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Debunking Criticisms About the Switch Browser

This post responds to some pretty negative comments about the Switch browser on this reddit thread on r/NintendoSwitch. Before I get into it, I want to lead with this change.org petition, which already has almost 14,000 signatures from other people who also want a standalone browser app on the Switch.

It's a lot of development work that they won't maintain

Actually, the development work is already done. The Switch already internally includes a webkit-based browser, and it is updated frequently. It can be accessed and used to browse other sites using custom DNS settings or through the social media applets. One such DNS server is (Switchbru DNS).

Browsers are a security problem, exploits could be released

While it's true that browsers can be an attack vector, as previously mentioned, the Switch already includes a browser. It also uses the browser internally for the eShop, Hotel login, Social Media sharing, News apps, and in some games. If an exploit were discovered in the browser, it would not matter whether it were a standalone app or not, it already exists. Additionally, Nintendo is able to disable the browser remotely (the "Supernag"), and would do so if an exploit were discovered (This is something they did on the 3DS as well).

Children can visit inappropriate sites

This is all the more reason that Nintendo should implement parental controls and release an official browser app to protect it with. If parental controls are not deemed a solution to this problem, then Nintendo has no business selling Hentai games on the eShop. The parental controls could even go one step further and allow only access to educational or homework sites as well.

Just use your phone or smart TV

This is the argument that I find the most upsetting. Not everyone has access to their phone at all times. Phones can die, be forgotten, or not be affordable in some countries. That last point goes doubly for Smart TVs. Restricting this kind of stuff, when it already exists and works on the console, is inconvenient for a small minority of people. I find it especially ironic that some people considered your post a "first world problem"– Internet access in other parts of the world is not always so easy, but even just being able to get to Wikipedia or Google can provide crucial or time-sensitive educational information.

There is no financial incentive for them to do so

The web itself is actually filled with financial incentives. Even if it's not going to be the reason you buy your console, there could be a whole world of online games and Switch-specific websites that users could visit. Nintendo could work directly with web developers and expose Switch specific APIs (They did this on the Wii, Wii U, DS, and 3DS... actually the Switch's hidden browser already has some undocumented APIs!), and work together with advertisers to make additional money for both web developers and themselves.

It should also be noted that Xbox and Steam Deck provide web browsers on their consoles. PS3 and PS4 did, but PS5 no longer has one that's easily accessible. Sony chose to follow in Nintendo's footsteps in this regard. I believe this allows Nintendo/Sony to exercise more control over their platforms via the eShop/PS Store, and make more people need to buy games through then instead of using seeking comparable website alternatives.

For example, it may be hard to justify purchasing an old retro game if there's a free online or open-source clone found on the first few pages of Google.

The Switch is too weak for a web browser

This is plainly false, although I can see why it's said. It has roughly the specs of a 5 year old tablet, and it behaves like one online. If you browse using the DNS, you can see first hand that it handles a majority of modern websites quite well. Some more complicated websites can produce a (dismissable!) memory error, but these limitations could be addressed and further optimized relatively easily by Nintendo in an standalone browser.

The Switch is a gaming console first and foremost

I won't deny this fact. It does also, however, also provides YouTube, social media services, emulators (via NSO) and gaming news. I believe Nintendo's reasoning is more about making sure that legally speaking, the Switch remains seen as separate from a phone or PC, which allows them to have tighter control over their platform.

I don't doubt that varying degrees of some of the above reasons are false either. I am still hopeful that one day in the future, we will see a Switch browser. But we're going to need a lot more people that care about it, instead of how many of the replies here are treating the issue.

At the start of the post I linked a petition, if you made it to the bottom of the post, here's an update to the petition that was made in April 2022, which contains similar content to my post here. I think that 1. informing more people and 2. letting Nintendo know that there are a sizable chunk of interested users increases the chances of an official one being released.