We lauded the Nintendo Switch for its overall engaging game play and nifty hybrid design, and that remains true. However, we refrained from offering up an opinion on the console's online experience because at launch there really was not one to speak of. That is something Nintendo is working on, though in reading remarks that Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime made to Kotaku, we are bracing ourselves for disappointment in some areas.
One of them is online voice chat. Nintendo has chosen to require a mobile phone to utilize voice chat on the Switch even though no other console maker has gone that route. Even Nintendo has previously offered voice chat directly through the console. So why the change this time around? Fils-Aime says it comes down to phones offering a better overall experience for voice chat.
"We actually think that the phone is going to deliver a better, more robust execution. In terms of the APIs that we can build into an app, the fact that phones are ubiquitous, the fact that it allows us to do much more rapid improvements and updates to the service, that’s why we think a phone execution—and specifically a mobile app execution—is going to be better for the consumer," Fils-Aime said.
When it was pointed out that plugging a headset into a mobile phone seems cumbersome, Fils-Aime responded that what we have seen so far is just a single execution by one particular supplier, and that there will be other solutions. They will all require a mobile phone, but apparently not all of them will need to be physically tethered with a cord.
On the topic of a virtual console experience, Fils-Aime feigned surprise and claimed it's not a term that Nintendo has used. That is not true. A press release from February states that "Virtual Console games will not be available on Nintendo Switch at launch," and that Nintendo "will share more information in the future."
While Fils-Aime supposedly did not recall the use of that term, he did reiterate Nintendo's stance that Nintendo will provide specifics about legacy content on the Switch at a later date. He also acknowledged that "a lot of consumers" have been "hoping and wishing" for Nintendo to make available GameCube games on the Switch.
And what about cloud saves? One of the biggest complaints about the Switch and its online capabilities is that it does not supporting saving games to the cloud, even though that is a feature of the 3DS. It is a feature that gamers want and that Fils-Aime said Nintendo has heard that message. However, that's as far as things go.
"I can't say there's a solution coming, but we do hear the message," Fils-Aime said.
We have a hunch that Nintendo will implement cloud saves sometime in the future, especially with how popular and well-received the Switch has been. It is just a shame that nothing is officially on the roadmap.
Thumbnail Image Source: Flickr (Official GDC)