FIFA 18 finally launches today for Nintendo Switch, and for those of you who were hoping to go head-to-head with your old FIFA buddies online, we have some bad news. Apparently EA did not include any kind of party or invite system in the game itself, which means the only multiplayer gaming you'll be doing online will be with random opponents.
This seems like a huge oversight, and fans are understandably upset. The jury is out, however, on who to blame. It's pretty easy to point a finger at Nintendo, since the Nintendo Switch does not have any kind of OS-level party system for friends. It's possible to group up with friends in multiple Nintendo Switch games, but the parties are all handled by outside software. A recent article from Eurogamer's Martin Robinson places the blame squarely on Nintendo's shoulders, saying:
"It's worth noting that some games do allow you to partner up with friends - in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe you can create a room to play with friends, while in Splatoon 2 you can also join up in-game - but the onus appears to remain on each game offering its own solution rather than there being a console wide service, as is the norm on other systems. I don't think it's good enough, and I don't think the likes of EA Sports should be expected to conjure up something to get around Nintendo's shortcomings."
I see his point and acknowledge it. It is frustrating. The thing is, we've known this about the Nintendo Switch since March. There's a very good chance that EA has known this about the Switch since long before March.
EA went above and beyond to hand-craft this version of FIFA 18 for the Nintendo Switch, and its to be commended for that. It runs beautifully, looks great, and all reports indicate that it's one of the best FIFAs to hit shelves in years. If these guys wanted to add in some kind of software-based party feature, they could have done that. It would have taken more time, more money, and more man-hours. I'm not so ignorant as to suggest that it could have been "turned on" with a flip of a switch, but it could have been done.
We all know what the Switch is lacking. We've known. EA has known. As someone who is excited to go out today and buy FIFA 18, and as someone who wants this game to succeed, I'm still going to submit that if you want to direct your anger at someone for the lack of friendly online multiplayer, it's to be directed at EA.