When Nintendo launched the Switch back in March 2017, it was received with a lot of praise. But, one of the complaints that continuously kept being made, straight up until just recently, was the system’s lack of media apps. Nintendo’s previous consoles like the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS already had apps like this, so it seemed odd that none were available on the company’s newest device at launch. Hulu finally broke the mold nearly a half-year later, but this has only benefited folks who actually have access to the service, as it’s region-locked. Since Hulu’s release, there’s mostly been just radio silence, only being broken every now and again by an occasional vague statement from Nintendo’s execs. But, now another media app has finally arrived.
YouTube has been just about the most-requested media app for the Switch other than Netflix. Considering that it’s the most popular video service in the world, this isn’t that surprising. What is surprising is that this app took so long to come to the Switch in the first place.
I started toying around with the Switch’s YouTube app just a few moments after it hit the eShop. The download is only 83MB, so it only took a matter of seconds to get things started. Upon launch, I realized immediately that this is…literally the same app that everyone who’s used YouTube on a TV or console before has access to.
I’ve Seen This Somewhere Before…
There’s virtually no change, other than the fact that this version of the app is unsurprisingly touch-enabled (although you can’t scroll through the menus using touch, for some reason). The app is also capable of outputting videos in full 1080p, even in handheld mode. One of the most useful features (in my opinion) has also made a return—the ability to control everything through a phone. Doing so allows you to leave the app running while the Switch is docked to a TV, and then you can do stuff like household chores while music or videos play in the background.
The viewing experience on the Switch itself isn’t too bad either. For a $300 device, the Switch’s speakers and its display are actually pretty remarkable. So, watching video content and/or listening to music is surprisingly nice. But, again, this still isn’t anything truly groundbreaking.
Of course, I honestly wasn’t expecting the Switch’s YouTube app to blow me away, but the fact that this is virtually the exact same as the Wii U app as well as what’s on other TV-enabled devices just makes its release situation come off as being nothing short of strange. Again, it’s taken nearly two years for this to hit the Switch. Several entire games from the Wii U and other systems have been ported to the Switch in less time, so I’m left wondering: what on earth was holding Nintendo and Google back for so long? I wouldn’t be surprised if neither company officially comments on the matter. Regardless, the main point is that the app is here and it works just as you’d expect. So, if you’re one of the folks who was patiently waiting for YouTube to come to the Switch, I’m happy to report this app shouldn’t disappoint you at all.