Ah, the eternal question. Up there with ‘what came first, the chicken or the egg’? Or just what was it that Finn wanted to tell Rey in Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker.
Should a game console just be a game console, or should it be a full-blown entertainment centre? Will Spotify and Netflix dilute our gaming experiences, or will they just add a bit of ease to our streaming-based lives? And has the Switch already gone over to streaming?
Let’s delve into it.
For – It’s Convenient
Simply put, it’s more convenient (note: not necessarily better) to have all our entertainment options on one device. For example, if I’m on the train, have just beaten a boss in BotW, and suddenly have the urge to watch something on Netflix, why should I have to put my Switch away, take out my phone and reconnect my AirPods, when I could just open Netflix on my Switch?
The convenience factor has increased even more since Nintendo brought in the Bluetooth update as there is no longer a massive convenience difference between my phone and my Switch. Well, besides one that I’ll segue into now.
Against – Offline Capabilities
My phone has mobile data, which means I can stream shows when I’m out and about (although I try not to, as it’s rather pricey), but my Switch does not. Therefore, we’ll have to be able to download content onto the console, like we can for PC and phones. You’d think this would be simple, but this is Nintendo, so I wouldn’t hold your breath.
For – It’s Strange that We Don’t Have Streaming Already
To be honest, it’s a bit weird that we can’t stream on the Switch already. I mean, we’ve been able to stream Netflix since the PS3 (or even the PS2 in Brazil) and could even stream on the Wii and Wii U. Spotify’s been on PlayStation since the PS3 and on Xbox since the Xbox One, and even the Wii U had Rhapsody/Napster. So why doesn’t the Switch have anything? And don’t blame the handheld-ness as even the 3DS had Netflix.
Apparently, Reggie Fils-Aime, ex-President and ex-COO of Nintendo of America, told The Washington Post in 2017 that streaming ‘will come in time’ but that Nintendo wants us to use the Switch ‘first and foremost to play games’. It has been five years, but, as I keep saying, Nintendo is not the quickest company in the world.
Against – Simplification
As Reggie has alluded to, the main reason against having streaming services on the Switch is that it could dilute the pureness and simplicity of having a console that only does one thing. And, if I’m honest, in a world where I can buy sofas on Facebook and order food from Uber, or even code a game on the Steam Deck, it’s quite nice to have a product that only does one thing really, really well.
That being said…
For – We Already Have Some Streaming
However much Nintendo wanted the Switch to be used for gaming, and gaming alone, it’s already failed ever since it brought in that rabbit-hole-creator, YouTube. On YouTube, we can watch hours of content, including some TV and films, all from the comfort of our ‘pure’ gaming console (as long as it’s online and not in the background).
Case in point, the above image is a screengrab of my sister’s playtime on her Switch, which shows a decidedly un-game-focused outlook towards Nintendo’s great console.
Not only that, but the Switch also has access to Twitch, Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Pokémon TV, all of which provide various ways to stream films, shows, and videos. And the US readers of this article might be wondering why it’s even been written, considering they have access to Hulu. Well, to be honest, I didn’t realise that when I started and, as a Brit, I still can’t access it, so this article works in my eyes.
Bonus For – The Others
As with achievements, Nintendo is lagging behind other consoles with streaming, and it’s a market they could definitely tap into. After all, why should I put my PlayStation in pride of place in my living room, while my Switch languishes upstairs, just because one can let my family re-watch Stranger Things and the other can ‘only’ play some of the best games ever made?
Not to mention that, with over 100 million sales, the Switch would be a great market for the suddenly struggling streaming services.
Overall, I think that streaming should come to the Switch, as while there are difficulties with portability, online capability, and purity, the positives of convenience and precedent simply outweigh the negatives. Furthermore, streaming has already come to the console in various forms.
Now excuse me while I load up Avengers: Endgame on Disney+ on the PS4 and play Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order on my Switch at the same time. Okay, that’s one more positive for having consoles with different purposes (although the option to watch Spider-Man: No Way Home on my Switch and play Spider-Man on my PS4 would be nice, too!).
And that’s it! Do you think streaming could come to the Switch? Or should the Switch stay as a pure games console? Let us know in the comments, and thanks for visiting Nintendo Link!