Nintendo's online services are known for being notoriously bad, but it seems that the Japanese giant is finally working on fixing its many issues.
While Nintendo is beloved for many of its genius designs when it comes to legendary video game franchises and innovative consoles, their online services and multiplayer support can be described as almost catastrophically bad.
Many Switch owners are feeling that Nintendo Switch Online membership offers almost nothing of value and the actual online services are driving players crazy with how bad they are.
Many Nintendo multiplayer games are plagued with online issues (Picture: Nintendo)
One of the main reasons why are Nintendo online services in such a bad state is the fact that Nintendo has not changed the system for almost 18 years.
NEX, the Nintendo online matchmaking service, has been around since 2003.
To put things into perspective, it is the same system that has been powering Phantasy Star Online on the GameCube.
Alongside NEX, Nintendo has a peer-to-peer networking library called “pia”, and these two systems are currently the basis of all online first-party Nintendo games, and they are responsible for many issues like frequent disconnections, low tick rate, lag, etc.
If you would like to find out more about these two systems, you can check OatmealDome's article which explains in detail how these systems work.
According to OatmealDome and a developer that goes by the name Thomas on Twitter, the heavily outdated Nintendo online systems are about to become a thing of the past.
Nintendo is preparing a big multiplayer overhaul, probably for games in development in 2020: every task currently taken by NEX is going to be switched over to NPLN. It's currently in a preview phase, and the Monster Hunter demo was a way to test how it worked under load.— Thomas (@thomasnet_mc) February 1, 2021
Thomas claims that "every task currently taken by NEX is going to be switched over to NPLN," and that the Monster Hunter Rise demo was used to test the new system and that this new library is currently only implemented in that game.
"It uses gRPC servers hosted on GCP (or on AWS, with GCP in front) - it's fast, and it runs on multiple regions, " Thomas explained."Looking forward to see the results of this effort, it's probably going to make the Switch's multiplayer much better than today's if it includes relay servers!"
Thomas says that "reports from multiple people" are saying that online play is "notably better" with this new system in place and that games work on mobile data/NAT environments, something that wasn't possible with NEX.
Nintendo games on 3DS/Wii U/Switch use NEX for matchmaking and a peer-to-peer networking library called “pia” (Picture: Nintendo)
While this is great news for Nintendo fans, unfortunately, it looks like the system is only in development for the upcoming games, and it won't change much for their current titles which use p2p connection, like Smash Bros. Ultimate and Splatoon 2.
- Read more: Nintendo vs Smash esports: organisers and content creators reveal the company's mistreatment of the scene
But ultimately, if this is indeed true, the transition will surely help once all the systems are ready, and going forward, Nintendo Switch players can expect better online features and much better online play.