Need to expand the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack library faster?

Expansion Pack platforms
Image: Nintendo

It is fair to say that the announcement and launch of the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack could have gone better. The Nintendo Switch Online subscription service was also not exactly blessed with an immaculate reputation before the unveiling of the premium level. While some of the YouTube downgrades may have been a joke from some, others have clearly felt that the offer is of little value, or perhaps protesting Nintendo’s approach to online services and retro games compared to competing services in the market.

The perspective on value may also be highly dependent on whether you play and still enjoy Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Since the premium level includes the genius Happy Home Paradise extension, it immediately makes a good offer if you want to dive into the content especially if you are using a family group to save money. However, if you’re not a fan of Animal Crossing, the dynamics will undoubtedly change as you are (currently) limited to nine Nintendo 64 games and 14 SEGA Mega Drive / Genesis titles.

The latter are fun, but the impact is certainly diminished by the easy availability of some of these titles through SEGA compilation releases and the various replica / clone systems found in Holiday Socks.

The Nintendo 64 list, meanwhile, has some gems – including Sin and punishment as a welcome and less common inclusion – but feels short. Nintendo announced seven games that would soon come to service, but there was then a relatively long silence before this week’s confirmation of Paper Mario arrives on December 10th. Let us not forget that there has also been criticism of the emulation so far, in addition to a frustrating lack of customization control at the app level.

The wait time and the addition of a single game, along with the greatly reduced frequency of additions to NES and SNES apps of the standard NSO subscription, has led to some views that the service is losing momentum. There is certainly positivity around Paper Mario’s arrival because it’s a game that fascinates newcomers and should hold up well, but it also points to a potentially worrying piecemeal drop feed of new games. What if Nintendo only releases one N64 game a month? It would take us into the summer of 2022 just to add the modest confirmed list of games and let’s be honest we wanted F-Zero 64 yesterday. [And Banjo for Christmas. – Ed]

It does not necessarily fill the hearts of Expansion Pack subscribers with optimism and joy for the future of the service. There are a number of popular N64 games that have had Virtual Console releases in the past that have not even been confirmed yet; say hello, Wave run 64. Rumors of data mining give at least hope.

That said, you could argue otherwise and say that a slow rollout is just fine. There are many games when you combine the NES, SNES, N64 and Genesis / Mega Drive lists, and realistically, many of us still have huge backlogs. Some of us – this writer included – will be complaining about games and then struggling to find time to play Paper Mario this month. A number of the titles already available are also quite large games, so it is unlikely that anyone has played everything on sale. Releasing new titles one by one gives each of them some time in the spotlight and also helps prevent the decision paralysis that comes from having a whole lot of titles to choose from.

We should also keep in mind that the initial wait for Paper Mario and its announcement does not mean that there is a precedent for the overall rollout. Maybe more games will drop before or during the holidays, maybe future additions will come in batches of two and three, as they used to in NES and SNES apps. It is possible that this is just the starting gun and momentum will increase.

In any case, there is a lot to consider when it comes to the NSO enlargement package. Be sure to share your thoughts in the polls and comments below.

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