Problems with Nintendo Switch that still exist two years in

Nintendo Switch problems two years in

We’re closing in on the second anniversary of the Nintendo Switch’s release.  And to celebrate… I’ve come up with a list of issues that still need to be addressed in the console. After all, the Switch still has many of the problems people were complaining about days after launch, and a large portion of Nintendo fans have made it clear they aren’t happy about these oversights. So why hasn’t Nintendo done anything? Maybe we have a redesign coming? Or perhaps they realize most of us will just buy it anyway.

Maybe Nintendo admired Apple for taking away the headphone jack

Image from tweet by @letsplayvgcom about missing headphone jack

How, in the modern age, is there a game console with no audio port on any of the controllers? Nothing on the dock, the Joy-Con, or even on the Pro Controller, which is more expensive than most other controllers. There was even some controversy before the release of the Switch because certain trailers showed the Pro Controller with a headphone jack. And to make matters even worse, because the Joy-Con communicate with the Switch via Bluetooth, no wireless headphones can be used either. You’ll have to buy a third-party adapter that would take up one of your precious USB slots.

Personally, my PS4 has served better as a streaming box than a console purely because I can plug headphones into my controller and watch YouTube anywhere in the room without blasting my TV volume. It’s not some niche feature; every game console since at least the original Xbox has had this. Now, it would take a bit of work to fix on Nintendo’s part, but if they just released “elite” versions of their controllers that came with a headphone jack, I’d be satisfied.

Bare bones social features

Their social system, especially when it comes to friends, is still just awful. Nintendo has been adapting to modern sensibilities more and more as of late, but they’ve still got a long way to go. And nothing shows this more clearly than their social structure for the Switch. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t met a single person who was excited about their “mobile app” when it was first announced. It seemed like a weird half-step of copying Discord while capitalizing on the idea that everyone has a smartphone. And every update that came after only further proved Nintendo’s whole plan was hastily thought up.

But what really grinds my gears is how little I can interact with my friends list. No pop-ups when you get a friend request, no messaging system or party chat, and don’t even get me started on how hard it is to get a party together. It depends on the game played, but getting all your friends in one lobby is almost always an ordeal. Messaging, voice chat, and game invites are such basic concepts for any game company that it blows my mind that Nintendo can get away with not including them.

The Switch console itself has problems

Evidence of Switch bending. Source: NeoGAF

In contrast to the easily fixable digital issues, these physical missteps are a bit harder to fix. The dock literally bends and scratches the Switch over time. Plus, the kickstand on the console itself breaks easily and couldn’t be more annoying to open. However, my primary concern is that there are only USB slots on the dock.

Don’t get me wrong — I realize other consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One only have a couple USB slots as well, but they aren’t portable, and they also don’t have a bunch of adapters that would require a USB slot. The Nintendo Switch has the ethernet adapter, GameCube controller adapter, wireless headphone adapter, and plenty more that attempt to fix what the console is clearly missing. But you can’t fix the problem of not enough USBs with a USB adapter; it’s redundant. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a USB adapter for the Switch that added even more USBs.

Apparently for kids but with almost no customization

Nintendo Switch problems still two years out
Source: Switch Stop YouTube channel

Now let’s get to the more aesthetic problems, namely, with the organization, customization, and storage. There’s no cloud saving, and you can’t back up saves the conventional way. No themes for your Switch, and certainly no other cosmetic changes. It’s such an obvious problem that people have made entire parody videos about it.

Additionally, the console decides how the home screen is laid out, not you. You have absolutely no choice in the matter. Lastly, even if you could organize your games, it wouldn’t matter. The console doesn’t have a folder system and doesn’t seem to be getting one anytime soon. In comparison, yes, the PS4 doesn’t exactly let you move icons around the way you’d want, but there thousands of other customization options. Meanwhile, the Switch has almost nothing outside of using a third party to get some custom skins for your controllers.

Lag is a feature you pay for

Nintendo Switch problems

Finally, let’s talk about their online. Nintendo’s online model is so dated that it might as well be dial-up. Most games have a P2P connection by default, meaning that if any player has garbage internet, they’ll drag everyone down with them. It’s why there were so many complaints about the online experience after Super Smash Bros. Ultimate released, as well as after Mario Tennis Aces.

And then there are Friend Codes. I genuinely can’t believe that Friend Codes are still a thing. They’re one of the most basic, archaic methods of adding a friend, yet Nintendo insists on keeping them around. At this point, they’re more of a symbol of how Nintendo will keep even the most dated features. Sure, Nintendo’s online service is cheap, but you’re still paying for a service that doesn’t work as intended half the time!

It’s a good console, but these issues shouldn’t still be around

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Now, I do love my Switch. I think when compared to the Wii U or even the Wii, the Switch comes out on top. It’s had one of the best console launches in history and has dug Nintendo out of the hole the Wii U put them in. But these issues are ridiculous! Most of them could have easily been fixed in a way that would benefit both Nintendo and their consumers.

The company keeps using such dated technology and practices simply because they work. Nintendo fans (including me) eat it up, and the rest of the population just moves on. I really think Nintendo could do so much better with the Nintendo Switch. It’s a fantastically well-made console, but beneath that slim exterior, there are tons of flaws packed in.

What do you guys think? Have you noticed a lot of these issues as well? Or do you think I’m just being a baby? Let us know in the comments down below.

Jacob Buchalter
Writer, Illustrator, Graphic Designer, and "geek culture" aficionado. Jake B is an avid art lover based in San Francisco, California who has been hooked on video games and animation since he was just a wee lad.  As one of those so-called "creative types" Jake obsesses over art in any medium, whether it's video games, cartoons, or anime. Ask him about any artist, they're probably already in his bookmarks. Gaming is one of his biggest passions, and an industry he takes seriously.