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News about the Nintendo Switch continues to ramp up. The latest stories center around the home media aspects of the console and not everyone is going to be pleased with the results, given that there's one thing that will be missing from the system when it launches.
According to Business Insider, Netflix and other apps won't be available at launch for the Nintendo Switch. A rep from the Big N explained to Business Insider that Netflix and other apps won't be there at the start so it isn't going to be an instant multimedia replacement for an iPad or Galaxy tablet.
This doesn't mean that it won't ever have apps, it's just that Nintendo is doing the opposite of what Microsoft did when they launched the Xbox One back in 2013, which was focused more on being an all-in-one multimedia machine as opposed to focusing more on a core gaming experience. Now, Microsoft paid dearly being $100 marked up over the PS4, coming with the Kinect 2.0 bundled in (which had a bad rap after it was revealed that it could be used to collect and send data to spy agencies) and was severely underpowered compared to its cheaper rival.
Microsoft's original message was about making the Xbox One your all-in-one entertainment machine, which is why it launched with a hardy helping of apps, including Hulu and Netflix, and it came with plenty of multimedia features, such as being able to connect and stream a lot of content from various services on day one. The exclusive game line-up, on the other hand, was rather thin, and the first-party exclusives have stayed that way throughout its lifespan.
Nintendo is taking the opposite approach. They're focusing on a big first-party outing in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. They also have 1-2 Switch and Arms designed to be a dedicated showcase for the Joy-Con peripherals. They plan on following these titles up with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey throughout 2017.
Unfortunately, the Business Insider piece does not say when Nintendo will circle back around to the multimedia apps and quality of life aspects for non-gaming features, but they will have their Nintendo Network service up when the console launches in March. So between March and fall (when the Nintendo Network adds a service fee) we may find out more about when third-party apps may be made available for the system and how they'll perform. These details are likely to roll out during this year's upcoming E3 event, where Nintendo will need to focus on the short term and long term software line-up of the Switch, as well as some of the other QOL features that some mobile users would expect from a portable tablet.
Lack of apps out of the gate isn't too big of a surprise. If this were aimed at competing with the iPad and Galaxy handhelds as a productivity device then Nintendo would be in serious trouble. The main criticisms right now are about the lack of bundled-in software for the $299.99 price point and the lack of a strong launch line-up.
Right now the Switch is a bit of mystery in terms of how it'll perform on the market, but much like the original Wii the marketing is very clear and concise this time around, and the goal of creating a hybrid gaming market for portable and home console gaming has come across as very evident. Whether or not they can create saturation in the casual market by including Netflix and other apps down the road (and in a timely manner) will be one of the challenges that Nintendo will need to address at some point.