Nintendo will continue to improve Switch eShop curation, says COO

Reggie Fils-Aime suggests improved eShop curation is on the way. He also reveals he mains Waluigi.

Jackson Ryan Former Science Editor
Jackson Ryan was CNET's science editor, and a multiple award-winning one at that. Earlier, he'd been a scientist, but he realized he wasn't very happy sitting at a lab bench all day. Science writing, he realized, was the best job in the world -- it let him tell stories about space, the planet, climate change and the people working at the frontiers of human knowledge. He also owns a lot of ugly Christmas sweaters.
Jackson Ryan
3 min read
David Carnoy/CNET

The eShop, Nintendo Switch's digital store, is a bit of a dog's breakfast, but Nintendo of America president and COO, Reggie Fils-Aime, says Nintendo is committed to tidying it up.

"Improving curation is something that we're committed to do and we've just taken some steps," said Fils-Aime, speaking to Waypoint.

It's difficult to find new titles I actually want to play because of the constant stream of releases and a lack of considered curation. The shotgun approach worked for the platform just after release when the store was relatively empty, but now that games are dropping regularly and the library grows ever-larger, discovery is becoming a problem.

The chief reason for that is independent developers have seen great success on Switch and there has been a tendency for Switch owners to want to play new games on the platform. You only need to take to Twitter to drown in "Is it on Switch?" posts. So it makes business sense to develop your game for the console or port it across. That's where consumers want it.

These new Nintendo Switch games are fun, creative and weird

See all photos

However, that's created some issues with visibility. In January, Gamasutra interviewed a number of developers, revealing concerns over players naturally discovering or finding their games in the eShop, due to a lack of curation.

Fils-Aime spoke to this by explaining Nintendo had already made moves to improve visibility, adding two new categories, or "shelves", that show digital-only best sellers and overall best-selling titles.

On top of that, Fils-Aime notes Nintendo's commitment to improving "off-device curation" which is an element of the Nintendo user experience that lags far behind its console contemporaries. It's been better with the Switch, but there's still a long way to go.

"We're working exceptionally hard to drive that forward with what we do on Nintendo.com and how we enhance search capabilities."

In the US and the UK, eShop titles are available to download on desktop or mobile, but this functionality hasn't been rolled out worldwide. For instance, the Australian Switch eShop lets you view titles, but you cannot purchase them and download them to your device. 

Watch this: Nintendo announces Super Mario Party for the Switch

Ultimately, although Fils-Aime did commit to improving curation, he seems confident that Nintendo's current eShop strategy is working.

"In the end I believe the reason that the independent developer is saying that their games are selling best Switch is because of, in total, that environment we're creating. Consumers are highly engaged. Consumers are looking for this content. And the activity that we're doing and will continue to do to help consumers find this great content," Fils-Aime told Waypoint.

One way to improve that would be to offer users a more curated experience, like many other digital storefronts currently offered across home consoles and PCs. In the Gamasutra piece from January, developers suggested looking to Apple (which curates an insanely large iOS database of games and apps) or Sony , who provide great support in other ways, including marketing and advertising.

In the Waypoint piece, Fils-Aime also confirmed he mains Waluigi when playing Mario Tennis Aces. I really took him as more of a Wario guy, to be honest.

Tech Enabled: CNET chronicles tech's role in providing new kinds of accessibility. 

The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.