In his most recent column in Famitsu Weekly, Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai shared his views on digital services in gaming; his comments suggest that he feels console stores - by extension including the eShop platforms - could learn a lot from PC gaming.
Sakurai-san said the following.
It's become mandatory that each platform has its own built-in [digital] shop. So among those, which online shop is superior and offers the most incentive to buy from it? I would answer, Steam.
While Sakurai-san has only ever developed games for Nintendo systems, his praise of Valve's service can certainly point to areas where Nintendo's own eShop can evolve.
Sakurai-san specifically praised Steam's rating and feedback system, which discourages people from voting down a game simply out of spite; only those who have purchased a game are allowed to rate it, paving the way for more constructive feedback. On top of this, he also touched upon Steam's genre tags, accessible and user-specific search functions and recommendations, online rankings, achievements, wish lists and bundles. After these claims Sakurai continued to shower the service with praise, saying, "I write this because on varying levels, I have complaints with every other online shopping format."
While he doesn't explicitly state it, this can be interpreted as some of Sakurai's complaints with the eShop and, naturally, competitors from Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo has arguably been slightly behind the curve in the online space, though despite some remaining flaws its digital services have seen numerous improvements that have brought them much closer to current-day expectations and standards.
What do you think, would implementing some of Steam's ideas elevate the Nintendo Network and eShop stores to a new level?