When the Wii U launched, it was a multimedia machine similar to other home video game consoles on the market, supporting streaming apps like Netflix and letting players browse the web at their leisure. A few weeks ago, it was revealed that Nintendo’s next console, the Switch, will not support streaming apps at launch, and now Nintendo president and CEO Tatsumi Kimishima has announced that it won’t support web browsing either.
Kimishima broke the news in an interview with Time magazine. However, Kimishima made sure to emphasize that even though a web browser won’t be available for the Nintendo Switch at launch, it could be added in a future update. In fact, the Nintendo Switch’s capabilities could be greatly expanded after launch with the addition of streaming apps, a web browser, and perhaps even support for retro game controllers all possibly in the works for the system.
“Since all of our efforts have gone toward making Switch an amazing dedicated video game platform, it will not support it, at least at launch.”
While fans wait for a future update to add a web browser to the Nintendo Switch, the lack of one at launch may prove problematic. While few of the Switch’s launch titles support online multiplayer, Nintendo has made it clear that online multiplayer is a key component to its market strategy with the console. And since the Switch is a portable device, one would imagine that the ability to take the system to a restaurant or coffee shop to play online is one of its selling points.
However, many public wi-fi spots require users to agree to their terms and conditions through a web browser. Since Nintendo Switch won’t support web browsers at launch, it seems as though gamers that want to play their system online while out and about may be out of luck.
Of course, there are very few Nintendo Switch games in its launch window that even support online multiplayer. An enhanced version of Mario Kart 8 called Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is scheduled to launch in April, which seems as though it will serve as one of the console’s first major online multiplayer games. If a web browser isn’t available for the Switch by the time Mario Kart 8 Deluxe launches, Switch owners may only be able to play it online when they’re home, which makes its portability gimmick-less impressive.
Even though Nintendo claims that its subscription-based online service for the Switch will be key to the console’s success, it doesn’t appear as though the console’s online functionality will play a big role in its early months. There are only a handful of announced games that support online multiplayer on the Switch, and since Nintendo doesn’t plan on charging for its online until six months after launch, it’s possible that features like free games, streaming services, and web browsers won’t be available until then.
Nintendo Switch launches worldwide on March 3rd.