It's no secret that the Nintendo Switch has been the best-selling console for the last two years. While there are plenty of things I love about this hybrid system, unfortunately, several things need to be updated and changed. Many of these updates should have happened long before now, too. With so many dedicated Nintendo fans along with a host of new Switch owners, Nintendo really needs to do right with its fanbase. Here's what Nintendo needs to do about services, upcoming games, and when creating the next Switch in the lineup.
Services and features need an overhaul
Considering how popular the Nintendo Switch is and that 2022 will mark its fourth birthday, the Switch really ought to have better services and features than it currently boasts. So here are the changes we need to see most this coming year.
Improve Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack
While we were all initially super excited for N64 games to come to the Nintendo Switch, it didn't take long for us all to realize that the new Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack was severely lacking, especially with its high price point. Most notably, players found the controls in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time to be incredibly unintuitive and especially frustrating since you can't remap them. Not to mention, many experienced a serious amount of lag that made playing it unpleasant, if not aggravating, during certain sections. Nintendo needs to step up this next year by providing the ability to remap controls and provide emulator updates that allow these games to run more smoothly.
We already know that additional N64 games are coming out one at a time in 2022 with Nintendo's slow-drip approach. And while I'm personally looking forward to Banjo-Kazooie in January and Majora's Mask later on, more games need to be announced for this service to keep subscribers happy.
Yes, licensing and copyright issues might get in the way of some of the best N64 games of all time getting ported over, but it would be ideal to at least get Diddy Kong Racing, Donkey Kong 64, Banjo-Tooie, Pokémon Stadium, and Kirby 64. Then, of course, if the right deals can be struck, GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark would be the extra cherries on top we need.
Playing these N64 games is immeasurably better with the N64 Controller, but Nintendo didn't have enough stock in 2021 to anticipate the number of people that would want it. There needs to be enough inventory available to meet gamer demand in 2022.
Better accessibility options
Many game developers and companies have been making humungous strides in providing accessibility options for every kind of player. However, Nintendo has not been making many moves in this direction. Yes, the ability to remap Nintendo Switch controls became available last year. However, Nintendo's big titles and services still don't offer as many helpful options and settings as it should for being such a big company.
Nintendo needs to step up and start including additional control options in its games, the ability to change difficulty levels, and the option to adjust visual elements for visual impairments and colorblindness and sound cues for hearing impairments and sensory impairments. Considering Nintendo tends to be the more kid and family-friendly console, it's frankly upsetting and disappointing that many AAA Nintendo games don't offer these features yet.
Online voice chat
It's very odd that the Nintendo Switch still doesn't support voice chat for many of its online multiplayer games. This leads many people to play Switch while using Discord, a phone call, or Google Meet from their phones to chat with friends. It's unclear exactly why Nintendo has failed to include this feature, but it could have something to do with providing a safe gaming experience for kids. Still, that's what Parental Controls are for.
Now that we can finally connect Bluetooth headphones to Switch thanks to the 13.0.0 update, we're one step closer to being able to chat in a convenient manner. Nintendo needs to flip the switch to support Bluetooth microphones and add voice chat capabilities to its games. If not all, then at least the most popular ones like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Monster Hunter Rise. After all, there are plenty of adult and teenage Switch owners who would seriously benefit from actually being able to talk with friends while playing their favorite games.
Information for upcoming Switch games
There are several games currently slated for a 2022 release, and we've got high expectations for all of them. But here are the things we need to know most.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2
Arguably, the most anticipated Switch game is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel. We've seen a couple of teaser trailers to get us excited over the last few years, but we still don't know what the plot is or even the official name for this sequel. Link apparently has new abilities, but we need to know what's going on with his weird glowing hand and just how he's able to go through solid objects in a liquid-like manner. In general, we need answers to give us a better idea of what to expect.
Nintendo was cautious in stating that it was aiming for a 2022 release but didn't guarantee anything. So, it would be nice to get an update that helps us know whether the game is still on track to release in 2022 or not. The first big Nintendo Direct of the year usually takes place in February or March, so with any luck, we'll get to learn more about Link's next big adventure then.
