Nintendo are not renowned for their online play. Microsoft changed the face of console gaming when they released Xbox Live, and while Sony—who have undoubtedly blitzed all competition in this generation—have developed a worthy competitor in the PlayStation Network, they are still playing catch-up to Microsoft when it comes to their online service. Nintendo, on the other hand, have barely even been in the conversation. But now, with the recent introduction of the Switch Online service that asks for a paid subscription, it’s reasonable to expect Nintendo to finally stand up against it’s competitors in the world of online console gaming.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was a great opportunity for Nintendo to do just that. The latest entry in the Smash Bros. series has received wide critical acclaim and has blitzed all competition in the sales department, but just when you thought this was another much-needed win for Nintendo, it’s hit a snag. Smash Bros. Ultimate online play is a bit of a disaster at the minute, with players reporting severe connection and matchmaking issues.
As a fighting game, a smooth connection with an instant response to player actions is quite important, but Smash Bros. Ultimate is suffering from bad cases of input lag, and people with slow connections are bringing entire matches to a stop. Not only that, but the matchmaking appears to be completely broken, with players being dropped into matches that completely contradict all of the options that they filtered for when searching for a match. Check out the tweet below from competitive Smash Bros. player, Leffen:
Super Smash Bros Ultimate really is something special, man.
In what other game can you have a 4 man match where Cloud, Joker, Mario and Sonic face off, with pokeballs and assist trophies going off left and right, despite those 4 players all searched for 1v1 no items.
— Leffen (@TSM_Leffen) 9 December 2018
Players are also seemingly feeling slightly misled by pre-release information for the game, with Nintendo apparently slyly editing their own support page for the game after release to state that online cooperative play was only supported in Quickplay rather than both Quickplay and Arena.
This is where Nintendo have always lagged (no pun intended) far behind the competition. They have a very loyal fanbase and a collection of astounding games—and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is right at the top of that list—but they need to step up their game and improve the online side of things if they are to take any business away from Sony or Microsoft, particularly if they are now going to be charging people to use their online service. After all, why would you pay for a service that provides you with so much frustration?
Nintendo has released an in-game notification to inform players that the first patch for Smash Bros. Ultimate will go live next week, but the notification didn’t state what issues the patch would be addressing. Let’s hope that some of the issues mentioned here are resolved.