We don’t know about you, but our visits to the Switch eShop have turned into a monotonous routine that goes something like this: hit the ‘Great Deals’ tab, scroll down while eyeing fodder for the backlog, wait for more games to load, scroll, repeat, scroll, repeat. Sound familiar? There's a gloriously huge variety of games available for Nintendo’s console, but if it isn't on sale, we probably aren’t seeing it.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. The store opens on the ‘Recent Releases’ screen, so we do get a glimpse of at least nine games that have launched within the last day or two. And sometimes we hit the wrong tab or the lag on the screen leads us to scroll down one slot too far, so occasionally we’ll see the 'Best Sellers' or 'Charts' list, too. However, it has reached the point that most of our eShop jaunts are simply a trawl through the sales. Even then, it’s very easy to miss things thanks to the huge volume of discounted software. So. Much. Scrolling.
Race to the bottom
Limited Run's recent example is an extreme one... but it shows the lengths publishers and developers will go to in order to get noticed on the crowded eShop.
Publishers and developers have resorted to dramatic tactics just to get their games on players' radar. Just yesterday we reported on Limited Run’s Revenge of the Bird King on sale on the North American eShop for a mere 9 cents, and developers have reported success offering heavy discounts and getting on the Best Sellers list as a result. Whether this practice offers a benefit for developers beyond the discount period is another question, and the uptick and impact provided by a great number of tiny transactions would depend entirely on the size of the studio. 100,000 unit sales at 9¢ a piece might be enough for a one-person team to stay afloat for six months, but $9,000 won't go very far with more mouths to feed and that's without considering overheads and other factors.
Limited Run's recent example is an extreme one - other teams have had success in the 1-to-5 dollar range - but it shows the lengths publishers and developers will go to in order to get noticed on the crowded eShop. As a tactic it's likely to attract an enormous number of downloads, if only from people with a few Gold Coins knocking around on their account. At the time of writing it's far from alone on the North American storefront, either. Mecho Tales is down to $0.10 and Hyper Sentinel sits at $0.12. Quest For The Golden Duck, on the other hand, reckons it's worth over double the price of Bird King at $0.19 and Anodyne and Xeodrifter have clearly got delusions of grandeur costing a staggering $0.99 each. The cheek!
There are more. In fact, right now you could probably get a dozen games for the price of a pint on Nintendo's digital storefront. They won't all be winners, that's for sure, but someone, somewhere made them and despite the great value they represent, there's also danger in devaluing all games while racing to the bottom. Who cares if you never even play the thing if it cost you less than a dime? And who in their right mind would pay the enormous sum of $4.99 when they could have got the game for just 9 cents?
The only way to get seen
Still, developers are resorting to this because it's one of the few ways to get seen. Visibility for non-AAA titles is a problem that’s been around almost as long as digital storefronts themselves, but it’s become more acute on Switch thanks to the huge variety of games, both big and small, flocking to the platform. Even big-name titles are suffering - we recently reported on a new 'reminder' trailer for Level 5's celebrated Ni No Kuni which anecdotally got lost in the crowd less than a month ago.
For Nintendo it’s a fabulous problem to have, but it’s something the company needs to address sooner rather than later. As a site, we at Nintendo Life try to cover as many titles as we possibly can and champion deserving games wherever possible, but the sheer quantity can be overwhelming. The array of excellent indie offerings on Switch has been a huge part of the console's success and third-party developers, big and small, deserve a fair chance on the eShop. Rubbish will naturally get buried, but it's getting harder and harder to find the good stuff.
How can this be addressed, though? Back in March we spoke to various indie devs who came up with various suggestions. More curation seemed to be a popular answer, and although Nintendo does a decent job of spotlighting different genres periodically outside the store (on News Channels), the eShop itself does little to highlight anything that isn't a top seller or brand-spanking new. The 'Discover' or ‘Featured’ tab is a cursory nod in that direction, but it tends to recycle games found elsewhere. A spotlight on genres or developers that included fan favourites, ‘editor’s choices’ and similar picks would be a start.
Making use of players' 'Time Played' metric was another suggestion, along with user ratings. Standard ‘you might also like’-style recommendations might be useful in helping games gain exposure, too. In truth, from a user perspective we’ve personally found those to be something of a double edged-sword on streaming platforms. It can be mighty irritating (not to mention patronising) getting served the same type of media over and over again – as if we're dullards that only like one type of show/music/game and nothing else. More often than not, the recommendation is a blander, less-polished version of the thing we liked in the first place. No thanks; show me something different.
Time for 'the Nintendo difference'?
