Ever since the Nintendo Switch launched in March of 2017 those who own the console have been clamouring for YouTube to arrive on the device, and that happened just last night.
We’ve been using the software since then and, well, it’s a bit of a disappointment.
This is because the Switch’s version of YouTube is not like the Android or iOS app like we had imagined it to be, instead it’s closer to the version intended for TVs and other, non-portable consoles.
In fact, when you load it up the first screen you will be greeted with directs you to open up a web browser (on another device, because the Switch doesn’t have a browser you can readily use) and enter a custom code to connect your existing YouTube account so you can share all your subscriptions, playlists and everything else.
Here it will even state that this is “YouTube on TV” and definitely not a mobile app.
While that doesn’t sound too egregious, it means that you are missing on all the great features that are available on the smartphone / tablet app. The two biggest offences here are playback speed and the ability to download videos.
While these two features vary in usage according to who you ask – video downloading not even being a free feature in many countries – we cannot forgive the absence of playback speed. At this point this feature is just as important to us as volume control, and we know we’re not alone in that opinion.
But those two don’t hold a candle to the touch controls which are utterly dreadful. Firstly touch controls don’t even work on many parts of the software. Want to scroll around the home page to find a video to watch? Tough luck, you can’t and need to use the joystick. Want to swipe up or down on videos to see more options or other videos? That won’t work.
Outside of that the touch input feels slow and imprecise so it’s recommended that you just stick to the physical controls on the Joy-Cons.
If you were planning on removing the Joy-Cons and using the Switch as a tablet, that is technically possible but it’s not a good experiance at all.
To cut the negativity here if all you wanted was to casually watch some videos on YouTube with the Switch in docked mode, you can do that and it works reasonably well, but this almost completely ignores the portable nature of the console.
All of these problems could have been forgiven if this software launched with the Switch in 2017, but a year later it’s a major letdown. Sure, these issues could be fixed but it’s another entry in the long list of problems with the console.
We’re not sure if this is a Nintendo or a Google problem, but we hope one or both of the parties make some changes.