Nintendo has historically been known as the greatest video game company out there. Certainly they have a lot of great titles. The consistency and unchanging nature of their games is part of why they’re an easy pick for starting someone off on their first console. You know what to expect and the games are pretty high quality. That being said, they have their share of weaknesses though. A big one if their online services. For years Nintendo has lagged behind the other companies. At least they had the excuse that their online product as free though. Now you do have to pay for it so that makes the issue all that much worse. Let’s look at 5 things they can do to fix their online.
1. Make it Free
This is the most unlikely option of course but it is one that would solve a lot of the issues. The online would be terrible compared to the competitors but since you wouldn’t be paying for it you probably wouldn’t mind a whole lot. When things are free you tend to cut them some slack because you aren’t losing anything. Nintendo also doesn’t really need to charge for much. They opted not to go for dedicated servers anyway and their NES/SNES Online catalogue is basically just a bunch of emulators that anyone can download for free online. As such we know that the space for these is tiny and it doesn’t take a whole lot of power to have them online. Still let’s look at more realistic options.
2. Use dedicated servers
This is an easy one. If you boot up a Sony or Microsoft game right now and head online you can expect to have close to 0 lag in your matches. That’s because the connection isn’t peer to peer so even if one of your opponents has a terrible online system it won’t affect your match. Compare that to Nintendo where if one player has a bad connection it will mess it up for everyone. That’s pretty inexcusable. Lag completely ruins an online experience when it’s at its worse. Input Lag can be crazy to deal with and normal lag is just as bad when it comes to trying to nail a solid combo. Nintendo’s really got to shape up in this area because it is very noticeable at this point.
3. Time to add GameCube Online
This is a big one, the GameCube needs to be online. There are too many crazy amazing games for them to not be here. I’m guessing Nintendo wants to make us pay 60 bucks for an HD Remaster but that’s not the play here. Putting these games online would be hype and it’s not like Nintendo would have time to port all of them either way. Give us a few big ones like Mario Sunshine and Melee. If those are going to get remasters then give us Pokémon Colosseum and F Zero GX. Either way GameCube games are a huge jump from the level of quality and replay value of the current titles. The NES and SNES games are fun to be sure but they are also very short. Adding in GameCube will really be the ticket to get people buying the online pass. I dare say you could even skip N64 and go back to it later. GameCube is what the people want and trust me, it would definitely go a long ways to getting Nintendo’s online into the big leagues.
4. Time to get Leaderboards
This is a big one that all of the other consoles have. We need some kind of online rankings here. Whether it is through trophies, achievements, or something else it would be immensely helpful. It would also be an extra incentive to get online if that was the only way to see your position. It’s always fun to try and get everything so this would also greatly help the replay value of all the Switch games. It’s never too late to start and this would be a good addition. It’s also worth adding into individual games like Super Smash Bros should have had this at launch along with a few other online features. This editorial is more about general Nintendo Online though so I’m just giving it a small nod here. In general the Switch needs some kind of ranking system.
5. Miscellaneous free stuff
Finally, we just need more freebies. Xbox and PlayStation give you random AAA games for free at times, backgrounds, and other perks. When’s the last time you got anything for free from Nintendo? At best they give you times freebies like ARMS and Mario Tennis which you get to play for a little while and then it’s gone forever. That barely counts as a freebie because you can’t keep it. No sir, I want a freebie that I can actually keep for the long haul. Even small things like new layouts, Switch backgrounds, emblems, etc would go a long way. You need to give people something, by not giving any freebies it definitely makes us feel bad. It’s like Nintendo just isn’t looking out for us. It wouldn’t take very long at all. Nintendo’s track record with reward programs is pretty bad though, I still remember how bad Club Nintendo’s rewards were for a long time.
In short, Nintendo needs to shape up on their online offerings. It is totally within their ability to do so if they really apply themselves. Until they fix these things they will continue to get mocked by everyone all the time. Even recently Super Smash couldn’t make the cut for EVO in large part because the servers are so bad. Make no mistake, that’s absolutely the big reason why it was cut. It’s a shame because it would have been good for everyone to have seen the state it is in on the big screen. That would have been the best chance to get Nintendo to change something ASAP. That boat has sailed though.