Naturally, it's difficult to account for personal tastes. Perhaps, then, it's time for more radical ideas. We know that the prevailing wisdom suggests that ‘boring is best’ when it comes to storefronts (after all, why risk putting buyers off or confusing people with anything that isn’t a simple, familiar menu-based system?), but that approach is proving inadequate. What about a new spin on an online store with a peppering of that patented ‘Nintendo difference’? That may come with its own challenges, but the company is filled with the most talented game designers in the world – why not experiment a little with some new UI ideas for the storefront? After the Wii U and 3DS eShops, Switch is extremely conservative. Yes, its eShop is snappier, but it's a long way from fast and there's much room for improvement.
Miiverse is one of the few bits of the good ship Wii U that Switch hasn't rightly plundered
For example, how about mixing up the interface with some sort of radial dial system – you could start in the middle and push out into 'clouds' of genres, following threads to new games. Alternatively, the congregating Miis on the Wii U menu screen offered something a bit different. Perhaps they could commune around popular titles on the eShop, or carry items that promoted the games our friends were enjoying. Hang on, why is Tony's Mii carrying a massive axe and being chased by a gremlin? Oh, that’ll be because he’s knee-deep in Massive Axe Game 5: Re;ckoning - Definitive Origins Edition at the moment. What's Sandra playing on that comfy sofa in the corner of the screen? Oh, I forgot – Brain Training came out! I wonder how much it is…
Of course, the standard, relatively zippy storefront should probably remain available if you'd rather scroll through a big ol' list, but we can't help thinking that injecting a little Miiverse spirit could help diversify the eShop and get eyeballs on different games. Let's be honest, Miiverse is one of the few bits of the good ship Wii U that Switch hasn't rightly plundered, and there was a delightful quirkiness to it that we miss. The dry Switch eShop could be a more fun and informative place and really showcase the breadth of software just sitting there, currently hidden from view. Nintendo is one of the premier game companies on the planet – why not add a little 'play' to the eShop? That doesn't necessarily mean Mario should explore an eShop castle with game paintings on the wall, jumping into them to find out more... but is that definitely a bad idea?
We know that sounds outlandish and these 'far-out' proposals present new problems that a plain old list sidesteps, but the problems with the list approach aren't being addressed either. We're not suggesting that Nintendo can click its fingers and solve visibility issues that have plagued digital storefronts for many years, but there's a window of opportunity (while all these developers and players on board with Switch) to do something different and perhaps find a better way. Solutions do exist, and it’s clear that the drab menu-and-tab driven system is failing both developers and players. Nintendo is chock-full of incredible game designers and problem solvers - they should be put to use on the Switch eShop.
And if all else fails, at the very least let’s have some music, no? A nice, catchy tune to enjoy while we scroll and scroll and scroll. Whatever happens, something needs to change if Nintendo wants to maintain a healthy, thriving platform for developers of all sizes and show off everything Switch has to offer. Ultimately, it’s not just game makers that suffer; players too are missing out on fantastic experiences simply because they're hidden.
Reckon you can solve the world's digital storefront woes with a simple suggestion? We appreciate it's a big ask, but it's strange how no-one seems to be trying to solve these problems on any platform. Feel free to share your own ideas below.
The eShop seems fine to me.
Smaller outlets have to work extra hard to make titles that get recognition. Working your way up is never an easy task.
If there is a game you want on the backlog put it on the wishlist. Makes it easier to locate later and see if it is on sale
I like the eShop, I think its much easier and quicker to use than Playstation Store on my PS4. I only miss the background music. One thing I think they could implement is sorting system based on quality. If you buy a game you should be able to rate it, the more stars, the more visible in its genre or Discover-category. And Nintendo could also be a bit more selective in wich indie games they accept on the eShop. A bit to much crap taking up space. And bring Miiverse+paint-function back. I don't want to use facebook with my Switch. Also bring back streetpass while console is in sleepmode.
Yeah, it is.
It does a great job to give games exposure in any possible way:
the music... Oh the music, the legendary music which is capable of giving indie games visibility! And Mario going around and enter the paintings with thousands of games icons to find more, what a fancy and lenghty way to scroll into games lists!
The Wii U shop was great compared to the Switch. Not only is the E-shop so devoid of options, but it is now basically the mobile app store. More isn't always better, just ask Steam. The Switch is slowly adding features, but far too slowly.
