Compared to the services offered by Microsoft or Sony, Nintendo’s online pales in comparison, but there’s a reason for that.
Nintendo is a company known in the video game industry for its innovation in game play and gameplay. The Gameboy, the Wii, the DS, these are so many consoles that have revolutionized the world of gaming in their time. Each of their platforms has succeeded in shaking up the gaming world, but yet there is one area where Nintendo is lagging behind its competitors.
It is on the side of online services that the Kyoto firm displays its greatest difficulties. In addition to a much lower offer compared to what Sony and Microsoft offer in terms of free games and other bonuses, the quality of service itself sometimes leaves players on the sidelines. An insufficient wifi connection can make games of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate almost unplayable, and untimely disconnections on games like Splatoon happen more often than we would like.
A question of identity and culture
Interviewed in a podcast by our colleagues at Geekwire, Reggie-Fils Aimé, former director of Nintendo of America, gave some details about Nintendo’s delay in terms of online:
“Nintendo’s business philosophy has always been to do things differently, to innovate in ways that play to the strength of the company rather than the strength of others. And for example, Nintendo really excelled in what we internally called “couch gaming” (…) and that’s where the company focused a lot.”
For Nintendo, the most important multiplayer is shared locally, with several on the same couch. Reggie Fils-Aimé then adds “The company is always considering how it will enter these markets in a unique, different way and play to its own strength.”
Developing the online mode has never been on Nintendo’s priority list.mainly because of cultural reason as explained by the former president of Nintendo of America:
“Culturally, the company didn’t see a huge opportunity online. (…) You are quite right to say that of the three main hardware competitors in the video game space, it is in this area that Microsoft has invested so heavily that it has become their competitive advantage.”
Online is not at the heart of Nintendo’s identity, it is simply a plus for the company which is only adapting to the current market. The manufacturer intends to continue to innovate in what makes their identity to ensure its success..
A half-measure service
Even if online is not Nintendo’s priority it seems, the service has still developed greatly in recent times with the arrival of Nintendo Online + Additional Pack. This notably allows access to the DLCs of popular games such as the last season pass of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Still, it’s sad to see some features missing from new games, as will be the case with Splatoon 3.
Indeed, the manufacturer has announced that unlike its predecessor, the new installment of the third-person shooter will offer cloud saves… but only for solo mode. A slight improvement which is nice to see, but which remains of little use since the data that deserves to be protected is indeed that of your online progress and not the single player mode of a predominantly multiplayer game.
As a reminder, accessing Nintendo’s online services will cost you €19.99 for the classic subscription Where €39.99 to access the Additional Pack.