The Nintendo Switch UI sucks. Here’s how to fix it.

Infendo OpEd

The Nintendo Switch UI sucks. Look, the Nintendo Switch was seemingly designed to be everything that the Nintendo Wii U was not. The console is much more portable (for obvious reasons), the console has plenty of GOOD games to play, and the consoles ‘gimmick’ is much more appealing. Gamers have taken notice, as the Switch continues to sell out almost as soon as they come in, and developers have flocked to the Switch all looking to get a piece of the pie. However, I would argue it’s time for a Nintendo Switch update.

The Wii U was forced to play catch up, as Nintendo was lambasted for the sluggishness of the console amongst other issues. After Nintendo was able to fix many of the issues of the console, it was much too late for many gamers as new consoles were on the horizon in the Xbox One and PS4.

While there are a lot of issues gamers have that are totally unfounded, the Nintendo Switch UI isn’t one of them. As the Switch is already miles ahead of its predecessor, and Nintendo clearly has a hit on their hands, now should be the time to look at the longevity of the Switch and begin to build upon an already solid foundation.

MEMORY MANAGEMENT

Look Nintendo, the N64 has better save game management than the Nintendo Switch, let’s be real. Many games allowed transferring save data to the controller pak, while other required a little creativity through the use of a combination GameShark and Dex Drive accessories.

The point is, I can still access my childhood Ocarina of Time save, and back it up if I really wanted to do so (which I do and did.) The Switch makes that impossible, even though the console uses an industry standard memory format in the Micro SD card, and it should be dead simple to transfer your data. Heck, just perform a quick Nintendo Switch update and make this a feature already!

Exploits and vulnerabilities due to the open access of the SD card slot plagued the Wii early on, and Nintendo has since limited its save management capabilities on future console to combat piracy. While their intentions were perhaps well-intended, the average gamer lost in the long run.

Game saves on the 3DS are a nightmare to manage, as most games tie save data to the console itself. Meaning if you wanted to share you Smash 4 3DS saves amongst multiple consoles, because dammit Nintendo you released 82 versions of the 3DS and I bought them all, you would be out of luck.

Save management on the Nintendo Switch UI is no different. It’s understandable that Nintendo doesn’t want to open up the Switch to piracy, but there has got to be some solution to transfer save data, it’s simply unacceptable. Not having this ability means that if your console is ever lost or stolen, say goodbye to that 200+ hour Breath of the Wild save that you’ve worked so hard on. Just ask our very own JZBeast.

If not the ability to transfer save data to the Micro SD card, Nintendo ought to take a play from the Xbox One’s playbook and offer cloud saves tied to your user account. With Xbox Live, you have the ability to log in to any Xbox One with your Xbox Live account, and your save games are just there automagically. Multiple consoles, no problem.

Nintendo, take notes.

SYSTEM LEVEL COMMUNICATION

Nintendo gamers have had the short end of the voice chat stick since Nintendo vomited out the Wii Speak. Even this generation with the Switch, Nintendo seems to have taken a step backwards and the Nintendo Switch UI requires a phone app for proper voice chat. We know that voice chat is possible sans app since Fortnite showed us we could do as much in a update soon after launch. This even allowed cross platform voice chat to boot!

The time is nhy for Nintendo to fix this via a Nintendo Switch update, especially as the paid online service looms ever nearer. It isn’t enough to have lobby or game chat. What is truly needed is the ability to voice chat on the system level, allowing for greater coordination pre-game, and even the ability to play separate games while still enjoying the company of friends!

Again, this isn’t anything new. Most of this functionality was introduced to console players when Xbox LIVE was introduced with the original Xbox back in November of 2002. No excuses. Time to get with the times.

SYSTEM MUSIC

The eShop STILL does not have any background music. Enough said. This should be a #1Nintendo Switch update  priority.

GAME MANAGEMENT

When the Nintendo Switch was first launched, the minimalist Nintendo Switch UI was almost a godsend. Game icons were large, text was easy to read, and all was good in the world.

Fast forward to 2018, and 50+ games downloaded later, and the Nintendo Switch UI is in dire need of some game organization of some sort and the simple addition of folders would go a long way. We need a way to manage all our great games and keep track of all this DLC, Nintendo!

The Nintendo Switch also took a major step backward when it comes to viewing play statistics, even when compared the the calendar system used by the Nintendo Wii. The sweet spot in my eyes has been what Nintendo managed with the 3DS activity log, and if Nintendo would even just copy that wholesale, it would make this Nintendo fan happy. Once again, all of this could be fixed with a simple Nintendo Switch update.

BETTER FRIEND MANAGEMENT

Or any friend management, am I right? We are able to see online status and a simple playlog, but that’s about it. There is no ability to join a game in progress, no invite system, and as mentioned above, no system level voice chat.

To be fair, Nintendo does make it fairly simple to add friends via friend codes (icky) and social media connections, which is a big step in the right direction. This simply isn’t enough though, and Nintendo shouldn’t settle for the bare basics.

MULTIMEDIA INTEGRATION

Nintendo has touted the Nintendo Switch as a console all about the games, and that has been apparent with their apparent lack of interest in fostering the relationships necessary to bring the likes of Netflix and Amazon Video to their platform.

Hulu has already jumped on the Switch bandwagon, and it seemed as if it was only a matter of time before all the other big guns jumped on board as well. This certainly isn’t a deal-breaker, but not having to change inputs when wanting to stream Stranger Things would be great. Throw in Spotify integration through a Nintendo Switch update with the ability to stream said music in-game, and you would make gamers very happy indeed.

What do you all think? Is the Nintendo Switch perfect just the way it is, or is their room for some improvement when it comes to the user interface?

Eugene lives in New Mexico and has been a life long gamer since getting his hands on an NES. Always partial to Nintendo, Eugene has made it a point to keep informed on all things Mario.