Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 15, 2017

Email: People are sleeping on the online app

Every time I see it mentioned, people are harping on the fact that Nintendo is building a companion app for their online services. Now, we don’t know yet whether or not it’ll be mandatory (and it seems like it’d likely be not), but I don’t mind even if it was mandatory.

See, the thing is, using your console to manage a friends list, voice chat, parties, chat rooms, all of that stuff? It sucks. I don’t have an Xbox One or PS4, but I did go through some of this on the 360 with Xbox Live. It’s just not fun. Especially on a controller. Did you know the 360 had a little accessory where you could plug in a tiny little keyboard to the controller? Ha.

The fun is after you get everything setup.

Using an app to set up all of this, to add friends from message boards or real life, with the ability to type faster or copy paste information, why not? I can setup game plans, my friends will receive notifications for them, and I don’t even have to have the console on? This is perfect for online tournaments and communities.

You see, that’s the biggest problem. In order to have good time with these online services, to get the most out of them, you often needed a computer nearby anyway. Or you’d be texting everyone. Some people use Facebook Messenger for this sort of thing. With online communities and message boards where you’d prefer to not give out your real name or your phone number, it’s even more of a hassle. And then when it comes time for voice chat, there a lot of people that would just use Skype, Mumble or one of the many other free PC voice chat services and just have it nearby.

When Splatoon came out, I just downloaded the mobile Mumble app for iOS, connected to a friends’ home server, and then played with him on speaker while I had headphones in to hear the game sound.

Of course, one could say that I only did this because Nintendo didn’t have voice chat in many of its games. But I say, why not go for a brave new world? Considering the parental controls, Nintendo is going big on using your smartphone to connect with your Switch. You don’t have to have some crazy UI where the console tries to do everything and be everything. That’s what computers are for. That’s where phones are going nowadays. Let the Switch focus on being the game console. The only thing involving people that it needs to do is have voice chat. Everything else, and more, can be done with the communications device in your pocket.

So when it comes right down to it, the most exciting part of future Nintendo online features is whatever they might do with these Switch apps. The least exciting part is, of course, paying for online. The one game they announced that would be a system seller for me and is only available on Switch is Splatoon 2. If they’re smart, they’ll be building up the single player and the world they have going there. But still, a majority of the game will be spent online. In the worst case, I’ll just play it through the summer while the online is free and then head back to Overwatch on PC with Discord/Mumble. Considering they want to give out a free game every month, there’s a good chance it won’t be $5 either.

Interesting email. I’m glad you wrote in.

I’m purchasing the Switch currently as an OFFLINE console. This may be why I am curiously looking through the RPGs and local multiplayer. Nintendo’s online plans are terrifying because of previous consoles and bad communication.

And what of the Virtual Console plans? I don’t intend to buy any of the games (I learned my lesson with the Wii doing that, I only buy original cartridges now).

I do want Virtual Console releases of the following games:

Ikaruga

Radiant Silvergun

Salamander

You see where I am going with all this. Ikaruga is a Gamecube game that would be a welcome VC addition.

Hmm, maybe I should sell my copy of Fire Emblem Path of Radiance before it appears on the VC. Or maybe the price on it will go up once it appears?

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