Friday July 10, 2020

Editorial: Has the Nintendo Switch Peaked? (Firmware 4.0)
Posted by Steve Juon at Monday, October 23rd, 2017 at 10:00PM :: Email this article :: Print this article

Editorial courtesy of Steve 'Flash' Juon.

[Nintendo Switch courtesy Wikimedia Commons]It's time for another look at the Nintendo Switch now that the 4.0 firmware update has released. This one has brought some long awaited featured that rivals like the PlayStation 4 had a long time ago. For the first time ever Switch owners can actually capture up to 30 seconds of video in-game and share those clips via social media. Here's a video explaining more about the latest update and the unfortunate limitations of the capture feature.

The first problem with the video capture is that it only works with four games right now -- Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, and Splatoon 2. Not surprisingly these are all titles developed by and released by Nintendo. Even less surprising given that they are Nintendo's own properties is the fact that you can't share any of the footage you capture on YouTube. Nope. Facebook and Twitter are your only choices once you're done editing (trimming) your clips. Nintendo is notoriously hostile to YouTube gamers, only allowing people who sign up for their "Creators Program" to monetize content, and most recently restricting YouTubers from livestreaming ANY content even if they ARE in the program. The Switch doesn't have a built in livestreaming option anyway (unlike their competitors) and the firmware update didn't help, but placing so many restrictions on an already limited video capture (only four games and only 30 seconds at a time) just plain sucks.

The irony of them demonstrating this feature in a YouTube video isn't lost on me. They also used 4.0 to add the long requested ability to back up your console's profile and save data, but once again showed they don't really understand what people want to do, because they only allow you to back it up to ANOTHER SWITCH. That's right. You'd actually have to buy a second Switch just to copy your game saves and backup your purchases. Why is this even necessary in a when the system itself already has a micro SD card? Why shouldn't the system allow you to do a "backup shutdown" to power it down, take the card out, copy the data to another card and then put it back in? The "backup shutdown" could even encrypt the data in case they are worried about piracy, but at least this way consumers could have backup data to restore their system if it accidentally or catastrophically gets wiped for unknown reasons (say being mishandled by airport security).

I think it's fairly evident to readers of this site that I'm a Nintendo fan given how often I editorialize about it. I'm not a "fanboy" though which means I can see the other side of the coin and criticize them for the things they do wrong. It seems to me with this latest firmware that Nintendo is trying to say "we gave you these things you asked for" but only in the most half-assed way possible where they still exercise draconian levels of control over their data and intellectual property. It's almost as if you didn't actually buy a game console - you're just renting one from them and they get to say how you get to use it at their discretion. With so many competing options in the marketplace that's just not acceptable. Whatever happened to that "Online Service" with a free game per month anyway? Oh right -- that got pushed back to 2018. C'mon Nintendo, do better.

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