Sad truth: Nintendo Switch UI and features are still extremely lacking

Nintendo Switch has become a household name over the years. It has continued to dominate the market ever since it launched in early 2017, largely due to the steady stream of fantastic first-party releases and second-party exclusives, not to mention the whole hybrid console thing — which allowed Nintendo to combine its home console and handheld audiences. However, despite the many successes of Nintendo Switch, the console is still severely lacking in UI and a handful of key features, which ultimately keeps it feeling like a console in its infancy.

First off, it’s pretty outrageous that the Nintendo 3DS offered so many different features and options that the Nintendo Switch still doesn’t. One feature I loved about the 3DS was the game tracking. It is an app built into the 3DS that keeps track of all of your time played for every game and application.

Sad truth: Nintendo Switch UI and features are still extremely lacking

Nintendo Switch still doesn’t track any of your time aside from providing vague hours played on your profile, which disappear over time if you play a lot of games. Not only that, but if you delete a game and re-download it, your playtime may sometimes reset. Meanwhile, the 3DS tracks everything no matter how many games, down to the second. As someone who obsesses over playtime and trophies/achievements on other platforms, I really loved this feature on 3DS and I wish Nintendo Switch offered something even half as good. Granted, you can track playtime through the parental control app on smartphones, but it’s still not as simple, easy to access, or detailed as the 3DS tracker.

Speaking of 3DS, this nifty handheld offered a variety of applications for video streaming, something Nintendo Switch still lacks. While a handful of services like YouTube and Hulu have made it to Switch, some of the biggest streaming services out there like Disney+ and Netflix are still missing and show no sign of coming. Now obviously, these video streaming apps are available on a lot of other devices already. However, as a parent, I know it would be super convenient to have Disney+ on my son’s Switch so he doesn’t have to change devices or use my phone to watch his favorite shows while on the go.

Lastly, one of the biggest blunders the Nintendo Switch UI has had so far is with its ridiculously basic theme options. As it stands, there are still only two options for themes on Switch. Black or white. That’s it. Not only are there no game-centric themes like the 3DS offered, but there aren’t even other simple options like blue, yellow, pink, etc. Just black or white. While dynamic themes like we’ve seen on 3DS would be ideal, I don’t think it would be that challenging for Nintendo to add a few plain colors to the themes list.

I can’t help but think Nintendo could easily charge for dynamic themes featuring all of its famous IP and that gamers would eat them up. Or hell, offer themes as preorder bonuses like many publishers did on PlayStation 4. It’s easy money!

There’s plenty I could say about the extremely slow retro game catalogue rollout for Nintendo Switch Online as well, but you’ve heard all that before. Let’s hope we see more platforms (Game Boy, Game Boy Advance) added to the service sooner rather than later — without another major price increase!

I would love for all of these features and UI options to make it to Nintendo Switch at some point. We were recently blessed with Bluetooth audio via firmware update after the Switch hardware had been on the market for over four years. Needless to say, everything I just mentioned could also be added in a firmware update, the most likely one being themes. 

Do you think Nintendo Switch still feels like it’s in its infancy in terms of its UI, options, and features? Let us know in the comments section below!

Brett Medlock
Brett Medlock is Nintendo Enthusiast's Editor-in-chief. He’s obsessed with action-adventure games, platinum trophies, and K-pop. To hear more about how lame he is, follow him on Twitter @brettnll

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