Good points! I noticed that recently as well. Some sort of Mii integration would be cool too
Just have the Goose Game honk playing on repeat. Problem solved.
the eshop needs a rating system
There is a lot of crap. If there was a way to remove the crap titles so I do not have to see them while scrolling through the e-shop, it would make it easier to navigate to good titles. But besides that I do wish they put a popular games section, or even by genre. Searching for games is tedious, but I can usually find the stuff I want. The shop definitely needs work, but I've browsed the Nintendo eshop a lot more than I browse the Xbox Marketplace. Atleast the Nintendo eshop is quick to load
I would say that some filtering could be an answer. But it is not ideal eshop. Not that I know some ideal with games...
And option for some list with readable titles instead of decrypting names from icons. For me.. (.
@RasandeRose you got a down vote from someone and I don't know why. I was just about to type the same thing you said until I read your post. If there was a rating system in the eshop that was open only to people who purchased the game, every one would be able to search that too and some very old games which were highly rated would show up then too. Sometimes we get really great value in some game sales like the $3 for NBA 2k19 the other time which was an absolute steal, but most of the time, especially for all these games that go on sale for $1 or less, most of the time they are not even worth the space on your SD card. There are so many of these games that go for free or $1 on mobiles then they come to switch and then they are suddenly going for 5, 10, even $15! Ridiculous! Sometimes these games are listed as new or even on preorder and they are already on sale. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell that most of them are probably total crap
In the spirit of the eShop:
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For the record, Miiverse was the large network with many connected features, one of which was the Wii U thing where all the Miis gathered around floating game icons, which was called Warawara Plaza.
As some who likes games to be social, I think we were in a golden age of Nintendo when the 3DS and Wii U had Miiverse. I think we could quite easily enter another golden age, if only Nintendo would expand Splatoon 2’s player invite feature to more online Switch games.
They really threw the baby out with the bathwater with the Wii-U. Miiverse, eshop, folders - all standard on the Wii-U. If the best parts of Wii-U had just come to Switch as-is, we probably wouldn't be seeing articles like this.
I think the Switch eshop's paring down of display has both it's good and it's bad but the bads aren't irremediable. The speediness compared to the WiiU is much welcomed though the glut of releases do feel like I'm now starting to explerience more sluggish browsing than I recalled just trying to access the new release tab and others. The bad are thus also getting there though. You see how even top-ranking games start coming down the chart as soon as they leave the top of either the newest or "featured" tab.
In fact, having followed the latest few days I'd say it's literally happening in real-time to Dragon Quest. Just a few day ago it was solidly holding to the 6-8th rank among the best sellers when it was still at the top of the Featured tabs.
It's still in the Featured tab, but it just dropped down a few rows such that it's no longer visible without scrolling down and now the game has already dropped(last I checked) to the 15th rank in the best-sellers list.
I don't think a "catchy tune" is going to do anything there.
But one thing I always found brilliant on the old WiiU eshop?
The genre categories.
Searching for RPGs? Platformers? Etc?
You have all those tabs greeting you as you open the eshop with just a couple of new releases previews.
I feel that might be important because these days when I look for games I look either for A: specific franchises, or B: specific genres.
RPGs are a big one for me for example, but not the only one. Thus I feel a few "Genres" previews tabs as the first thing you see when you open the eshop might be one of the very best thing to encourage players and consumers to explore, on their own and without the need for complex "suggestions" algorithms, what's in the tabs covering the genres they like.
Honestly that's basically the only one thing I'd asks from 95% of the digital stores out there.
A very short "latest release" preview that I can click if I want to see everything that release, and then "browse by categories" tabs and previews.
You can probably bet stuff like Dragon Quest and others would rise up again if there was a fullblown "RPG" tab for which they could be the occasional preview image of the tab.
I liked the Wii Shop music, the remenissance of the original Virtual Console
The eshop is terrible, but please NO stupid menu music. The music on Wii U was horrible, and I always raced to turn it down everytime it started. If I wanted to listen to music I'd put on some music that's actually good, not some crappy background menu nonsense.
More than anything, there should be some quality control. The eShop is shovelware city.
@dartmonkey I love the question posed in the title.
Now that I have nieces, the lack of an age rating filter is a huge barrier to finding games I can play with kids age 5-13
I like the eShop as it is. I use my wishlist a lot. It’s more like a wish catalogue at the moment. And I use the search filter and search specific genres. Works for me. Music would be nice though with the option to disable it if it’s too naff.
I miss the star ratings in the eShop.
A bit more like the Netflix interface would be good. Where my wishlist is the top row, other rows are new releases, popular, genre etc... And you scroll left-to-right.
Put the game title under the image, as many titles are unreadable.
Let me permanently remove games from the eShop - I really don’t need to see games I’ve purchased or games I have no interest in, and they clutter the already cluttered store.
