While everyone is swept up in excitement for the new console release, the Switch as it stands today is a relatively barebones gaming platform, even compared to other Nintendo systems. Nintendo has many options to catch up to other systems and forge their own path as the TV companion. Let’s take a look at some features Nintendo should roll out as soon as possible in order to flesh out the Switch.
Internet Browser and Video Applications
It is 2017, the lack of video applications, or an internet browser, is a serious oversight. In the era of cord-cutting and the ever growing reliance on streaming media, it is not a point of pride for a system to have video applications, it is a strike against the system for lacking it. Netflix and YouTube have been available on every Nintendo system since the Wii, including the handheld Nintendo 3DS line, so the lack of an announcement for the Switch is baffling.
The Internet browser for the Wii U is one of the best gaming browsers available on the market. The Wii U had a full-fledged HTML5 browser that utilized the GamePad touchscreen in addition to traditional controllers, so it is completely within the realm of rational thinking that Nintendo should be able to release a fully-featured browser for the Switch. A Switch browser could utilize the capacitive touch screen in handheld mode and traditional controls in console mode and still be the best browser on any gaming platform.
The Activity Log is one of the most overlooked, yet useful, features on modern Nintendo consoles. Modern consoles will show you your most recently played games in a descending order of recent play. Nintendo systems since the Wii will show you every game or application you have ever opened, how frequently, and the duration of time.
This will allow you to know exactly which games you are playing and for how long. It could let you know that you didn’t actually play Pokemon for “hundreds of hours”, but only 50. If you’re trying to figure out how many hours it took you to beat a game without a viewable timer, it is available for you right there. This feature is not only useful for the hardest of hardcore, but for parents, too. Is little Timmy not supposed to play a game for longer than 2 hours at a time? You can check and see his average playtime. This may be a niche feature, but it has been a unique mainstay of Nintendo consoles and should make a comeback for the Switch.
Thanks to Nicalis, we already know that there will at least be a dark mode, but Nintendo should take that a step further. On the 3DS, Nintendo has two separate shops dedicated to customizing your home screen – Nintendo Badge Arcade and Nintendo 3DS Theme Shop. Not only can you download or purchase a custom theme, you can further customize it with badges representing a variety of game characters.
We know relatively little about the Switch OS, so for all we know it could be launching with multiple theming options. However, if the Wii and Wii U are any indicators, Nintendo has been more hesitant to bring customized theming to their home consoles. This could be a big opportunity for Nintendo to introduce alternative monetization schemes for their franchises or promote lesser known franchises that they revive.
When Nintendo revealed the Joy-Cons can be removed, gamers around the world had a nearly identical thought – what custom Joy-Cons will they release? Nintendo has never been afraid of a little color going so far as to launch mismatching neon colored Joy-Cons at launch.
While it is only a matter of time before we get a golden Legend of Zelda set, a deep red Mario set, or a green Luigi set, Nintendo can take this idea a few steps further. The left Joy-Con does not have a traditional D-Pad, why not sell an optional Joy-Con with a D-Pad to aid in playing traditional fighting and platforming games on the go? Nintendo could release a Gamecube themed Joy-Con set with analog triggers to allow for a Gamecube Virtual console. The possibilities are nearly limitless, it’s up to Nintendo to live up the possibilities.
The Wii U launched with the promise of a new dimension of gaming – asymmetrical gameplay. In reality, few games took advantage of this unique feature as well as launch titles Nintendoland and Zombi U. Zombi U had one of the most unique multiplayer modes in console gaming – King of the Zombies. King of the Zombies was a unique twist on tower defense games where both players attempt to capture flags while one player controlled the spawning of zombies and the other player tried to kill them.
This was only possible on the Wii U due to having two screens available for gameplay, a feature that returns to the Switch with the ability to connect multiple Switch consoles to one another. So far no announced games take advantage of this possibility, but Nintendo is known to focus on features of a system other companies overlook. Could we see a future mini game similar to Mario Chase on the Switch? Only time will tell, but the Switch leaves the door open.
Bonus: Gamecube Controller Support
There is one controller that Nintendo fans hold as supreme – the Gamecube controller. For 16 years Nintendo home consoles have had some form of support for this controller, a feat that no other console controller can claim. While it may be time for diehard Super Smash Bros. fans to move on to a new method of control, the preferred controller for professional and competitive play remains to be the Gamecube controller.
With Super Smash Bros. being the most prominent Nintendo eSport title and Nintendo’s increasing focus on eSports, it would not be surprising to see some form of Gamecube controller support alongside a Super Smash Bros. launch. As discussed above, this could come in the form of custom Joycons, or it could be its own adapter ala the Wii U.
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