The Switch's eShop Is A Mess

Every week, a ton of games come out for the Nintendo Switch. While it's great to have so many options to choose from, sorting through these titles on the digital storefront really sucks. It's hard to find what you want, or what you should be interested in.

Discoverability is a tough issue that seemingly nobody running an online gaming store has managed to crack. The Switch is the youngest console on the block with the fewest games in its store, so it took a while for the problem to actually surface.

Now that the relatively slim pickings of the launch period are long gone, I officially can't keep up with the number of games coming out every week for the system. As of right now, there are 624 items on the store. This means that if I'm in the mood for a new game, I have to wade through the eShop. It's not exactly easy to spot the games I'd be interested in.

The eshop offers just three major sections: "Recent Releases," "Games On Sale," and "Best Sellers."

Best Sellers is not a terrible option, as it gives you a sense of what other people like to play. Usually, anything on the Best Sellers list is worth your time or money. In my time checking out the Best Sellers, though, I've noticed that it usually features a small list of the same games.

You're probably not going to find hidden gems or games beyond high profile releases on the Best Sellers list. It's not like Steam, where on any given day one of the top-selling games might be something you've never heard about along with the usual suspects.

Games On Sale? The Switch is too new to really have worthwhile sales yet. Many big games are made by Nintendo, too, and Nintendo is notorious for not lowering prices. Most of what you'll find under this tab, you won't want.

This leaves us with Recent Releases. The section seems to update whenever there are new games. The first games you see under this menu are the newest things available, and while that makes sense, it's also a drag to scroll through such an enormous list that only gets bigger with each passing week.

Sometimes it feels like you're wading through a bunch of garbage you've never heard of before. Other times, you might be curious about a game but the shop itself does a poor job of communicating if a title is worthwhile.

Sure, there are screenshots, descriptions, and sometimes even video, but this isn't enough. Without some semblance of curation, user ratings, or reviews, the Switch gives me little reason to take a chance on the small indie game that looks kinda interesting.

You can of course run a general search as well, which gives you more specific options, like searching for games in a certain genre, or only looking up games with demos. This is useful to a point, especially if you already know exactly what you want.

I wish the Switch did more to tell me if I'd like a game or not. Which games do my friends recommend? Which games are people raving about - and how? Which games should I be looking at? Which games might be up my alley given the preferences I've expressed before? If I liked this game, what else might I like?

All the other gaming platforms - Steam, PS4, Xbox One - at least attempt to answer some of these questions through a variety of features and menu options. The Switch just plops a pile of games in front of you and asks you to figure it out yourself.

Now that every single game on Earth is being ported to the Switch, Nintendo needs to overhaul how the eShop looks and functions. At the very least, they are aware there is an issue - in an interview earlier this year, Damon Baker, Nintendo's senior manager of publisher and developer relations, told Kotaku that the developer wanted to "find ways to improve visibility and discoverability both on device and off-device."

We also saw Nintendo briefly test user reviews on the Switch. Here's hoping the eventual eShop revamp won't keep us waiting for too long.


Comments

    Yeah Recent Releases needs some Moderation, maybe call it "New & Popular" and only show newer games that are selling well, then have an option for "Show all new releases".

    that should weed out the mobile ports and but let newer games that aren't quite selling enough to get on best sellers have a chance to be noticed.

    The wii u nailed the console eshop experience, the switch has horrible discoverability.

      Wii U nailed everything, Switch undid it all :P

    The Wii U had a much better interface for its store than the Switch. The Switch stire is a frustrating waste of time to use, so I don’t.
    Bought one game off it (Owlboy).
    I’m overwhelmed with how terrible it is.

      Not even the best selling list? There are some great digital only games worth picking up there.

    I'm 100% digital on switch so this is something near to my heart. At least there is a sales tab these days. I'm currently having to make sure to check the store on a regular basis and put anything of interest on the wish list.

      There's a wishlist? I've wanted a star or check option, something to put a game of interest into a menu where you can keep an eye on the game. Some games I want, but not yet (maybe waiting for a sale, or until more reviews come out, until I've finished another game or even until I've got some cash to waste). I think I'll forget these things exists until they randomly pop up in the sales page or one of the random news posts.

      Last edited 30/04/18 1:14 pm

        Sure is, should be a add to wishlist button under any pricetag on the main page of a game in the eshop, getting to the wishlist is buried though. You have to go to your profile which is that icon in the top right of the screen and from there select wishlist.

    Discoverability is a tough issue that seemingly nobody running an online gaming store has managed to crack.

    I feel like Steam does a pretty good job. There's a constant barrage of recommendations, ranging from 'which of my friends want this game', 'which of my friends have this game', metacritic scores, peer reviews, and discovery queues that make recommendations based on the games you play. Not to mention a relatively consistent cycle of new game releases and sales on the front page. Now, if only other platforms would steal these ideas...

    NO-ONE has mastered discoverability.

    I'm not really sure what more the Nintendo store should have, beyond Steam style tags and the option to eliminate certain tags from displaying (which every company ever seems fucking loathe to implement; even Twitch and YouTube refuse to let me filter out Fortnite/PUBG bullshit, which basically results in me only ever using the fucking service for targeted searches or links from elsewhere).

    I'm never going to buy a racing/sports/MOBA game. Ever. There's zero point to showing them to me. They exist only to get in my fucking way. The same is true for 99% of platformers unless they've got a novel hook, like Dead Cells/Salt & Sanctuary. So let me filter that shit out of stores. Any fucking store. First one to do it is sure as hell going to see more of my business.

    Steam has been at this for fucking decades, and has still yet to understand how to recommend things to me that I might like. How the everloving FUCK would anyone expect NINTENDO to master that? They only just fucking discovered that the Internet exists! Their attitude towards online is permanently 5-10yrs behind everyone else.

    I use the sales category and the recent release categories on the Nintendo eshop and that's all I need. They do what they say on the box, and frankly, that's better than any 'featured/theme of the week/your friends with completely different taste to you are playing/we got paid by publishers to show this shit to you like your netflix tiles' fuckery.

      Show us one digital only store front that has figured out the problem.
      Some of the largest and oldest players in the industry still have a store front that is basically "You better know exactly want you want before using this store, cause you got no chance of finding it"

      Steam, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google... they all a chaotic mess that doesn't allow people (despite all the algorithms) to actually intelligently make their own decision on what they want. I see you played 1 hour of that game, so for the next 6 months we are only go to recommend that type of game, even when you refunded that purchase!!!

    Games On Sale? The Switch is too new to really have worthwhile sales yet.

    Are you serious, Patricia? Since when has Nintendo *ever* had worthwhile sales? You might find 10%-20% off if you are lucky.

      That was my first thought, too... then I read the very next sentence:

      Many big games are made by Nintendo, too, and Nintendo is notorious for not lowering prices. Most of what you'll find under this tab, you won't want.

        Lucky she put that there, or I'd be twice as annoyed! ;-) Stupid Nintendo.

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