Thoughts in 2019: What the Nintendo Switch Needs

The Wall Street Journal has recently announced that Nintendo plans to drop two new versions of the Nintendo Switch console sometime this summer, 2019. Like how they did with the 3DS and 2DS, Nintendo plans for one of the updates to be a “budgeted” version of the Nintendo Switch.

The Nintendo Switch was first released worldwide on March 3, 2017, and it’s hard to believe that 2 years have passed by already. Through that time period, I have personally accumulated a game library consisting of both mainstream and indie titles. I have experienced few disappointments with my purchases, and I have been impressed with the quality of indie titles available, Forgotton Anne and Zarvot being among them.

I think the Nintendo Switch’s greatest accomplishment is having perfected the idea of a hybrid console, which Sony attempted with its Playstation Vita, but unfortunately failed in execution. As a gamer who enjoys handhelds just that much more than stationary console gaming, but also one who enjoys playing video games on a television when possible, the Switch has been the dream solution. It is a console that allows you to game on the go, but also the option to play on TV at home. With some exceptions, and unlike what Sony’s Vita required, WiFi is not necessary to play most games on Nintendo Switch, making it the perfect travel console.

There Is Room for Improvement

Feature Suggestion #1: Battery Life

That said, the Switch is not without its flaws or shortcomings. I think the most notable weakness of the Nintendo Switch would be its battery life. The advertised 2.5 to 6 hours of gameplay when using the console as a handheld is not really ideal for an avid gamer. I have found that I constantly need to hook my Switch up to a USB-C charger while playing, which can prove to be an annoyance if I want to be a little more mobile while playing games on it. I would not be surprised if the poor battery life is further negatively impacted by using the Switch as a stationary console; I think a clear improvement Nintendo could make is to somehow regulate or allow users to determine at what percent the Switch dock should start charging the system again while it is docked. I think this could prevent cases of overcharging the system.

Feature Suggestion #2: VR Capabilities

Yes, Nintendo has recently created a Google Cardboard VR option with Nintendo Labo VR Kit for the Switch, but perhaps Nintendo could create a more sturdy set of VR goggles for the Switch. I am always wary of Nintendo Labo products, because ultimately, it is cardboard material, which means eventually, it is likely to succumb to either damage from accident or the elements (i.e., sweat).

I would personally be open to seeing a second headset option for making the Switch VR-compatible. Perhaps something like the Samsung Gear VR headset, and even better if Nintendo can figure out how to make it less bulky, clunky, and heavy.

Feature Suggestion #3: More Use of the Touch Screen

One thing I really enjoy about the Switch, is that it keeps the whole “touch-screen” function that some of its prior consoles incorporated, like the 3DS, 2DS, and Wii U. Unfortunately, a majority of the Switch’s games hardly use the touch screen function, which I found to be a bit of a disappointment. While some may view touch screen as more of a gimmick than anything else, it would be really nice to be able to, for example, progress dialogue or solve puzzles (like in Zelda) using the touch screen, especially if one might prefer that option over using controllers, which may not always do what the user might like. On that note, perhaps a future refresh of the Switch console might incorporate a stylus, like the 3DS did?

Feature Suggestion #4: Improve the Nintendo Online Membership

Right now, Nintendo’s Online Membership plans for the Switch offer few, if any, benefits. At the moment, I don’t think much of it is worth it unless you’re the type of gamer that needs the extra online cloud storage for your games. As it is, the membership just offers the cloud storage, a selection of classic Nintendo titles, and occasionally discounts in the eShop. Sony’s Playstation Plus prevails a bit more here (though not by much), as it offers a selection of free games each month (so long as you remember to download them AND remain a member). Nintendo can argue it’s doing the same thing with its selection of classic titles, but it’s not quite the same. Playstation has offered some mainstream titles through its Playstation Plus program, for free (as long as you’re a Plus member, of course).

This service could probably be improved if Nintendo can offer better functionality and perks for gamers using online play, or create a more interactive community like it has done previously on the 3DS.

Feature Suggestion #5: Bring Back the ’90s Nostalgia

Specifically? I would love for Nintendo to bring back Yoshi’s Story (1997) to the Nintendo Switch. Yoshi’s Story was by far one of my favorite games on Nintendo’s N64 console, and the only time I think Nintendo might have ever re-released it was around 2007 or so on the Wii and Wii U eShops, which of course, I purchased. Seeing as how Nintendo has already re-released it in its original form on its eShop before, I don’t see why they couldn’t do it again. In fact, I am hopeful they will on the Switch. I would love nothing more than to be able to carry that game everywhere. Sure, games like the recently released Yoshi’s Crafted World are great, but it only makes me want a re-release of Yoshi’s Story even more. From the choose your own adventure aspect, to the adorable storybook storyline, and absolutely memorable cast of cute characters (even the game’s antagonists), I think Yoshi’s Story is a classic that should again be made available for Yoshi superfans to purchase, play, and re-live their childhood.

Will the Upgrade be Worth It?

According to the rumors, not really. Apparently there aren’t really going to be much, if any, upgrades to the current Switch’s specs. So if anything, the new releases would be more something someone new to the system might consider purchasing, if they haven’t jumped onto the bandwagon already. Also, from my personal experience with Nintendo, it usually takes a few cycles of upgrades before I think the “next system” is worth the investment. It took me until the Nintendo 3DS XL came out until I thought getting the 3DS was worth it—although I will admit regretting a little not being one of the “ambassador” purchasers for the 3DS only because Nintendo had allowed those users to get a digital copy of Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones, which was a game I really enjoyed on the Game Boy Advance.

Community Feedback

Of course, this is not a comprehensive list, by any means, of what could potentially be improved with the Nintendo Switch. It’s just one gamer’s humble opinion. If any other passionate gamers out there happen to be reading this article and you have other suggestions or opinions on how the console might be improved in the future, feel free to sound off in the comments below.

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