IMAG3633-800x498 Nintendo Switch Finally Has A Video Streaming App

Nintendo Switch Finally Has A Video Streaming App

For all the things we like about the Nintendo Switch, its lack of serious app or multimedia support has become increasingly frustrating. Switch owners had to wait four months for the first real media streaming app of the system, which was finally launched late Wednesday – and for most of the world it will be necessary to jump through the language barrier tire.

The honor belongs to Niconico, a video streaming app from the popular Japanese video service with the same name. This free app is now available to all Nintendo Switch owners, regardless of their home country. To download it, users need at least one Japanese Nintendo eShop account set up on their switch – and in good news the installation is not only easy but free. This is thanks to the Nintendo Switch’s complete lack of region-locking. (Niconico has previously released video apps for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS systems, but they are region-locked.)

The English-speaking friendliness ends as soon as the app comes up. After I installed and tested the app on an American switch, I can report that Niconico does the trick as long as the users with a complete lack of language options are good. You have to knock through the Japanese language menus before you watch your first video. This creates a free Niconico account that is connected to your Nintendo Network ID.

Once you are in, use what system keyboard you want (English, Japanese, etc.) to search for content after you have clocked a “search” icon to the left of the default GUI. English-language content searches were mixed; Band names such as Pearl Jam and TV series like Rick and Morty immediately brought out some English-language results, but they searched for other musical acts (Tribe Called Quest, Snoop Dogg, Metallica), which only produced short and often wrong results. Niconico also allows users to write comments that fly about the video in question, whatever time stamps they choose, and I could write words on a few videos. I have no idea if other Niconico users will see that I’ve written the word “butt” on their favorite American music videos.

Also one aside: this is the first Nintendo switch “menu” to include pleasant background music, which the switch home, settings and eShop menus are all missing. Someone who misses Nintendos Knack for pleasant ambient songs on the Wii, Wii U and 3DS will be thrilled in the Chime-and-Synthesizer-Ditty, which plays Niconico by default. (You can disable the menu music, along with the app’s more annoying water drop sounder effects, in a simple-to-spot “sound” options collection.)

Ultimately, I just had to knock blindly through three confusing calls before I came to a basic “search-and-watch” interface (along with some standard thumbnail lists full of game-related videos). I’m happy to report that I can finally see (some) videos of my choice on my switch, but the video quality is definitely ho-hum. Even the highly rated anime videos of the service ran on a 720p resolution that suffered under blocking compression and artifacts, while the above American content was generally closer to 480p resolution. You must also be online to use the app. Apologies for all the offline video hopes.
I was surprised how much I loved pulling my switch out of the dock to take whatever I saw in another room in my house. While I doubt that I will continue to rely on Niconico for serious media observation, this switch-specific perk has already accelerated my appetite for a legitimate YouTube option.