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.