Nintendo needs to get its online offerings caught up with other company’s consoles. Many Nintendo Switch owners haven’t been huge proponents of Nintendo’s online services on the handheld-console hybrid. Nevertheless, the company’s very own Shigeru Miyamoto believes that they’re not falling behind when it comes to their own online services, as well as technologies like virtual reality and cloud gaming. While the Nintendo Switch Online service is definitely a step up from what was offered through the Nintendo Wii and its successor, the Wii U, it still doesn’t really hold a candle to its competition.
Earlier this year, Nintendo introduced its first iteration of VR technology using Nintendo Labo. Switch owners can essentially make an affordable and simple VR headset using the cardboard provided in Labo. While it’s certainly a novel idea, the headset doesn’t offer nearly as compelling experiences as its competitors. The Labo VR essentially allows you to enjoy games like Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from a distance. Perhaps that’ll improve in the future, but for now, it’s not nearly as good as PS VR, Oculus, or HTC Vive.
IGN reports that in a General Meeting of Shareholders, Miyamoto contested the idea that the company has fallen behind when it comes to global trends in the video game industry like online, cloud gaming, and virtual reality. “We have not fallen behind with either VR or network services. We worked on them from the very beginning, and have been experimenting with them in a variety of ways,” Miyamoto said. He then goes on to point out that they do experiment with many of these technologies behind the scenes, but don’t put them out publicly until they’re absolutely ready. In that regard, it may seem like they’re falling behind from the consumer’s perspective.
Miyamoto then goes on to talk about cloud gaming. While he believes that it’ll certainly become more widespread in the future, there will always be a place for games that run locally on a device. Nintendo Switch Online actually offers cloud gaming to some extent with its digital NES library. Players who pay for the service have access to a wide variety of some of the retro console’s best titles for no additional cost, and the service also provides save states so they can continue their game from wherever they left off. However, fans have found issues with this, since it doesn’t offer access to previous console generations like Gamecube, SNES, or Nintendo 64. Much of Nintendo’s retro library is already available on prior consoles, but nowhere to be found on the Switch.
Nintendo still has plenty to fix with their current online service before they can even begin expanding their cloud and VR services. Multiple videos of their latest release, Super Mario Maker 2, show that the online functionality is in an incredibly rough state. Additionally, the hardcore Super Smash Bros. community widely considers the service unplayable when it comes to netplay. For a service that costs users a monthly subscription fee, it only seems natural that Nintendo buff out these issues before looking into anything else, especially cloud gaming.
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