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Friday, May 31, 2019

Nintendo Doesn't Care About Mobile App Support

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - ...And then I get a “new” phone. Plus, a tangent to remember.

You may remember the rant at the beginning of this month about how Nintendo, among other gaming hardware companies, is requiring an external mobile app for full functionality to use their supposedly all-in-one gaming systems. If you got through the article, you learned that I actually do own a smartphone... but it's so old (a Samsung Galaxy S3), that it's incompatible with those gaming company mobile apps.

That includes the Nintendo Switch Online app, which used to be compatible until it got an “upgrade” for Smash World, the content-sharing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate section. I'm particularly puzzled for why Nintendo couldn't incorporate Smash World without increasing the minimum-required Android version, but more technologically-complicated apps like Facebook and YouTube are backwards compatible.

In my curiosity to get an answer to this question, I went and e-mailed the provided Nintendo mobile support e-mail address,

I own an Android smartphone that can only go up to Android version 4.4.2 and I used to be able to use the Nintendo Switch Online app, mostly for the Splatoon 2 portion. Now I know that it's been updated in April with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate content, and now the whole app requires Android version 5.0 or up to use.

Is there any particular reason why the new update requires a more recent Android OS, and what's stopping usage from an earlier version? Do you have any advice for me?


Ludwig Von Koopa

I got a quick reply from Nintendo. Here's their response:

“Dear Ludwig ,

Thank you for reaching out the Nintendo Contact Center concerning the Nintendo Switch Online app.

Our service mostly take care of My Nintendo and Nintendo Accounts.

Therefore, please contact us with following link in order to better assist you :

Thank you for your understanding, I wish you a good day.

Kind regards.

Nintendo Contact Center”

Alright, so the Nintendo Switch Online mobile support app e-mail address doesn't actually do support for the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app. Huh. I'm not the only one who finds that weird, right?

I'll have you know that Sergio's Americas support hyperlink is broken because of his failed non-breaking space attempt. Strike one. 

Then when you actually go to what he meant to link to, you'll notice that there's no category for anything mobile-related in the Products & Services tab, or the Corporate tab. That means there's no place I can actually ask my question. Strike two. 

Okay, how about Techsider, the tech support Nintendo-administered forum? There's a community for Games & Apps there under the Browse Communities header! That sounds like what I'm looking for. But when you try to click it, you get brought to a 404 error stating the page isn't found. Strike three.

It's clear Nintendo doesn't want to answer my question... or any question relating to their mobile presence. Maybe because it's inherently shameful that they're outsourcing communication features to third-party hardware. Well, those apps are still your products, Nintendo. You can't outsource the support, too. (...Or, you can outsource the support, but they gotta at least claim to be working for Nintendo.)

Ultimately it's an unresolved question, but I'm no longer dealing with it. That's right, I got another, more recent hand-me-down smartphone: A Samsung Galaxy S6. This one can go up to Android version 7.0. That should be high enough to last me several years, right? Anyway, after going through a relatively painless (and free) process with Verizon, my phone number got transferred from my old phone to this one, and then with the Samsung Smart Switch app (no relation to the Nintendo Switch), I transferred all of the information.

Here's evidence:

Splatoon 2 Teleportation King Splatfest results Nintendo Switch Online app
This screenshot from the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app is for the Time Travel vs. Teleportation Splatfest results.
One could only take the screenshot after the Splatfest, which is way after the app updated.
...By the way, my average clout of 2638.722 is way higher than Team Teleportation's average of 1748.827.
I'm proud to report that I raised our team average higher! (And that we WON!)

In the end, you could say that the bad guys won here. I had to do the anti-consumer activity of getting a new phone with similar functionality just to stay ahead of planned obsolescence. That's just the way the universe is sometimes. Simultaneously while I was writing this article today, there was a big shooting at Virginia Beach by a disgruntled public utilities employee. 12 presumably-innocent people were murdered. The shooter got killed too, but he won overall.

...And it's a bit strange for me to admit this, but I kind of willed this to happen. Here's what I wrote in KoopaTV's private Discord server yesterday:

[7:56 PM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Oh yeah, aren't we due for an E3 massacre soon?
And then less than 24 hours later, the pre-E3 massacre of 2019 occurred. I called it.

...And now I can call others with a new phone on a higher Android version. With greater communication powers come greater perils to society.

My bad. 

Ludwig knows that the article ends with a bad moral, a huge tangent, and simultaneously portrays the author as a callous meanie, but that's just the way things are. Perhaps if Nintendo offered actual mobile support, it would make all of this have a very different outcome via the butterfly effect. It's all a matter of investigation, but since KoopaTV failed in investigating the cause of Nintendo's backwards incompatibility, then KoopaTV will leave the criminal investigations to the local authorities.

If you're unaware of the pre-E3 massacre tradition, this article sums it up pretty well.
Even if your phone meets a game's minimum requirements, it might not work anyway just because. 


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