Metroid Prime 4
Metroid Prime 4 was initially announced at E3 2017, but in early 2019, Nintendo stated that it was unhappy with the game's development. As such, the company chose to start from scratch and gave the project to Retro Studios, the developers that had created the original Metroid Prime trilogy. While we're happy it's back in the hands of those that gave us such a great set of games to start with, this did mean that production would take three to five years from 2019 and likely wouldn't release until late 2022 or beyond.
Considering fans have been waiting for this game since the announcement four years ago, we really could use an update showing what the art direction and overall design for the game is looking like. It most likely won't release this year, but it would be nice to get a tentative release date, so we know what year to expect it. Until then, we've got Metroid Dread to tide us over. With any luck, we'll learn whether the rumored Metroid Prime trilogy remaster/port for Switch is also real in the coming months.
After several years of waiting, we finally got a teaser for Bayonetta 3 during the September 2021 Nintendo Direct. Our favorite witch shows up sporting a pigtail braid hairdo reminiscent of her childhood style and proceeds to fight an enormous enemy. Other than that, we don't know much about what's going on in this entry.
There's been some speculation that Bayonetta won't be in the game very long since she was shown being disintegrated in a teaser during the 2019 Game Awards, and her voice actor, Hellena Taylor, even cryptically tweeted something about fans needing to get used to playing Bayonetta without her voice. When fans asked for clarifications, she responded with, "I'm not at liberty to say." We need to know what's going on in this third entry to prepare ourselves for what's to come.
The original Splatoon made a huge splash when it was released on Wii U in 2015 and completely shook up the shooter genre with its turf war, painting focus. The sequel was also incredibly successful, so it's no surprise that we're getting a Splatoon 3. So far, trailers have been somewhat minimal, but we do know that there is a new sun-scorched location called Splatsville for players to explore, along with a campaign mode that features both Inklings and Octolings. Still, we need more information on new and returning idols, game modes, and weapons.
The next Pokémon game (Gen IX)
Historically, Game Freak has released a new core Pokémon RPG every two to three years. Given that Pokémon Sword and Shield launched in 2019, we're getting close to the time when we typically see news and concept art for the next entry in the series. If things are on track, it's possible the Gen IX Pokémon game could launch as soon as November 2022.
We usually get a Pokémon Direct in February or March that gives us an idea for all of the Pokémon games to look forward to in the year. That's likely when we'll see news for Gen IX if The Pokémon Company is ready to share it by then. There are plenty of things we need to know, like if the Wild Area is making another appearance, what the art style looks like, what the new starters and regional monsters look like, and what real-world location the region is going to be inspired by. There's plenty to get excited for. Fortunately, we'll have Pokémon Legends: Arceus to tide us over until then as it's releasing in January.
Improvements for the next Switch upgrade
With the Switch's success in the last two years, another console in the lineup is more than likely. There are several things we need to see in the next Switch upgrade, including the following:
The Switch has an abysmal amount of internal storage with just 32GB of space; that's only about enough room for about three to five large games. This year, Nintendo improved upon that storage with the Switch OLED, but only a tiny fraction by doubling that it to 64GB. So one of the improvements we absolutely need to see with another Switch is improved storage at least up to 128GB. Sure this would probably increase the cost of the Switch, but most players are already purchasing a microSD card to go with their console, so it really wouldn't be that big of a difference cost-wise.
An answer to Joy-Con drift
Nintendo has stated that they have been slightly modifying and upgrading Joy-Cons over the years to hopefully reduce Joy-Con drift. However, it's still a rampant issue that many players experience. This has led many players to seek third-party controllers that aren't as susceptible to the problem. Nintendo has been in legal battles and lawsuits and is currently fixing any Joy-Cons with drift for free, even if they're out of warranty, but this isn't enough. Nintendo needs to fully accept and tackle the problem by examining and reworking the Joy-Con design. Honestly, I doubt this will happen before the next-gen Nintendo console, but it's something the Switch has needed since its launch.
Switch it up, Nintendo
While I absolutely love my Nintendo Switch and take it with me just about wherever I go, some things need vast improvements to make it a better playing experience for everyone. Namely, we really ought to get more accessibility features and voice chat. We also need to get more information on the highly anticipated games of 2022.
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Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.