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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Nintendo Switch Online can improve

So Nintendo Switch's new Online just went live yesterday and first impressions are... ehh. The NES app is nice, even with a limited selection at the moment, and the ability to voice chat with strangers is a welcome change for some games. But there's still plenty of the typical Nintendo Jank we've come to expect at this point like no messaging system, or the fact that voice chatting is still limited. That being said, it's only the first week, and unlike Nintendo's past efforts, a lot of problems here can be fixed with continuous updates as opposed to a massive overhaul of the system. This service can be good not just functional like it is at the moment, but it needs several key improvements for it to even get to 2013 standards. Also, I don't want to hear stupid shit like "kill the app", "make a PSN clone" because those are not solutions and have been beaten to death at this point. If Nintendo wants to do their thing fine, but they need to do it better than what they're currently doing at the moment. So let's offer some real solutions and ideas.

* If you're sticking with the voice chat app, then allow us to output the chat to the console - having two separate audio feeds from two different speakers can be disorienting for some, so giving us the option to consolidate both the game and chat audio to the system would be one good improvement. Another would be to let us use a different chat input through the console as well like ya know, an actual headset for those that want it? I actually get why Nintendo went with a phone app for voice chat. They historically preferred open mic solutions so everyone in the room can chat, and from what I've heard, services like Discord are really popular in Japan, so that factored in their decision when focus-testing it. While that may be good in some scenarios, not everyone likes the open mic lifestyle, so having some way to use a separate chat input through the console while still controlling it through the app, would be a fair compromise for those who want more conventional voice chat. 

* Some neat novelty features for Nintendo fun - Making sure Nintendo has a basic, but modern service that offers a more substantial value is key, but that doesn't mean you can't have a little fun with the service either. I'd welcome any Nintendo-like novelty features to the service when added. Stuff like Voice changing filters in voice chat, and others would be nice as long as they're well implemented, and would add some personality to the features. 

* Ongoing NES games are nice, but SNES and co. needs to arrive soon - I think starting off with NES games is a smart move on Nintendo's part. It allows them to focus on building up a sizable library for one console, before moving on to the next, and the Switch to a Netflix style model is a preferable IMO as paying $5 for an NES game is not going to fly these days. But even I don't want just all NES all the time. We need other systems to arrive in the future, you could get away with making them free for subscribers, but it'd be far more manageable and more profitable to offer them as add-on purchases. Continue the Netflix style model, but try and focus on one system at a time. Let it build up a library of games that's big enough, and once it's got a sizable library, roll out the next platform, rinse and repeat for each year. Considering Nintendo's all about speed with the Switch, GameCube and Wii games are a bit of a stickler as they would take longer to load probably, so you're better off going the remaster route for these games. 

* Special Offers need to be more than Controllers and occasional discounts - According to Nintendo, Special Offers will consist of exclusive digital and physical rewards for subscribers that are either free, or available for purchase, like the NES Controllers. This is actually a big deal, as we now have a legit Club Nintendo successor that My Nintendo failed to be. That's why I don't just want classic controllers and lazy discounts, I want to see free games, digital items, physical toys, and other neat novelties on offer. This is actually the most exciting part of the service, and one that could push me to subscribe if they get some cool stuff. 

* Some kind of text messaging system please - Seriously, it's 2018 and we don't have any legit SMS feature on the Switch? This doesn't have to be part of the subscription service, just some way to text message friends through the system and app. 

So that's what I think the service needs if Nintendo wants this to be a big part of the Switch. As I said, unlike Nintendo's past efforts, this service has the potential to be good, great even. At the moment, it's just functional, and for $20 a year, I don't want functional, I want something that I'd gladly pay that annual fee for. Nintendo in recent years has put a bigger focus on responding to consumer feedback more quickly, many changes made to games and the Switch itself were the result of criticism from consumers about previous iterations. So they left the door open to improvement, now its up to them to follow through, and being a paid service should put more pressure on them to improve, otherwise they risk loosing subscribers.

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Or, you know, they could just not take away an essential feature and hold it hostage.

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vivster said:
Or, you know, they could just not take away an essential feature and hold it hostage.

I prefer Free online myself, but paid services are the standard on consoles now. There's a reason Sony adopted it with the PS4. 

yeah, people say the voice chat app is terrible, but ask yourself this - have you actually tried it? because i have and honestly it isnt that bad. but if you still dont want to use it, its possible to just plug in a headset and go to town. Fortnite does this, so it cant be too hard for the rest of developers to figure it out too.

it isnt even a matter of if later consoles will come to Nintendo Switch Online, its a matter of when. it appears as though a ton of resources from the Classic Edition consoles have been used to make the NES app, so SNES wont be too far behind. the later consoles will no doubt follow soon after. just be patient

you really want a proprietary messaging system? just use discord.

