Why Is the Nintendo eShop on the Switch Console Still So Bad?

It’s been four years. Some of this stuff should have been addressed by now.

Key Takeaways

  • The Nintendo eShop on the Switch Console is a mess, but it doesn’t have to be.
  • Organization is extremely minimal and makes idle browsing a chore.
  • Limiting purchases to one item at a time all but outright discourages spending money.
Nintendo eShop logo.

Nintendo

As much as I love my Switch, there’s no denying that the Nintendo eShop on the Switch console is…let’s go with less than ideal.

The eShop on Switch simply doesn’t do the system’s extensive library of mostly fantastic releases justice. You could argue that it’s because Nintendo doesn’t have as much experience with digital marketplaces as its peers, I suppose. However, I’d argue that this makes no difference, since the company dabbled in the concept throughout the 3DS, Wii, and Wii-U eras.

I don’t understand why Nintendo decided to set things up the way it did or why it hasn’t adjusted anything in the years since. Redesigning an online storefront is a challenge, and updating would require taking it offline for at least a little while. I get all that. And yes, every second the eShop is down is lost revenue. I get that too. Still, I can’t help but feel like improving the user experience would be a net positive.

"The fact that there’s no shopping cart or some form of Mario-branded equivalent is baffling. If I want to buy two or more games, I literally cannot purchase them together."

It’s So Disorganized

Perhaps the most immediately apparent problem is the organization—or lack of it. Obviously, the eShop isn’t comparable to the clearance aisle of a TJ Maxx, but it often feels like a crapshoot when I try to browse. Thankfully there’s at least a search function, but that only really works if I’m looking for something specific. If I want to look around with less focus, I have to dig through search criteria menus—which doesn’t exactly encourage impulse buying.

The barest of necessities are on display, like Recent Releases and Coming Soon, but while these are adequate main categories, they lack subs. Great Deals has a Filter option, which is great, but it’s the only eShop category with one.

Best Sellers only lets you toggle between All Games and Download Only Games. It makes sense why Nintendo would prioritize a filter for stuff that’s on sale, but what about everything else?

And then there’s the Wish List. I’m very happy that the eShop has one as it gives me a way to bookmark titles that I’m interested in but can’t buy or am not willing to buy yet. It’s not exactly essential for modern online shopping, but it’s extremely useful all the same.

A screenshot of the Recent Releases in the Nintendo E-Shoppe.

So why can’t I organize it in any way? I can’t sort alphabetically or by price, I can’t view just what’s on sale, and I can’t even organize them by release date. Games are only displayed in the order I’ve added them. And why aren’t games I’ve purchased removed automatically?

Shopping Feels Bad

Less immediately apparent but even worse than the lack of organization is the act of buying something. Oh, it’s functional, sure. I can add a game to my shopping cart, give Nintendo money, and then download stuff.

I can add credit to my account via store-bought cards or top off my wallet with a credit or debit card. I can prepay for something before it releases and have it installed on my system and ready to go at launch. Know what I can’t do? Buy more than one thing at a time.

When I say this is the biggest problem I have with the eShop I’m not kidding. The fact that there’s no shopping cart or some form of Mario-branded equivalent is baffling. If I want to buy two or more games, I literally cannot purchase them together.

Instead, it’s a tedious process of selecting one game, running through the steps to buy it, then repeating the process for the next one. That, or try to mentally plot out the total, add the closest preset value to my account, and then buy everything one by one.

A screenshot from the Wish List in the Nintendo e-Shoppe.

Granted, this is made all the more frustrating because I don’t have my card information saved for my peace of mind. I’m sure buying on the eShop is a little less annoying when you just have to select Add Funds and not type in card information.

But even so, you still have to go to the purchase screen, select the dollar amount you want to use (if your balance is below the price), and verify—every single time for every single game.

Buying games on the eShop on the Switch console isn’t the absolute worst retail experience, but it’s definitely odd. It feels both archaic and obstinate, like someone who knows their methods are less effective but persists because it’s their method. I really hope this changes by the time we get to Nintendo’s next console.

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