6 Nintendo Switch Game & Hardware Issues You Should Care About

Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch is a great console, but it still has problems. Will third-party woes, small storage and expensive games hurt the console in the years to come? Nintendo Switch is available for $299. Nintendo

Nintendo Switch is setting sales records because it’s a great console, but, six months removed from launch there are some serious game and hardware issues nobody seems to be talking about. Here are six big points of concern to keep in mind as you watch today’s Nintendo Direct, and in the months ahead.

1) Lackluster Port Jobs: It’s great to see games like NBA Playgrounds, Overcooked and Rayman Legends finding a home on Switch. However, it’s no secret these three titles (and quite a few others) exemplify an unfortunate trend of released Switch ports that don’t seem to perform as well as they should. Between odd bugs, framerate drops and long load times, it’s hard to feel confident that a Switch port is going to arrive in the condition it should.

Maybe it’s the lack of powerful hardware or maybe some development teams are farming their Switch ports to less experienced companies. Regardless, when a game doesn’t run well on Switch the console’s portable benefits are meaningless. First-party titles perform great, but some third-party studios need to put a little more effort into polishing their wares.

2) No Serious Third-Party Support: Third-party support for Switch is growing, but it’s still not where it should be. While we’re super excited to see publishers like 2K putting tons of weight behind their Switch lineups, EA’s version of FIFA is still gimped. There’s also the fact that Switch is slowly becoming a retirement home for far too many old experiences.

It’s nice to have games like Street Fighter II, LA Noire and Skyrim on the go, but none of them are new. It’s the same brand of tepid third-party support offered months after the Wii U’s launch. A lot of fans are celebrating these last-gen refreshes as if major studios are finally on board with this console. They’re not. Until you start seeing Call Of Duty and Assassin’s Creed on Switch, Nintendo still has the same relationship problems it’s always had. The only difference is indies seem to be filling the gap this time around.

3) A Fairly Uncertain Software Future: Nintendo had no choice but to frontload the Switch launch with Mario and Zelda if it wanted to push some serious units this fall, but, with that strong start, there’s some quiet concerns about where the software library goes from here.

super mario maker items
The items in Super Mario Maker seem endless Photo: Nintendo

Yes you’ve got Yoshi, Kirby, and the assumed ports of Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario Maker, but is that really enough to carry a full year? Realistically, we probably won’t hear much from Metroid or Pokémon till 2019 or beyond. There are lots of holes that need to be plugged until then, and most of your options aren’t huge system sellers.

4) Online Is Still Trash: We all hoped Nintendo would learn its lesson and start taking internet connectivity seriously with the launch of the Switch. So far, however, there’s little sign of improvement. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe lobbies are barely functional, the smartphone voice chat solution is as messy as everyone assumed and Splatoon 2 doesn’t even let you change weapons while in a lobby.

Nintendo plans to start charging for online access sometime next year, but, if this is the way the service is going to operate, that’s simply not acceptable. Give us as many free classic games as you want. It won’t hide the fact that 2017’s Nintendo is still as tone deaf to our online concerns as ever.

5) Those Cart Costs: Another longtime bad habit being replicated by the Switch is the high cost of Nintendo’s proprietary cartridges. Because the medium is more expensive than Blu-ray for third-party developers, we’ve seen physical versions of Rime and LA Noire costing $10 more on Switch than their PS4 or Xbox One counterparts.

That’s not a good look. Especially for the moms and dads less inclined to use digital storefronts, they’re not going to like investing in a console where games are occasionally more expensive. Developers could circumvent this by using a smaller cart, but then you risk long load times from compression or requiring an SD Card. Portables need cartridges, but Nintendo needs to learn how to make them cheaper if it wants help from developers.   

6) The SD Card Thing Isn’t Great: The very latest Switch controversy revolves around certain titles, like NBA 2K18, requiring an SD Card to fully enjoy. Make no mistake, we lived through the era of having to buy memory cards for PSOne and PS2, but forcing an additional purchase is still not cool no matter how you slice it.

This argument is different in 2017 because we now have external SSD options that would’ve been big enough to solve this problem completely. It makes sense that new titles might eventually outgrow older-generation hardware, but this isn’t something we should be seeing less than a year from release. It proves Nintendo made a mistake with its default SSD choice.

That’s not to say the Switch is doomed, but these six issues will only become more prevalent as the hardware ages. Do you think these game and hardware issues are hurting the Switch? Tell us in the comments section!

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