Well, I hope it does, because the state it is in right now isn't giving me a single good reason to even consider getting the service. Adding more platforms beyond the NES to the service would be a good start, but we'll see how that goes. Nintendo has a ridiculous amount of amazing games between the NES, SNES and N64 they could be putting on the Switch online right now, many of which have been available on previous platforms for years by this point, so not putting them in pretty much immediately makes no sense to me. Unfortunately, judging by the stupidly slow pace that Nintendo released their old games on their previous platforms I'm not getting my hopes up just yet. Maybe they'll surprise me positively this time, but we'll see.

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Yerm said:
yeah, people say the voice chat app is terrible, but ask yourself this - have you actually tried it? because i have and honestly it isnt that bad. 

This. The app was never the biggest problem here, and in fact it's possibly the aspect that the most unfairly hated because impressions from it for other games is that it works surprisingly fine. The app isn't bad in concept, we just want more versatility in how we use it. I think its just a case of it uses a phone therefore it sucks because phones are evil or some shit. 

All the fuzz about the negative features of the online is the same as the negative fuzz about the console itself - lack of games, small storage space, poor battery life - and now everyone is enjoying the console.

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SKMBlake said:
All the fuzz about the negative features of the online is the same as the negative fuzz about the console itself - lack of games, small storage space, poor battery life - and now everyone is enjoying the console.

Well considering Nintendo's previous track record with online, you couldn't blame people for being cynical. But I do feel that there's much more room open to improvement this time around, as opposed to the past. With Nintendo's past services, the problems came down to hardware limitations and fundamental design choices, so what you saw was what you got. This time, all the problems here can be easily fixed or improved upon. 

Yes the Online service needs built in messaging, and it obviously the system should have built in voice chat but that isn't gonna happen. And moving to a subscription service for the VC is much better than the old way of doing VC. I'm sure they will add a bunch more games and systems, they need to do that in the next few months. Hopefully they are adding games regularly and at least SNES and N64 games are online by the spring.

I see only two actual improvements in OP that are not obvious "coming soon" features.

These items are not really needing of being called out as they are good now and have some rather obvious future use:
1. NES will not be the only system. There will surely be additional apps for other consoles like they have done for VC and the Classic physical consoles.
2. Club Nintendo already is pretty awesome now if you buy digital. The gold coins are a great concept that can easily save you a consistently on any games you buy. I love this. I can't wait to see how they offer additional features in the new Special Offers section. I'll be buying the wireless controllers.

This is where the core of your discussion lies:
The voice chat is something that I expect to improve but don't hate the current solution. I hated the initial vision where you had wires between console, phone, head. That was stupid. However, I don't hate the idea of having bluetooth (or wired) headset connected to phone and separate console in my hands. We must remember that Switch is both a home and portable console. So any solution should be best usable in both scenarios. I think with all of the chat apps available (discord, facebook, snap, hangouts, facetime, group calls, etc), it makes a lot of sense to allow your smartphone or tablet (something pretty much anyone has at this point) be the main driver for your game focused voice chat. This is really the only solution that would work well and quickly for any company. Forcing you to only use the functionality via the console would be a limiting experience in the long run. I think Nintendo is actually ahead of the competition on this right now. Yes, it is brand new and will take time to fully mature, but as it does, we will see MSony mirroring this option. Granted it sorta is already there as you can just use discord or other stuff separately now, but Nintendo has it interwoven with the game now. What we do need to see is Nintendo beef up the functionality to combine the in-game sound with voice. That is an excellent call-out that they will want to achieve to make the experience better.

SMS texting is a no go for me. Keep it out.
In a day and age where snap is the preferred messaging service, I don't see this being a thing for very much longer. I'm surprised you even brought it up. Text works well on PC because of a keyboard. But in consoles, text sucks and is naturally limiting. Focus on building voice and adding in quick simple options for things like emoticons, stickers, etc. That is where you'll find love for Nintendo's typical quirkiness. It would also allow a bridge between the image capture features of the Switch and hopefully a return of the Miiverse drawing / stamps of some form.

One feature missing you didn't call out is how the app won't work behind other apps, closed, etc. At least this was an issue previously... maybe its fixed in the new version, I didn't test yet. I should be able to setup my group who can all be playing whatever or maybe not even playing or even near their switch (big bonus for Nintendo solution vs MSony) and toss my phone in my pocket while wearing my bluetooth headset which controls the volume, muting, etc. That is where it needs to go.