Look, I know just as well as anyone else that Nintendo hasn't always had their stuff together when it comes to online services. The friendcode system is an absolute nightmare and is one of the largest reasons why I consider the consoles purely a single player option. Sure, I would have loved to have battled and traded Pokemon with friends long distance when I was first given the option. Most of my friends skedaddled right outta town after they finished college, and I did the same when I had the chance. So online was my best bet for keeping in touch with people. As much as I so badly wanted to do so, I just couldn't give in to Nintendo's obnoxious attempts on online connectivity. Sure, it would have been easy to ask for a friend's code on Facebook messenger or something, but the point is, I shouldn't have to go through extra steps!
Let me calm down for a moment here. There's one positive point to Nintendo's most recent online efforts. The Splatoon 2 section of the Nintendo Switch Online app, dubbed Splatnet, is actually fairly cool. It shows you all of your relevant Splatoon 2 stats, including your current equipment. There's also the ability to see which maps are coming up in rotation, and you can also buy clothing options for your Splatoon 2 characters through Splatnet. That's all pretty cool, until you get back into the rage-inducing parts of the situation.
To start a private battle with your friends in Splatoon 2, you first have to go to the Online Lounge in Splatoon 2's multiplayer area. There you make a game room and send an optional push notification to your phone. Move over to the Nintendo Switch Online app and invite friends into said room. This already is far too a case of far too many steps, in my honest opinion. Sony and Microsoft make it a single button option most of the time to add friends to your games. You usually just enter the game and hit some option that allows you to invite friends. At the worst, you go to your console menu and manually add friends from your friends list. Nintendo forcing users to utilize a separate service is just a recipe for disaster.
Nintendo's app requires you to have the app open and your phone's screen on. You can't navigate away from it. I don't know about you, but my phone has a hard time just running Google maps sometimes. There have been multiple occasions of being on a road trip where I've had to switch between using my phone and my boyfriend's for directions, as ours keep overheating. I can't imagine how obnoxious that would be to be gaming on the couch with a friend across the country, look over and realize that my phone is overheated or had the battery die, and realize I've been talking to myself for five minutes. It already happens with console chat options from time to time when Xbox Live shorts out or the PlayStation Network decides it doesn't want to cooperate. And that's within the same system! This is something totally separate.
I use my phone almost constantly to check social medias and the like. It's part of my job, I have to be looking at it. So using the Nintendo Switch Online app is pretty much completely out of the question for me already. Unless I want to get a separate mobile device just for Switch gaming, which is a ridiculous thought to even voice. I can't afford a new primary phone, let alone a secondary mobile device. By not being able to use other apps while chatting on the Switch app, I'm definitely more inclined to use another service. There are so many options out there too, Discord is huge and super handy. There's still Skype. I've even used Facebook messenger for voice and video chats more recently. Why would I subject myself to the hassles of Nintendo's app when I have so many better options?
It's really a missed opportunity for Nintendo. We were all hoping for much better online services this time around. The Switch seemed like the perfect chance to get what we wanted. Nintendo dropped the ball. We could have had internal online services like multiplayer games and chat with friends, but nope. That just isn't in the cards for Nintendo quite yet. Let's give them another decade or two, I'm sure they'll figure it out eventually.