FIFA 18 came out on Nintendo Switch last week - and it didn't take long for fans to discover that you can't play against or with friends online.
Our Martin wrote about this shocking omission last week, and pointed the finger of blame at Nintendo.
"The Switch just doesn't have the online infrastructure in place that should be the bare minimum for any contemporary console, and FIFA 18 exposes that once again," Martin wrote.
"Nintendo's Switch doesn't have a built-in invite system, nor does it have a party system. The online service remains barebones, well after the console's launch and a couple of months after the dedicated mobile app - which we found to be severely lacking - went live. It's pitiful stuff."
The problem here is that the Switch doesn't have a console-wide service to facilitate friends playing online. Some Switch games do enable this. In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, for example you can create a room to play with friends. But the vast majority do not.
I thought it prudent to follow-up with EA to ask for an explanation for this omission. Does it have to do with the Switch and the way it works, or did EA simply not fancy it?
Unfortunately, EA's response is a frustrating mess that completely dodges the question.
- FIFA 18 on Switch offers Local Seasons allowing friends to play against each other across two consoles in close proximity to one another, and we encourage those looking to compete online to take advantage of online modes on Switch including FIFA Ultimate Team, Online Seasons, and Online Tournaments.
There's no explanation there at all. EA is effectively saying, get over it and play local multiplayer with friends or play the other modes. I pressed EA again in the hope of getting my initial question answered, but have yet to hear back.
The whole furore over FIFA 18 on Switch brings to mind the philosophy behind Nintendo's console. Should it be considered a machine for online gaming? Splatoon 2 fans may suggest online gaming on Switch works just fine. But I can't help but feel online is little more than an afterthought when it comes to Nintendo Switch (the less said about the Nintendo Switch app the better), and so developers aren't that bothered, either.
Think back to Nintendo's announcement video for the Nintendo Switch. This pitch to the masses focused on the ability to take the Switch on the move, to detach the Joy-Con and play local multiplayer with friends anywhere, anytime. Online multiplayer didn't get much time in.
And so here we are with FIFA on Switch and you can't play online against friends. Annoyed? Frustrated? EA has a solution: take your Switch around your friend's house.