The Nintendo Switch will hit the market it under a month, but there's a lot we still don't know about it. For one, we're not sure if the system will have a system for achievements or trophies.
This is a feature a lot of gamers have clamored for since its inception on the Xbox 360. Trophies (on the PlayStation) and achievements (on Steam and the Xbox) mark actions tied to video games. They can be stone stupid and simple, like completing a chapter or handling a minor objective, or they can be insanely intricate and unique.
These achievements serve as a way to attract completionists, advertise games through community and, this is definitely the case for the PlayStation, stand as a reason to buy and play a game. Yes, there are people that really hinge their PlayStation purchases on whether or not the title has a Platinum Trophy.
Nintendo's been cagey about achievements, but I think things might be changing. Let's explore why…
This game has achievements
Even though games on the Wii, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS lacked achievements, two of Nintendo's latest efforts have them.
First, Fire Emblem Heroes. The game launched last week on iOS and Android. Both versions have achievements. On Android, the achievements are tied to Google Play. On iOS, according to our own Sean Aune, achievements are tied to Game Center.
You can see what they look like in the image we have here. The bad news is that these are the super basic achievements that are earned by simply playing the game, not by doing anything special. The good news? Nintendo and Intelligent Systems actually added them.
Achievements are actually a requirement for Google Play games. Here, by way of Google's developer guides, is the official word:
A game must have at least five achievements before it can be published. You can test with fewer than five achievements, but you need at least five achievements created before you publish your game.
Thanks to that requirement, it looks like Super Mario Run will have achievements when it launches for Android in March.
Achievements, based on my research, aren't required for iOS games, but they are highly recommended. Apple gets it, quite honestly.
Achievements are a great way to track what a player has done in your game and to give the player more incentive to keep playing your game.
Nintendo had to comply with this achievement idea, regardless of their corporate preferences, in order to go mobile. That could give some flexibility regarding the reward system.
But it doesn't stop there…
Nintendo might already have the system in place
The My Nintendo Points and Rewards system is already here for their mobile experience. Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes and even Miitomo all have the program in place.
The gist is that in-game actions will earn points that can be used to unlock rewards. Rewards might be in-game items, discounts on digital purchases or, in some cases, full games. The latter is far too rare, by the way.
The system was created as a replacement for Club Nintendo. It was never framed as a trophy and achievement system, but what if it is?
I'd argue that, if Nintendo comes up with a great mission completion animation for the Nintendo Switch, the My Nintendo Rewards system might be better than what the likes of Sony, Microsoft and Valve have going. Nintendo's achievements would actually grant freebies for gamers, not just quick pop-ups. Microsoft did this for a while with their Avatar system, and it was wonderful.
This is by no means a confirmation. Nintendo hasn't announced anything relating to the Nintendo Switch and how the account system may or may not connect to My Nintendo Rewards.
But, if it does, we might finally have Nintendo's take on the achievement and trophy system.