Nintendo, now is the time to double-down on entertainment apps
The Switch is a great games console, but it severely lacks in one area: supporting entertainment apps.
Last week, Nintendo released its latest console, the OLED version of the Switch, a device that upgrades the handheld system with a larger more vibrant display, as well as a few other welcomed features that culminate to make the experience of playing on the Switch that much better. While this system isn't the Switch Pro we've been hoping for and expecting, the upgrades, while not doing a lot to improve the platform's performance, have led me to once again spend a considerable amount of time with my Switch, and if there's one thing I could take from my time with the OLED model, it's that Nintendo should be doing whatever it takes to get Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, and as many other streamers as possible on the platform as soon as it can.
Granted, this is nothing new. We've been hoping for streamers and more entertainment apps on the Switch for quite some time now, but what the OLED Switch now offers is a better visual experience, considerably improved when compared to the base Switch model. Games and even YouTube look much clearer and defined, and with the larger screen, playing and watching when in handheld mode is a far improved experience.
Add to this the better battery life, which for owners of the launch Switch model, offers around 90 minutes of extra battery on one charge, and Nintendo is making the Switch into a prime candidate for a handheld entertainment platform, one that can stand on its own in the games console market, but also can tackle and compete in the tablet industry.
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Unlike Xbox and PlayStation, Nintendo doesn't need to put an emphasis on 4K/60fps gameplay, because of what it can do in handheld or tabletop modes. While a Switch Pro device that could achieve margins of these values is something Nintendo fans do share a longing for, Nintendo can further cement itself into a unique space in the games industry, one that it is operating in, almost uncontested, which is by offering up a mobile version of the modern console systems that console gamers have in their home setups today.
Now you might be thinking that this is what Nintendo has already created with the Switch, and that is true for the most part, but the platform severely lacks in one place: entertainment and applications.
Unlike an Xbox or a PlayStation console, or any mobile device, or a PC, or pretty much anything with a screen these days, the Nintendo Switch offers very few services where users can do anything bar play a video game. Right now, YouTube is available, and so are a few other media services, including Pokémon TV, which literally just lets you watch Pokémon anime exclusively. Considering YouTube works rather well and looks great on the Switch, better than ever with the OLED panel for that matter, we have to wonder where are the other entertainment apps?
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Sure, the Switch doesn't have a SIM card slot, and lacks cellular support and can't use 3G/4G/5G to stream content on-the-go, but that shouldn't limit users from being able to access entertainment apps by any means. The console literally has an online service that requires a network connection to use, and that has been available for users, and constantly gets updates and new features. So, what's holding Nintendo back from introducing more entertainment apps onto the system?
With the new kickstand that makes using the Switch in tabletop mode ever easier, a larger battery life that easily allows for hours of use in one charge, and even a bigger base storage to make fitting more content onto a single Switch ever easier, all the stars seem to be aligning into making the Switch a unique version of a home entertainment platform, similar but also different to what Xbox and PlayStation consoles offer.
You might be thinking that it could be to do with the docking system, and how that would affect how a streaming service is displayed on a bigger screen, but as was previously discovered in a technical breakdown of the OLED Switch (reported on by Nintendo Life), this new dock seems to support 4K under the hood, with the cable it comes with even set to offer 60fps at this higher resolution - which all in all means that it's more than powerful enough and equipped to run a streaming service even if only in 1080p or 720p.
The point I'm trying to make is the Switch, both models for that matter, seems to be more than capable of running entertainment applications, and yet there's barely any to use on the Nintendo eShop. So, if you ask me, it's about time this was fixed, Nintendo, because the Switch is already a great console, but it can be even better with just a little bit of extra love in the entertainment genre.