Nintendo’s Switch eShop needs an organisation overhaul
Contrary to what most Nintendo naysayers were suggesting leading up to the console’s release, the Switch has games. Some might even say too many. Yes, Nintendo’s revolutionary hybrid console is garnering a regular influx of new and interesting indie titles each and every week, being the perfect excuse to tide ourselves over in between the system’s sporadic first party and triple-A experiences. With such success, however, comes great responsibility, as the Switch’s eShop continues to crumble under the weight of so many frequent releases.
The obvious answer to solve this crisis (because that’s what it is, albeit a limited one) is an overhaul of the digital store front’s organisation. From the very launch of the Nintendo Switch, despite its rapid success and high adoption rate it’s been no secret that it was a little undercooked. Free from the charm glossed all over the Wii and Wii U’s UI, the Switch’s interface and eShop could best be described as something that “gets the job done”.
Up until now this has been fine and dandy, but while the House of Mario continues to make incremental updates to the platform (as evidence by a discounted game section), it’s time to start making these games searchable via genre. At present, if I wanted to find a launch title, say the utterly brilliant Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment, I’d have to first be aware that the game launched there in the first place and type it into the eShop’s search box. Unless it goes on sale, to the average player this game might as well just not exist. It’s impossible to find without scrolling.
I’m left baffled at Nintendo’s ignorance to let so many titles fall by the wayside, only ever being able to enjoy the limelight for a week at present. During its busiest period, the Switch eShop was home to no less than 13 new releases, the majority of which were developed by indies. During a time in the industry where digital stores are already being saturated on platforms like Steam, making it already a challenge to hold mindshare, Nintendo has a responsibility as the new place for indies to give each game their due. Especially since some seem to be doing tremendously well there.
Of course, this is still a company who’s listening to what audiences want, and are presumably still working out some kinks. What with the Switch’s virtual console nowhere to be seen and only an archaic form of voice chat made possible through an entirely separate device, maybe it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to learn that the Switch’s eShop is still not curated well enough.