I really hope Ni No Kuni sold well on the Switch because I would like to see more Level 5 goodness make it onto the platform. Sadly, it seems like it was vastly overshadowed by coming out on the same day as Link's Awakening and Untitled Goose Game. I listen to half a dozen Switch podcasts and heard nary a peep concerning Ni No Kuni other than one or two commentators saying something along the lines of "oh yeah, that was good back in the day, right?" It also happens to be an RPG releasing in the blast radius of bigger RPGs.
Sadly, I use websites like dekudeals to find all the games I would want to play, and then go to the eshop from there.
The current eshop doesn't even allow you to share a wishlist!?! I mean, come on! I can't tell you how many times I've purchased a wishlist item for my friends on Steam. It is kind of my go-to move for birthday and holiday presents for everyone I know under 65.
It's still pretty terrible. I keep seeing the same terrible indie/mobile port games hitting the sales and front pages. I love indie games but these are the terrible 5 minutes job that are reskins of the same games over and over.
Its new impossible to find the absolute gems. Hell, even AAA games sometimes just get buried to the point i didnt even know they were out.
@JHDK I think the biggest issue is though we constantly see the bad mobile indie style games, the reskin of a reskin, somehow hit the front pages. For example, last year the Santa tracker was still appearing on the front of the sales page..in Feburary. Its stuff like that I have issue with. There are some truly good indie gems buried under mounds of mobile ports that are massivly overpriced and just terrible.
Simplicity is great. I don't want a lot of music, flash and stuff.
The only thing I think it really needs is more curation and user-fed lists (like star reviews and/or time played).
Best seller and new game lists are great and all, but I'd like to see that section have some customizing options, like best sellers/new games by month/year to go thru great games of days past.
@RasandeRose Actually, Nintendo is already getting a reputation in the game dev space as "Very selective." I know somebody who had to send his game back to Nintendo 5 times after making some changes before they allowed it on Eshop. I can imagine there are some real terrible games we've been saved from as it is.
I don't tend to give the eshop a great deal of thought. I research / discover games on sites like this, Reddit or Youtube and then just go straight to the game I want to buy. Quite often I purchase on the Nintendo website and it downloads to my Switch automatically without ever visiting the eshop on the console itself.
What Nintendo needs is a better search algorithm. Because if you misspell a game by even 1 letter it comes back with nothing.
Here's my idea... I think the eshop should be...a game! Yes, a Grand Theft Auto kind of game starring Mario. You would control Mario, navigating Nintendo Town as in Mario Odyssey, and visit the various districts to shop for your favorite games...
Wanna go faster? Hop in a kart and drive like Mario Kart! Wanna fight a little? Go to the Coliseum and play some Super Smash Bros. Sports? Drive to the stadium! Feel up for some retro/vintage games? To the Arcade! Wanna discover some indi gems? There's a district for that too! Why not go to the Theater to see the latest game trailers? Of course, fast travel is available, but's it's more fun to go the whole way, because there are some awesome, huge dynamic ads, posters, and other digital marvels to witness along the way! Yes, a trip to Nintendo Town will get you all the latest info! You can even listen to some Nintendo radio and soundtrack in your Kart! Find some art books and discover some videogame history and lore at the Library!
And you're not alone! The other players are there two, shopping and sharing their latest interests as well as showcasing their costumes, medals, and other outstanding achievements. Yes, Nintendo Town's the way to go, that would be awesome, don't you think?
I'd love to know what my "play time" is in the eshop (you could do this on the 3ds!). I spend ages in there pondering over my next purchase, and arranging my wish list!
Honestly I agree music would be a big help. I really miss the Wii Shop Channel music. It made shopping on there feel more like an event.
Wii U: not enough quality titles.
Switch: a literal deluge of games, to the point there is so much white noise that finding good games becomes a chore.
There are way too many shovel ware titles, and without a solid refund policy or a user review feature it makes this iteration of the eShop questionable.
I like the way I can only see new games and games on sale. It encourages discounts, which in some cases, may help address the overpricing of games on the Switch. I want to forget about a lot of Capcom games, until they make a realistic offer. 59.99 is not a reasonable price for any game, especially as a digital download that has much less retail and manufacturing cost.
It's soon 3000 games on eShop, so there is not much improvement you can do on the shop. It takes long to to scroll all games no matter.
As of today i still don't know about all games on Switch, but i do if they come on sale as that list is only 100+/- games.
While I don't think the e-shop needs to be developed with the bloat of a multi million dollar movie, I do wish more creativity was put into it. A middle ground of simple and entertaining can be found.
Wow, the suggestions in the "Nintendo difference" section are TERRIBLE! Please don't do any of that Nintendo!
The eShop is great, Clean and simple. It DOES need better sorting and reviews/ratings.
