I love Nintendo as much as anyone else. I have a great appreciation for the games they make and recognize their accomplishments over the years as unparalleled by any other company in the games industry. But while I will always be a fan of their various franchises and game systems they release, the company doesn’t always get things right and occasionally comes up short in one way or another. That in of itself is a long discussion about the oldest company in the industry, but there’s an even bigger issue at hand that is worth exploring and being honest with ourselves about. The majority of Nintendo fans and critics always tend to give Nintendo a favorable pass, even when the company they love is doing things very wrong.
The latest and biggest example of this kind of mentality stems from the introduction of the Nintendo online service for Nintendo Switch. When compared point-for-point to other online services that have been around for a long time, Nintendo’s approach to online gaming is very poor. No matter how hard everyone may say that the cost of the service is justification for everything else, the service is simply nowhere near as well-thought-out or designed as good compared to what you have elsewhere.
There is a lot that more people should be worried about with this service. Issues about cloud saves for all Switch games, losing access to downloaded NES titles when offline, a terrible idea for voice chat done through a separate mobile app instead of the Switch console itself, and more are only part of the larger problem. The troubling part is how the majority of Nintendo fans seem to be passively OK with how things are being done for the service, rather than demanding more from the company they care about.
This is nothing new, as many critics tend to be (subjectively) lenient with the majority of big Nintendo releases. Good quality is always praised but critique isn’t always given but overlooked. This is not always the same for other game companies in the industry, be it game releases or other services. The problem here and how it relates to Nintendo’s newest online service is the unwillingness of everyone to be honestly critical about what is being offered. The common excuse is that the service is just starting out or they can adjust and update over time, but so what?
The hard truth is online gaming services like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live already have a better foundation and offer more to everyone that subscribes to their respective services. The blueprint for how to make an online gaming service work has already been around for many years. Nintendo could have borrowed ideas from them and adopted everything into their Nintendo branded model. However, this is clearly not the case and is very apparent. Why so many are choosing to overlook this is both confusing and borderline ignorant bias.
I remember this same kind of attitude being around about Nintendo for things like the Nintendo 64, the GameCube, and even stuff like achievements and trophies being absent on a Nintendo platform. And while all of those did have their great points and positives for being, a lot of the shortcomings and loses for Nintendo were pacified by fans who did not want to demand more from the company they love.
It’s this kind of mentality that keeps a company stuck in their ways and late with the times. As many times as we’ve seen the phrase “The Nintendo Difference”, it has seemingly taken a whole new meaning these days. An unfortunately, nobody really wants to address it.
Like I said before and I’ll say it again, I love Nintendo and the games they create. But the Nintendo Switch online service is not good with how it’s being offered, and many people are being not being honest with themselves about it. What you pay should always reciprocate what you get when receiving a service, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise when there’s already something better offered elsewhere. You can demand better without losing your love for the company you support. Whether that means speaking with your wallet or not is ultimately up to you, everyone goes about it in a different way. But if we’re all willing to be honest about Nintendo, then we all need to stop giving excuses for them.
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