the PlayStation 5 Acknowledgments Feature has allowed users to offer prizes to other players in multiplayer games, with the idea of helping foster friendliness and camaraderie in the gaming community. But Sony formally removed it from PS5 this week for a reason: no one used it. Most people (hello) didn’t even seem to know it existed.
This stimulated a thought exercise: What other game consoles still have useless features? Take the switch, for example. Sure, Nintendo’s hybrid handheld has plenty of quietly useful little tricksI like it its universal zoom function. But it also has some that could probably be removed without anyone caring, or even noticing.
The “Search Drivers” function
Of the plethora of options in the Switch’s “Controllers” menu, the “search for drivers” function is the one that gathers the most dust. Open it and you will see a menu containing a list of Joy-Cons paired with your console. Hold down the “A” button on the Joy-Con you’re looking for and it will chirp. Silent. On, like, animal hearing frequency. Its goal is to help you locate any disconnected Joy-Cons that might be out of place, but aren’t really effective enough to do their only job. Never mind that you actually need at least one Joy-Con on hand to use it in the first place. .
Unfortunately, there is no console feature that addresses the scourge of drift Joy-Con.
The “News” application
Most of the seven permanent icons on the Switch’s home screen are really useful shortcuts to submenus. One, however, is used only by people who accidentally click on it: the “News” app. Open it up and you’ll see a reverse chronological feed of digitized press releases from the annals of Nintendo’s marketing machine. (You can also see the three most recent “histories” in the left bar of the screen when you turn on the console.) But if you’re looking for gaming news, you won’t read it on a game console: which you’ve presumably ripped off, you know, play games. Especially you are not going to read it in that console if the text is very small. You are much more likely to receive your news from a favorite gaming site.
Despite what you may have heard, yes, the Switch does have voice chat! Kinda. It’s a messy mess. On PlayStation and Xbox, if you want voice chat to work, you… plug in a headset and start voice chat. On Switch, however, you have to go through a multi-step process and launch a companion smartphone app. Nintendo could scrap its voice chat without anyone caring. Really, if you’re using a smartphone app to talk to your group members, Discord is just there.
Everyone hates entering a password (twice!) to buy something on the Nintendo eShop, using the console’s tiny touchscreen keyboard. This workaround doesn’t work in laptop mode, but you can connect a USB keyboard to the dock and use it for typing. But also: the time it takes to pull out a keyboard and plug it into the Switch’s dock probably takes longer than whatever task you were initially trying to evade. (If you need to get to the eShop faster, justactivate the password requirement). Nintendo is likely to drop keyboard support without much of a fuss.
Screen lock (or, well, make it an option)
Yes, the Switch’s screen lock feature is actually very useful, dare I say essential. Turn it on and you’ll give your console a sort of purgatory between its waking and sleeping states. You’ll then need to tap the same button three times to use your console, which can prevent you from inadvertently turning on when, say, you’re crunching in your bag. Honestly, it shouldn’t even be an option: it should be the standard. Get rid of the choice, I say, and let screen lock be the standard.
I’m kidding! I’m kidding. But hey, on this note, wouldn’t it be nice if the Switch had more color themes for its background? Hello? Hey, where did you go?