While the Nintendo Switch is probably going to turn out to be a very excellent console, its early days have been riddled with bugs and few playable games. This is to be expected with the release of any enterprising proprietary technology. But for people frustrated with the Switch’s growing pains, today might be a day when we’re reminded about the online gaming industry.
Online gaming is versatile and accessible. Through gaming giants like Steam, almost any game that you can imagine can be played via one device or another. Consoles like Nintendo’s aren’t nearly as versatile, for good and ill. They’re much more like gated communities – exclusive content neighborhoods forcing you to play their games on their controllers. With online gaming, you can break classic console games free from proprietary systems, and find out how different the game is to play with a keyboard and mouse.
Online gaming also has people playing games for real money, a phenomenon that has yet to break into console gaming in a perceptible way. Depending where you are in the world, you may have access to thousands of different games with real financial winnings. We’re talking about everything from classic games like Poker to professional-level competitive leagues surrounding console games like Smash Brothers. People have long since found ways to monetize classic MMOs like Warcraft. In fact, these examples only scratch the surface.
The Nintendo Switch also highlights another advantage known by computer and online gamers – the Switch can’t be customized like computers can. The one you buy on Amazon is the same model enjoyed by everyone else in your country. Not so for people who play online games. The speed and sophistication you can achieve in this game world is limited only by the power of your computer, something you can customize and enhance to the nines.
In the end, the Nintendo Switch isn’t bad because its online accessibility is poor. This is inherent to the nature of most consoles and the games they support. However, for people adept at finding the best gaming experience available online, the Switch may prove a little constricting. Sure, you might enjoy beating the new Zelda, but once that’s done, you’re limited to the games produced and supported by Nintendo. Will that give you the well-rounded gaming experience you crave? Maybe. Maybe not.