It’s an ever-present problem facing Nintendo during this era of gaming: online. I can’t count on one hand when Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has disconnected me and forced me to rejoin a lobby, only to lose my place in line. While I will mainly discuss why Smash was left out of the biggest fighting game tournament of the world this year, EVO Online, there are other issues Nintendo has to address with future hardware and software development.
Out of the initial lineup from the originally planned EVO 2020, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the only game to not make the jump to the online replacement… and it’s obvious why.
Connections are spotty as it uses peer-to-peer connections with a host for each game. The result is a mixed bag. Some play fine, and then most chug at differing rates. For it to be a competitive game online, Smash needs to be perfect for the players as if the game is being played offline or with 1 or 2 frames of delay. Others like Them’s Fightin’ Herds, SkullGirls, and the upcoming Guilty Gear Strive use GGPO, which runs on roll-back netcode. To put it simply, GGPO takes just the inputs that the players are mashing and in cases, the system predicts what move is going to be made. The result is practically lag-less gameplay, and fighting game players are calling out to Japanese developers to use this tech.
If Nintendo wants Super Smash Bros. to really be Ultimate, the game should be updated with GGPO. This would undoubtedly make the game way more competitive on the world stage. With Nintendo’s recent initiative of promoting competitive gaming with Smash and Splatoon, the company really needs to look at improving their systems and Nintendo Switch Online. Take back your underwhelming ARMS character and give us a good netcode! Also, if online tournaments will be the new norm for the next few years, Nintendo will lose out on the marketing that EVO and the like can offer.
Improving the online would also help more third parties to jump onto the platform. Call of Duty portably, for example, would be amazing, but with the lackluster Nintendo Switch Online platform, is the Switch version really going to give you the same experience as the PS4, PC, or Xbox One platforms? The friend code system is also incredibly outdated with long ass stretches of numbers and letters to add friends rather than simple usernames. The lack of achievements on the Switch platform is also a shame. While meaningless in terms of rewards, achievements and trophies can encourage you to play the game to a fuller extent.
What do you think? How can Nintendo improve the online gameplay in their titles and will you be watching EVO Online? Let us know in the comments below!