Nintendo eShop: Still A Disappointing Mess

You’ll need more than one calculator to add up all the shovelware on the eShop.

Last year, I wrote an opinion piece about the Nintendo Switch’s eShop. It wasn’t a very kind piece. In fact, it was quite the opposite.

There wasn’t one single event that motivated me to write the article in question. Since the Switch launched in 2017, it’s been clear that Nintendo’s eShop, Nintendo’s digital store, has been going downhill. You only have to explore the eShop’s Best Deals or Recent Releases to find less-than-stellar titles for sale. By less-than-stellar, I mean mobile games with inflated prices that simply do not belong on a console. Cash-grab games that launch with a 90% discount simply to appear on the Best Deals section and, hopefully, be bought by unwary consumers.

I’ve already tackled the eShop’s lack of even a basic user rating and review system, which simply means that unless you’re buying a first-party title or a game from a trusted third-party developer, you don’t really know what you’re in for until it’s too late. I’m not naïve enough to think that Nintendo will suddenly add such a feature to its digital storefront four years after the launch of its hybrid console. This piece isn’t a plea for such an addition.

This piece is meant to be another jab at the Nintendo eShop.

Something doesn’t add up on the Nintendo eShop

Last week, a calculator appeared on the eShop.

That’s right. For $10, you can waste space on your Switch’s (most likely) bloated microSD card and install something that comes for free on your phone and computer. To me, this is the epitome of shovelware; a redundant piece of software that will never be used on the Nintendo Switch. Seriously, how many of you would whip out your Switch in the middle of a class and use the calculator?

I assume the number indicates the collective interest of Switch owners in owning a calculator app

An eShop divided

What’s even more disappointing about the eShop is its wasted potential. So many talented independent developers add their games there, but they quickly get buried by an avalanche of sub-par titles.

Granted, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with the concept of a store like Nintendo’s. The sheer variety of games on the eShop gives consumers a choice in what they want to play, regardless of style and genre. However, it still feels like the eShop is missing key features that are found in every other online store. As such, it just isn’t living up to its potential. What could that potential be?

The best example is Steam. The amount of choice is staggering and curated lists can help the average user find new games based on their favourite genres and playing styles. Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of low-quality games and quick cash-grabs on Valve’s platform too, but user reviews warn potential buyers away from such games.

Please don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy my Switch. The console has some of the most fun and iconic games in recent history on it. It’s legitimately the best way to play on the go and a lot of genres work really well with the console’s hybrid nature. But the Nintendo eShop is disappointing. Consumers have to navigate a sea of mediocrity to find hidden treasures without the help of user reviews or ratings.

I suppose the calculator could be used to add up all the money wasted on mediocre eShop games.

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