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It’s 2020, and Nintendo Needs to Finally Catch Up

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:37 PM
Max Moeller
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:37 PM
  • Nintendo’s attachment to the past is hurting the company.
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons looks excellent at first glance but suffers from a fatal flaw.
  • The Switch, despite its unique appeal, is held back by a variety of bad design decisions.

Nintendo does so many things right. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a long-term platform? Great! Combining the handheld and home consoles? Genius! But, nearly everything they do seems to come with a catch, and it needs to stop.

Thursday’s Nintendo Direct revealed exciting details about Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Players can reinvent towns, customize furniture, and earn items through all-new incentive programs. But unlike most Switch titles, New Horizons only supports one cloud backup data recovery. Also, it’s not even available at launch, and one has to be paying for Nintendo’s online service.

Animal Crossing: New Horizon’s Big Drawback

This is a strange decision, which is likely tied to the fact that player islands are stuck to one Switch. Even more bizarre is that Animal Crossing is a long-term game. Unlike a one-and-done experience such as Mario Odyssey, New Horizons is designed for players to come back to for years. A Switch owner will likely buy a new Switch or replace one due to damage over those years. Why is it this game they’ll struggle to move over?

Pokemon Sword and Shield suffer from the cloud issue as well, and it has been around for years  on top of that. But Nintendo’s reasoning doesn’t justify the means:

The vast majority of Nintendo Switch games will support Save Data Cloud backup. However, in certain games this feature would make it possible to, for example, regain items that had been traded to other players, or revert to a higher online multiplayer ranking that had been lost.

It’s 2020 – I shouldn’t have to think about my cloud backup saves. Steam does it automatically, as does the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the latter two of which released in 2013. Why can’t Nintendo offer the same?

Animal Crossing New Horizons
At least you can still visit other players in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. |  Source: YouTube 

The Pokemon-like Temtem  has cloud saves. Many games that release on all platforms have cloud saves everywhere else. Nintendo’s strange grip on this rather useful feature is more than a little disappointing, especially now with the Switch Lite for more mobile gamers.

Cloud Saves Are Just One Thing Nintendo Struggles With

Remember the Nintendo Switch reveal? That awesome trailer which hints at eSports support?

According to one of the world’s best Super Smash Bros. Melee players, Hungrybox, Nintendo is the “only one” not supporting Smash’s eSports scene .

Nintendo Online, while a reasonably cheap service, is still lacking in basic features like messaging friends, and it still requires that weird mobile application for voice chat .

It’s also strange that there isn’t a Netflix or Twitch app, despite there being one for Hulu. I would spend so much more time on my Switch if I could watch streams on it.

The Switch is also missing accurate hour counts and achievements. Unfortunately, no Nintendo console has had the latter, while the former was done much better on 3DS and the Wii U. These last complaints may appear petty, but they do affect which console I’ll play in my free time.

Nintendo 3DS Activity Log
The Nintendo Switch lacks the depth of the 3DS’s activity log. | Source: Nintendo 3DS Fandom 

There’s much less sense of community as well. My Xbox dashboard has clubs, game hubs, and all sorts of sections that promote user-generated content. The Switch is utterly barren in comparison.

For an idea that’s so ahead of its time, the Nintendo Switch suffers from some archaic decisions that hold it way back. It’s a shame that Nintendo still fails to deliver on some of these more basic requirements that enhance the player experience. And it’s because of these reasons, even with the Switch’s fantastic game library, that I hesitate to make it my primary gaming system.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.