I’ve talked about it before, but it’s possible that it’s because of Nintendo’s Disney vault mindset. If they handpick the classic releases rather than let everyone to play anything on the virtual console.
Whilst Nintendo Online does offer free SNES & NES games with updated features like multiplayer and cloud saves the games are somewhat lacking and missing key releases.
The issue is whilst some of these games are fantastic they mostly apply to an older demographic, I’m 24 and my first Nintendo consoles were the Game Boy Advance & the Game Cube. So where’s my Pokemon Ruby/Saphire Super Smash Bros Melee/Star Fox Adventures/Pokemon Coliseum?
Also, you can only play SNES & NES offline for up to a week, if you do not connect to Nintendo Switch Online in that timeframe you cannot play those games online. This is silly from Nintendo especially considering the Switch is portable.
I’m not interested in the free 2-3 Nintendo online games, and it’s ridiculous for Nintendo to disregard the GameCube’s amazing gaming lineup. All of those games are really tough to play today, with the exception of purchasing old or using emulators, thus Nintendo is losing a lot of money by not having a virtual system. However, the online service would be WAY better if it began to add GameCube classics.
Nintendo Online game collection is improving over time with SNES recently being introduced. Who knows perhaps Nintendo 64 will be introduced with Gamecube afterwards. The online game service will improve overtime but it has a long way to go to even fathom to compete with services like Playstation Now & Xbox Game Pass
Only Goes So Far With Nintendo’s Online Cheap Excuse
You might argue but Nintendo Online is 1/3rd of the price as it’s competitors Playstation & Microsoft so it makes sense how poor the service is, this is correct somewhat but fails in other aspects.
Nintendo Online was free like the Wii/Wii U days before it became a paid subscription in 2018 just like it’s competitors Playstation & Xbox. The issue is with the current state now is more or less the same as when it was a free service years ago with some minor alterations.
How is it possible?
Even if half of Nintendo’s 10 million users paid the normal $20 monthly, that’s $20000000! That’s a ridiculous amount of money for Nintendo not to have put at least part of it back into the online infrastructure, which they haven’t done so far.
AAA Nintendo exclusives like Splatoon 2 still lack fundamental online capabilities that you pay for, such as Cloud saves, while titles like Super Smash Bros Ultimate suffer from unacceptable slowness that completely degrades the online experience.
Exactly why are Nintendos own servers so poor? Third-party titles like Fortnite & Rocket League work perfectly with dedicated servers and it is unthinkable why Nintendo has not made dedicated servers across all it’s multiplayer experiences as it would solve a lot of issues players have with the company.
YouTubers like InfernoPlus have even created counterfeit Nintendo games that work flawlessly! In the video below, you can see it in action, so why couldn’t Nintendo do the same with all those bags of cash?
Whilst both Playstation & Microsoft online subscriptions are three times the cost at $59.99 they easily are three times the value. Microsofts “Games With Gold” and PS+ offer monthly free releases some of which are fantastic AAA exclusives which the Switches free decades-old SNES & NES games cannot compete with.
Sony & Microsoft also offer social media like game community hubs which the Switch lacks. Xbox live allows exchanging voice and text messages with your friend lists, party chat for friends and even video chat using Skype or Connect, PS4 has all these features except video chat.
Each console hub provides dedicated community hubs for each game, enabling gamers to quickly contribute videos and photographs for their favorite games, as well as register for online competitions using the service in certain instances.
And then you have Nintendo Online where you need to download an application on your phone to have voice chat in games when the console has a built-in Microphone port! In terms of a gaming hub, Nintendo is so far behind it is beyond comparison. Xbox 360 & PS3 have far superior online experiences and they are 14-year-old systems which say it all.
Conclusion on Why Is Nintendo Online So Bad
Would I say Nintendo Online is worthwhile in the end? I go into further depth here, but if you want to play online and are interested in the “free” SNES/NES oldies, I would still recommend it.
This does not absolve Nintendo of any responsibility for the service’s shortcomings, such as the absence of dedicated servers, insufficient cloud save support, a lack of voice chat, and, most importantly, the lack of even a simple game invitation service, which is absurd in this day and age.
Nintendo has to get their act together and take a serious look at online gaming since they are currently failing miserably. Yes, Nintendo online is horrible, but what’s unfortunate is how much BETTER it might be!
Working with Discord to address the voice chat issue, increase cloud save support, build complete dedicated servers, and offer a virtual console wouldn’t be too tough. Nintendo takes off your subscription every year, especially with the megabucks.
Nonetheless, as I discussed in this piece on why the Switch still doesn’t have Netflix, Nintendo is a unique firm that survives despite a number of its business tactics seeming totally ridiculous from the outside.
Expect none of the aforementioned improvements to be made anytime soon, if at all, and I fully expect the Nintendo Switch 2 to be released in 2023 without voice chat functionality and no option to invite your friends to a gaming session complete with friend codes, and unfortunately, you should expect the same.
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Nintendo Online is a service that Nintendo offers. It allows users to play games online with friends and other players from around the world. However, there are many problems with Nintendo Online. It has been reported that it costs $20 for a membership which is not worth it in my opinion. Reference: nintendo membership cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Nintendo online so terrible?
A: Nintendo has been historically known for their neglect to stay up-to-date with modern day technology. This is why they are behind in connectivity, online features and games as a whole.
Why is Nintendo online a thing?
Is it worth getting Switch online?
A: It is worth getting Switch online if you have a lot of friends to play with, or just enjoy playing multiplayer games.
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