Since its release in 2017, the Nintendo Switch has delighted millions of people with its expansive library of games accompanied by its ability to be used as both a handheld and home console. From the newest entries in the Legend of Zelda and Super Mario series to the third-party offerings of Diablo III, Doom, and more, the Switch has undoubtedly changed up a lot compared to what Nintendo had been doing beforehand.
However, the Switch itself has mostly stayed the same since it released. The home screen is the same as it was when the console launched, and although the 10.0.0 update brought button remapping and a way to transfer games between storage systems, we would like to see some new aspects to the hybrid console.
Here are the five features we want to see brought to the Nintendo Switch in its next update.
Voice chat and messages
If we wanted, this entire list could be dedicated to improving the online aspect of the Switch and still lackluster Nintendo Switch Online app. To make this more interesting, we will keep it to one entry, though (also let’s be serious, it could be another decade before online play is anywhere close to being suitable).
The fact that voice chat in first-party games is still exclusive to the Switch Online app is abysmal. The app is still underperforming with its communication, frequently cutting out and losing connection, and is still awkward to set up on a phone while you are playing on the console. Fortnite has already proven that the Switch is more than capable of having voice chat in the actual console.
It is time for Nintendo to finally get on board and use the Nintendo Switch Online app for a secondary device. It would be perfect for sending messages to friends in, but in 2020, there is still no way to send someone on your friends list a message asking if they want to play. Nintendo has always been behind Sony and Microsoft in virtually every way in network capabilities, but that is ridiculous. The Switch app is the best way to send typed messages in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, why can’t they look at that situation and carry it over for the app to have group message boards? We know, “because it’s Nintendo,” but that argument has long been exhausted. It is way past time for Nintendo to get with the times.
One of the more requested features for the Nintendo Switch since its launch is themes. This is a simpler addition that is baffling not to have made its way to the console yet. As of this writing, there are two themes to choose from: basic white and basic black. That’s it.
In the grand scheme of things, that’s fine. The problem is that the Nintendo 3DS had a list of themes to choose from, often being themed around Nintendo’s gold mine of intellectual properties. Nintendo is consistent in regularly updating profile pictures for avatars to include characters from the latest first-party releases. If they could start putting out themes for Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Animal Crossing, and Pokemon Sword & Shield, people would eat them up right away. If anything, let us set screenshots we take with the capture button as backgrounds.
Another highly requested featured for the Nintendo Switch is folders. As things are now, the Switch can be an unorganized mess of games. The home menu only allows you to see your most recently played games. To see the rest of your library, you need to scroll through a list of games to open All Software, which brings up everything installed on the Switch. There are sorting options like total playtime, alphabetically, and even by publisher, confusingly.
If Nintendo would implement folders, you could set a folder with your favorite games to always be visible on the home menu. Quick access to getting into your most beloved games without having to go on an expedition would be a welcome addition.
Friends system overhaul
The friends system has been a common gripe for Nintendo console owners since it was first implemented. Friend codes have always been a hassle to input to add people to your list, but other issues need to be sorted as well. For example, online play invites only support certain games. That is unacceptable for an online gaming platform.
The entire friends system needs to be overhauled. This could include messages like stated above, but we need more accessible ways to connect with people. A while ago, Nintendo added the ability to add friends that you recently played with, which is a good baby step, but there is no way to find their name in-game and quickly add them there. It’s a hassle of a process to back out of the game and either input a 12-digit code or find the user in a long list of recently played with people.
There are several ways Nintendo could improve the friends system on Switch. A glance at what Sony and Microsoft have done for well over a decade could point them in the right direction. They have made improvements since the days of the Wii, but it is merely not good enough.
Finally, the Nintendo eShop is in drastic need of improvements. For starters, it needs a rating system on games in the store. Nintendo has long been a big proponent of security and keeping their family-friendly appearance intact (this is a big reason why the friends system mentioned above is so cumbersome). Once you look at the eShop, though, that seems to go out the door. There are so many low-quality games on there from people trying to make a quick buck off of the booming success of the Switch as a console. A simple rating system (with comments) makes the eShop a much safer place for people not to go wasting their money on garbage.
Another update needed for the store is shopping carts to purchase multiple games or DLC at once. As of now, you can only buy one at a time, and while not the worst thing in the world, if there are multiple items you want to add to your Switch, streamlining the experience is highly preferable. Wishlists are there, which is an excellent addition to put something on the shelf where you can look at and decide to purchase down the line, but getting some kind of update when titles on your wish list go on sale would be a massive inclusion for Nintendo. As things are now on the Nintendo Switch eShop, things get lost very easily. It’s time for Nintendo to put in steps to let the treasures rise to the top and be more apparent for consumers while the trash can sink to the bottom and be lost.