It’s still obviously quite early in the Nintendo Switch’s life cycle, but there are already a few things we can say about the console that aren’t really open to debate. First, the Switch succeeds wonderfully where the Wii U failed so miserably. As we discussed in a bit more detail on Tuesday, the Switch reimagines gameplay in a new and inventive way that actually adds to the user experience. Conversely, the Wii U looked to reinvent the wheel for the sole purpose of reinventing the wheel, and it came nowhere close to adding anything of value to the gamer’s experience.
On the flip side, there is absolutely no question that the Switch release was rushed. As we’ve pretty much come to expect at this point, Nintendo released an incomplete product alongside a disappointing lineup of games. Beyond the launch lineup, however, it’s the software experience that users find most aggravating. The problem, of course, is that there essentially is no software experience.
Video game consoles stopped being just video game consoles several generations ago. They’ve morphed into portals that deliver a wide range of content beyond games. This obviously includes streaming movies and TV shows that come courtesy of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, HBO Go and plenty of other apps and services. Of course, you won’t find any of these apps on the Nintendo Switch. As a matter of fact, you won’t even find a web browser.
Why doesn’t the Switch support Netflix or any other apps? The answer is pretty simple: it is an incomplete product that was rushed out by Nintendo. Of course, if you ask a Nintendo executive like Nintendo America’s chief operating officer Reggie Fils-Aime, you’ll essentially get the same response but it will be worded a bit differently.
“We’re talking to a range of companies about other services, companies like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon — things that will come in time,” Fils-Aime told The Washington Post in an interview. “In our view, these are not differentiators. What differentiates us is the way you play with the Nintendo Switch and what you can play. And that will continue to be our focus into the future as we continue driving this platform.”
That is indeed a much nicer way to put it. The Switch is of course a gaming device first and foremost, of that there is no question. But there’s also no question that Nintendo rushed out an unfinished product that does not currently provide the complete user experience Nintendo wants to put in people’s hands.