It was probably, in retrospect, one of those things that's really only a matter of time away. New reports suggest that the Nintendo Switch is set to get a slate of non-gaming applications, which will come "in time" and include some of the usual suspects for gaming system non-gaming apps.
Reports note that Amazon, Netflix
are all in talks with Nintendo to bring out apps to the new system, and that should be a help going forward if Nintendo can get these apps in place with sufficient speed.
The Switch itself has already distinguished itself with both an excellent launch weekend and some positive reception from critics--though the acclaim hasn't been universal, the phrase "better than nothing" applies--but a few key features do seem to be absent as yet. The basics like Web browsing, video streaming, music and the like are out of the picture, but Nintendo is eager to rectify that as noted by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime
, who noted:
"We built the Nintendo Switch to be a world-class gaming device, meaning we want you first and foremost to play games on the system and have an incredibly fun experience. We’re talking to a range of companies about other services, companies like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon — things that will come in time. In our view, these are not differentiators. What differentiates us is the way you play with the Nintendo Switch and what you can play. And that will continue to be our focus into the future as we continue driving this platform."
If anyone else read that as "We were in such a hurry to get this thing out the door before the end of our fiscal year that we basically released it like Ford released a car without a rear windshield and a CD player," well, you're not alone. It's a bit uncharitable, but given how much of a problem Nintendo's been having with the Wii U, it's not surprising to see Nintendo in a bit of a rush to get a profitable new system out the door and frantically promising to make up the slack in updates later.
Having video and similar systems on a system clearly designed to be mobile, at least part of the time, will likely prove important, particularly as mobile users consume ever-growing quantities of video. Nintendo can ill afford to not be in on that trend.
Still, if the wait is marginal, this won't be much of a problem. Diehard Nintendo fans already bought the system, and stuck with Nintendo through the disaster that was Wii U. But if Nintendo doesn't hurry, it's going to lose casual fans altogether, and its hardcore isn't likely enough to sustain it forever.