The Nintendo Switch is building up a decent library of games, but there’s one aspect of the console that’s decidedly lacking: its online support.
So far, we know that the Switch is supposed to get voice chat functionality (via a smartphone app), an online subscription service that both lets players participate in online matches and grants subscribers access to a few games each month, and—supposedly—a virtual console similar to the one found on the Wii and the Wii U. That’s not counting regular browser support and support for common online apps like YouTube and Netflix.
Now, Nintendo has revealed the reason for the delay: The company is waiting to release those features until they’re perfect.
“As Nintendo looks at the overall online digital experience there’s a recognition that there’s a lot of work to be world class,” Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé told Polygon. “And we pride ourselves… We believe our IP is world class. We believe that when we create a piece of hardware it’s world class. We need to get our digital environment world class. And that’s what we’re working hard to do.”
Fils-Aimé specifically mentioned that entertainments services like Netflix and Amazon are “important for a device you can take with you,” and mentioned that Nintendo is working on them. However, he believes that the delay will be worth it in the end.
“As we were proceeding along development, there were things we wanted to do with Nintendo Switch online that extended the development time,” Fils-Aimé said. “When you look at the products [from Nintendo] that have been delayed, typically it’s worth the wait. [The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild] is a great example.”
Since this is the first time, too, that Nintendo is charging for such a service, Fils-Aimé wants to ensure that subscribers feel the price is worth it.
“We wanted to make sure that it is a robust, well-executed online environment, and for the $20 annual subscription fee, the consumer says, ‘This is a no-brainer. I want to participate. I’m all in.'”
Some features of Nintendo’s online services, such as voice chat, are expected to launch this summer. There will be available for free for a short time while Nintendo runs tests, before the full features launch in 2018.