I love it the way it is. I'm usually scrolling down a genre on the search feature, while I watch something like YouTube or CNN. It's simple. But if I could visit a storefront that I can walk with my mii... I would really like that.
Yeah, the first paragraph of this article is very familiar! Definitely want a rating system and if they think that is not accurate because of bad tempered children rating down games they can't win or some message they don't like being in them, then perhaps the play time system or really the best would be the option to scroll by both.
When the Switch launched, I seriously thought that the eshop was just a basic temporary version until they had more games on the platform.
I would add featured games from several categories: first party, third party and indie. I would add "flash sales" games that randomly go on sale for like, one hour and during that time, are featured on the front page.
Also the basic orange and white is boring, they could change it up in different categories and even have seasonal themes that would add some flavor and life.
But I do agree they should still keep things simple. The Wii U UI had a lot of neat ideas, but it also had a lot of junk slowing it down and things that were counter-intuitive.
I agree about there being some eShop tunes to listen to as I browse. Get the person responsible for the Wii VC theme and early 3DS eShop tunes. Skip the later 3DS and Wii U styles though. They have zero charm in my opinion.
@Totaldude911 Well, we should have been saved from games such as radiation island/Radiation City aswell
I think it would help if Nintendo, when doing it's genre roundups in the news channels , wouldn'tallways show the same old games (especially Nintendo games),
And also look at recent apple efforts, which combines the store with a bit of editorial, which helps the discovery of new games...
My method is to add games to my wishlist, mainly based on nlife reviews and comments, then occasionally I'll scroll through my wishlist to see what's on sale. Having said that, my backlog is big enough that I should just ignore the sales for a while...
As the library grows I am trying to be more picky - I might like the sound of a game, but I try and ask myself 'are there already similar games on my wishlist that I would rather play than this one'. I could probably do with cleaning it up a bit, there will be games that I put on there 2 years ago which I wouldn't get now simply because there are other games that i would now rather play.
I agree though, if you buy more games than me, or you don't base decisions on reviews etc, then discoverability is an issue.
I'd love to be able to rate the games that I buy and have a separate feed that shows similar games to my most liked titles.
It would also be pretty interesting to have a section that shows the games that your connected Nintendo friends have and are playing.
I've definitely experienced finding a new game to play by seeing a Title flash up that one of my friends was currently playing. I've also had people say "Oh, I saw you were playing X, would you recommend it?".
I feel Nintendo has always fostered a more community driven approach and it would be brilliant for them to build something that utilizes this in the Eshop
The "Discover" tab should be default and it should stop showing games already owned. At the very least.
I think the news channels are supposed to work for this as well
I would be totally lost in the eShop if I didn't peruse gaming websites on the regular. As others have said, better curation is needed, like lists based on Star Reviews + Genres; Star Reviews + Time Played; Best Sellers + Genres; Best Sellers + Star Reviews, etc. Every category could be toggled and combined to further filter the list to your preferences.
A mixture of the Miiverse UI and eShop's simplicity wouldn't be a bad idea. Big floating category toggles could be tapped on or off with the simple list in the center.
Or have a section called Downstream where you can see games that have been bought within a 24-hour period to see what people are actually buying in real time. Design it like a river/pond with Kirby fishing for a good game.
I totally agree, the Switch eshop is super sluggish and a UX nightmare.
The Wii U eshop was waaaaay easier to navigate in comparison, which says a lot.
But then again, the Switch's main UI is also terrible, whereas the Wii U's home menu offered folders and customization.
It's weird how Nintendo made so many steps backwards with the Switch (others would be: lack of Miiverse/message system, browser and video apps).
They could easily just take a page out of the UI's and online shops for smartphones, or just build something similar to what the Wii U had, or come up with something new and really good like the article suggests.
Just end this nightmare already, the Switch's UI is a desaster.
@RasandeRose I've seen those games. I have no idea how those slipped through.
I wouldn’t mind a screen that had more titles listed but with less information (like less pictures and more just text) that way I could see on one screen a few columns that could all fit width wise on one screen and then list them out to 100-200 which I would have to scroll down to see more. However, since it would just be basically a list with a link to the eshop page for that game you could fit about 20 items in each column. Within that list it would also be nice to be able to have the option to check one of two boxes for each game. One would add to wish list. The other would add to an interested list. I am sure this is not in line with the solutions everyone else had but for me I would like to be able to see the new, best selling, featured, and discounted game columns all on one page 20 at a time for each and then scroll down by page to see the rest.
I think all the article suggestions could work on Google play as well, like store music options and something miiverse'ish and my play loyalty Points etc. ... !
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