[Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series of articles. We’re highlighting things that have us bummed out by the Switch launch in this article. Our things to love about Switch will go live tomorrow. Be civil to each other in the comments.]
Now that I’ve had the Nintendo Switch in my hands for a good handful of days, I feel like I have a solid grasp on how the device feels to use both at home in the dock and on the go. My first impressions of the device are incredibly positive and I’m not ashamed to tell you that this is the first Nintendo console that I’ve been excited about in a while.
The Wii U definitely feels like a stopgap console when compared to its successor, but Nintendo didn’t get everything right with this first iteration of the console. (No doubt more will be coming as we saw with the Nintendo DS and 3DS lines.) Despite my positive impression of the Switch, here a few a few things that concern me about the design and approach.
1. The kickstand design is shockingly bad.
The kickstand included with the Nintendo Switch is one of the worst design decisions I could imagine. It’s intention is to let you play the console with the controllers undocked, but it’s position in the right-hand corner of the console means it’s wobbly at best. It’s also not adjustable at all, so you only get one angle for viewing.
The thing is pretty flimsy and serves as the cover for the microSD card slot, so if you ever happen to snap the kickstand off the back of your Nintendo Switch, you’ll be staring at an ugly card slot until you can get it fixed. Oh, did I mention that the charging port is on the bottom of the device, so it can’t be charged while using the kickstand? Because that’s totally a thing. People are 3D printing solutions to this as we speak.
2. The left Joy-Con has issues.
While I’m overall pleased with the size of the Joy-Cons and have no complaints about their size, I have noticed that the left Joy-Con will periodically disconnect from time to time. This can make for a frustrating experience when you’re roaming around in the world of Breath of the Wild.
I think I managed to solve my problem by following these steps as I haven’t encountered any issues with my Joy-Cons since doing the reset, but others are still reporting issues that can’t be fixed with this method. In fact, one YouTube seems to suggest that the issue is a hardware flaw in all left Joy-Cons.
We don’t know if this issue is widespread or not since there are only anecdotal reports of signal problems between the Joy-Cons and it could be caused by any number of problems. Still, it’s disheartening to experience this on the day the console launches.
3. The included Joy-Con grip doesn’t charge.
Nintendo included a Joy-Con comfort grip in the package, but unfortunately it doesn’t charge the controllers outside of the console. That’s a shame. But if want to plunk down an extra $30, Nintendo will sell you a grip that includes a charging port so you can charge your Joy-Cons while you play.
That’s right, the extra $30 accessory doesn’t even include a battery pack but instead makes you connect a wire to charge. Tell me again why this accessory costs $30 extra and wasn’t included in the box? It has no battery pack to speak of. The only difference is a USB port.
4. Accessories for the console are a bit expensive.
While this may be a subjective subject for some, I personally feel as though the accessories Nintendo is offering alongside this console are pretty expensive. A new set of Joy-Cons or a Pro Controller will set you back $79.99. That’s nearly a third of what the console costs just for a second controller.
The charging grip accessory that I mentioned above is $29.99 and all it does is give you a USB port to attach a cable so you can charge your Joy-Cons. That should have been included in the package, Nintendo. C’mon.
5. The screen is easily scratched by the dock.
The Nintendo Switch screen is made of plastic instead of glass. Nintendo made this decision to help the Switch endure countless drop tests, but one negative side effect is that plastic is much easier to scratch than glass.
In fact, the act of pulling your Switch in and out of the dock may result in scratches on your screen if you’re not careful. That’s a pretty poor design choice when you consider if you take the Switch with you every day of the year, there’s a minimum 730 times you’re putting your Switch either in or out of the dock. Get a screen protector and put it on while your Switch is brand new to keep your screen safe.
6. Launch line-up is rather sparse.
This is the entire Nintendo Switch launch line-up. Nine games. A handful of them are exclusives and Breath of the Wild is the system seller title, but only nine games at launch is a pitiful experience. I’ve had people who are really interested in the Nintendo Switch ask me what games they’d like to play and I struggle to recommend anything on this list.
They don’t like hardcore platformers and JRPGs, so that knocks out half the titles on the list. The rest are party games that may only be appealing for a select few. I know the upcoming games that are in the pipeline are going to be blockbuster titles, but I struggle to recommend a casual gamer to check out the Switch right now with such a sparse line-up available.
Once again Nintendo leads the charge with Please Understand.
7. No way to transfer saved games.
People who are having hardware issues after a couple days of play are discovering something that’s very bad about the Nintendo Switch. Currently, there’s no way to transfer your saved games off of the console either via a cloud upload or even to the microSD card. That means if you drop your Switch and break it, there goes all your progress on Breath of the Wild. Whoops.
This is a massive oversight for Nintendo, especially considering what a fiasco the Wii U was with games being linked to the console rather than an account. Thankfully Nintendo learned their lesson there, but there needs to be a better way to manage all your save files. Hopefully Nintendo is working on a solution.
Overall, I’m pleased with the Nintendo Switch and I see the potential for a future here. This is going to be how Nintendo delivers games from now on. Not to mention despite all of its flaws and quirks, the ability to take a console-quality game like Breath of the Wild on the go with you is a new marvel that young me would absolutely be going bonkers over. I love it and I’m excited about the future, but I fully acknowledge that as an early adopter I’m essentially beta-testing Nintendo’s newest hybrid concept.