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Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Thoughts about Nintendo Switch Sports Online Play Test without violating the GAG ORDER

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Let's see if I can do this without breaking an agreement.

Last weekend was the Nintendo Switch Sports Online Play Test... happening at very select and brief times during that weekend. As advertised in the February 9, 2022 Nintendo Direct. I played it for a brief sliver of one of those times. However, as part of being able to participate, I read this important note:
“The Online Play Test software is under development and might not be reflective of the full version of Nintendo Switch Sports. You may experience unexpected behaviors or errors while playing.
By downloading and participating in the Nintendo Switch Sports Online Play Test, you agree not to publicly share any details from this online play test, including on your social media channels.”

I thought it was odd that, during the Online Play Test, I could save screenshots with the Switch's Screenshot Capture button. I know that Nintendo can force-disable the Screenshot Capture button on select games and I figured they'd want to block saving images to prevent people posting about Nintendo Switch Sports. But to my surprise, Nintendo is blocking the later point in the path of publicly sharing details to social media: posting images to social media channels.

Nintendo Switch Error Code 2801-6005 screenshots videos cannot be posted to social media
I've never seen Error Code 2801-6005 before. It's not on Nintendo's error code look-up.
I don't see Nintendo Switch Error Code 2801-6005 as an “error”...
In fact, Error Code 2801-6005 is very intentional by Nintendo.
Saving images is okay. Sharing those images ain't.

Nintendo is supposedly actually enforcing the agreement and taking down content that publicly shares details from the online play test, despite the play test itself being... open to the public. Nintendo wants to put the play test in the memory hole. Everyone who played it—which could've been potentially every single Nintendo Switch owner—knows what they experienced. But we're not allowed to talk about it publicly or preserve what that experience is like. Compare this to, say, the first Triangle Strategy demo where SQUARE ENIX (and in cooperation with Nintendo!) very much wanted people to publicly send over their thoughts and experience on that demo, despite it being a primitive version of what the final product will end up being like.

There's something else I wanted to write about Nintendo Switch Sports that... is an independent observation of the contents and feelings of the Online Play Test. Take a look at this legal photograph I took:

Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Wii Remote wrist strap size comparison side by side
The Joy-Con is so...tiny! And that makes a difference.

In Nintendo Switch Sports, you're expected to be using a Joy-Con like you would a Wii Remote in Wii Sports. Sometimes you'll be holding one Joy-Con with two hands. But look how much smaller the Joy-Con is than the Wii Remote! It's just a lot more uncomfortable and difficult to hold a Joy-Con in this way because there's less... controller to hold. My claws aren't even big or anything (the opposite, really).

Also, the Wii Remote Wrist Strap is always with the Wii Remote. Meanwhile, I have no idea where my Joy-Con Wrist Straps are, and it'd be a nuisance to always have them attached to the Joy-Cons (especially since I mostly use my Joy-Cons for Ring Fit Adventure). Joy-Cons just aren't designed for that, and I don't believe that Joy-Cons are really designed for waggling movements either that the Wii Remotes were much better with.

I don't think that Nintendo Switch Sports will be the incredible seller that Nintendo is expecting. Reminder that people got Wii Sports because it was bundled. Wii Sports Resort was also a bundle with a useful controller upgrade. (People similarly got Wii Play for the bundled Wii Remote, not because anyone wanted Wii Play for its own sake.) Meanwhile, Nintendo Switch Sports is $40 digitally (obviously no bundle) or $50 physically (where it comes with the Leg Strap, which is good for nothing besides Ring Fit Adventure, but there is zero purpose to having only an extra Leg Strap) for a game with shallow waggle gameplay and features ugly non-Miis. These kinds of games aren't guaranteed successes. Just look at 1-2 Switch, which, all things considered, sold pretty poorly compared to what it could've been, and is forgotten by basically everyone.

Again, all opinions, imagery, and statements written in this article I can make without sharing any details from the Online Play Test! No gag order violated, folks.

If you aren't a Nintendo lawyer but you feel like this article actually does violate the gag order somehow, express your reasoning and specifics in the comments section. And if you are a Nintendo lawyer and feel like this article violates the gag order (or, while you're at it, that KoopaTV in general violates copyright laws), please close the tab and don't follow up in any way.

After the game released, Ludwig has more positive words for the Sportsmates besides noting they are ugly and not Miis.

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