It's always a popular — and accurate — go-to joke that Nintendo's online offering will be largely similar to whatever Xbox and PlayStation did a decade ago. Harsh, but often fair. Maybe, just maybe that's started to change in the Switch era.
Now, let's be upfront and say Nintendo is still on the cautious side when it comes to online technology. We still have no voice chat, unless you want to subject yourself to the mobile app for a small number of games. Some will also argue that the subscription service on offer with Nintendo Switch Online and its Expansion Pack don't offer enough value but... let's leave that for other times, shall we?
Actually, maybe Nintendo needs a little bit of defending for some of the improvements we've seen in this Switch generation. For one thing the Gold Points systems is vastly underrated, in which every eShop purchase - and physical retail cartridges if you register them manually - earns you discounts. It's easy to forget they're accumulating, and in relatively little time you may be able to have a cheeky $5 off a purchase, it's quite a generous loyalty scheme.
The Nintendo Switch Online vouchers are also worth a mention, especially if there are some retail games that you're happy to have as a download rather than in a nice little box. In the UK a set of two vouchers is £84, so that's two £49.99/£59.99 games at £42 a time. With so much entertainment vying for our money, and the fact Nintendo games are so rarely discounted, it's a good way to get Nintendo's games (and some from partners like Square Enix) for less.
It's all a step up compared to past generations, and as we've highlighted before Nintendo clearly sees the positives of online and subscription services for its business. The latest addition, this week, is NSO Missions and Rewards, which you can find in the service's HOME screen app as a means to earn Platinum Points.
This is cool thanks to the relatively recent revival of My Nintendo. It wasn't so long ago that My Nintendo lost its purpose for some, as it was heavily focused on mobile games and virtual goods. Now, though, physical rewards are back, and we're back to old-school Nintendo days of paying shipping for poster sets and cartridge cases, except now we use our Platinum Points to redeem them. If you don't play the company's mobile games or visit the My Nintendo hub often, though, there haven't been many ways to earn that currency.
it is very similar to how Microsoft Rewards and Game Pass Quests work, especially on console... Compared to the depth of Microsoft's options, this Nintendo Rewards system is very basic, but it's a start.
That changes with these missions, which bring a chance for more of us to earn Platinum points with relatively little effort. The first set of Missions includes three that last for a week, and one for a month. If you have NSO you can clear them all in a matter of minutes by just playing a game, and at some point playing Super Mario Bros. in the NES app. It's a little glitchy early on — it took a day for this scribe's Mario Bros. mission to 'pop' — but it works. Of course, if you don't want physical rewards from My Nintendo there are NSO icons to pick up too, though the absence of a Wedding Bowser in the Super Mario range is a grave, grave oversight.
It perhaps has been influenced by Steam to a degree, and is very similar to how Microsoft Rewards and Game Pass Quests work, especially on console. In the Xbox offerings you're encouraged to try different games, earn achievements, complete specific tasks across Microsoft services etc to earn points. You then use those points for vouchers, Game Pass months etc. Compared to the depth of options there, this Nintendo Rewards system is very basic, but it's a start.
Initiatives like this, ultimately, are there to increase the value of our subscriptions and to keep us engaged. On that score it's a beginning, but little more than that. The slow turnover of missions and how easy they are to complete means it's something that will be done and then forgotten within 5 minutes. The idea is sound, though, and it'll be fun to check in at the start of each week to see what missions have been posted. There's a lot of scope for it to become far more interesting.
Those are some of our initial thoughts, but what about you? Let us know what you make of the NSO Missions and Rewards in the polls and comments below.