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Nintendo Switch Online
Iwould never make it far in the field of advertising or marketing. I’m too honest. Take Nintendo for instance. Of course, I’m referring to the online play part of their new subscription service. “Enjoy competitive and co-operative online gaming with friends ...” says the article on the Switch news feed.
Oh, you mean that thing we’ve been able to do for free for the last year and a half? And now we have to pay for it? Thanks! What a great feature! I can totally see why you put that at the top of your list. It mystifies me how whoever wrote that could pretend that a previously free service (which was probably a selling point for the Switch) becoming subscription based is a good thing. Perhaps it becomes easier after you’ve completed your marketing degree and sold your soul to Satan.
But fear not! Nintendo is offering fair compensation in exchange. Now you can upload your game save data to the Nintendo cloud, so if you get a new Switch for some reason, your precious saved data will still be on your account. Nifty, I suppose. I don’t use cloud saves on any machine myself because they’re just videogame saves, I don’t care that much — but if your saved games matter enough to you to warrant insurance, here you go. Apparently it doesn't work with some games, though, because you can use the uploading and downloading of data to cheat. Nintendo is still defending that decision online.
Here’s another great feature. While playing Switch games online — which, I remind you, you did for free until recently — you probably lamented that you couldn’t speak to your teammates or make rude comments about the mothers of your opponents because the Switch lacks not only the software but the hardware to do this. Nintendo’s solution was to release a smartphone app, which you link to your Nintendo account. Great! Except the app is trash. So far Splatoon 2 is the only game supported — a game I don’t own and don’t like — and you can only chat once you’re in the game. I mean, why would you want to chat to a friend who’s playing a different game like you can on the PS4 of Xbox One? So I didn’t bother downloading the app, but I watched some tutorial videos. Apparently the app has to be active and on screen at all times, you can’t minimise it or turn off the screen. I have an old iPhone 6 that someone gave me. It had the battery life of a mayfly when it was new, and age hasn’t helped. From a full charge I’d get about 25 minutes with the screen and wi-fi chugging away, and 25 minutes is not a gaming session. It’s like... a 10th.
One of the other listed features is the exclusive discounts NSO members will receive on the Nintendo eShop. It should offset what you paid for your subscription, hopefully. I’m curious to see if Nintendo will shave more than a few pennies off their precious firstparty titles for subscribers. Up to now, I’ve seen discounts of 50% and more on indie and third-party titles, but if you want a Mario or Zelda game, you’ll get 10% off and like it! What do you think this is, a charity? Quality costs.
The last feature, which I’ll mention in its own review, is the Nintendo Entertainment System app for the Switch — a collection of 20 ancient games (with more coming) of little or no value. Would it be churlish of me to mention that for a PlayStation Plus membership you frequently get big AAA games for free every month? It would? Good, we’ll go with that then. Now maybe Nintendo will give away free AAA games to subscribers in the future, I don’t know — but you’d think they’d want to open strong with more than a small collection of 30-year-old NES titles, right? LS