Sunday, January 29, 2023

Nintendo’s New Concierge Service Gives Surprisingly Excellent Gaming Recommendations

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Nintendo’s new concierge service decidedly not for someone like me – but I really wanted to try it anyway. Fortunately, after trying it, it seems to provide great service no matter who you are.

A quick glance at website makes it clear that its free, appointment-based customer service program is for people who are new to or at least less familiar with the Nintendo Switch. You can, for example, set up a 30-minute meeting to chat with a Nintendo representative about topics like gaming (getting started), security and privacy, or even just Nintendo Switch 101.

So not for, say, someone who reviewed Switch material when it was released and spent 500 hours in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Not me.

But even though I let Nintendo know from the get-go that I was a games reporter who probably already knew a boring amount of the Switch, Nintendo rep Adonis gave me a warm welcome during my session last week. and was quite ready to take me on a journey through my choice heading: “Games (what to play next)”.

Adonis knew I was already here with a fairly comprehensive Switch library, but I also told him that my visit was genuine. I wanted to know what this process looked like and wanted to see how much Nintendo’s recommendations were going to be reduced. Would he just recommend a few Mario games and call it there? Was his work limited to explaining how to access the eShop? Was it just taking Nintendo money and trying to encourage me to buy multiple titles at full price? What would be the quality of the recommendations?

Fortunately Adonis was patient with my unusual situation and invited me to tell him a bit about what I had played recently or what interested me to give him an idea where to start. I told him that I’ve been playing Animal Crossing and the Carto indie puzzle title lately, and I couldn’t wait to Bravely Default 2 in a few weeks and wanted something to occupy the time in between.

Then Adonis did the best thing he could have done: recommended that I play a bunch of game demos.

As we were on a video call, he offered to share his screen with me and showed me his Nintendo Switch, where he walked me through the process of navigating to the eShop and finding games by demo available. , then by genre (we went with RPG). He then started slowly scrolling through the games, calling out a few recommendations as he went like Trials of Mana, Octopath Traveler, and Cat Quest.

I’ll admit it – I actually learned something during this session. As someone who writes about games for a living, I rarely have a reason to casually browse the eShop. I already know most of the upcoming games that I want to play, so I never took the time to consider the extent of games with free demos that are out there now. There’s a lot! Much more than I had thought before, in fact. I quickly started jotting down titles on a sticky note.

I was also impressed that Adonis seemed more than willing to move out of the proprietary catalog and recommend games to partners big and small. Aside from Cat Quest, he also mentioned Grindstone and Wonderful 101, which he was delighted to have reached on the Switch after being missed by so many people on the Wii U. He also cast Dragon Quest Builders (after I told him said I wasn’t huge on Dragon Quest proper), Pokémon Mystery Dungeon (because I said I liked Sword and Shield and Let’s Go!), and the next Monster Hunter Rise demo since I mentioned my long distance partner and that I was looking for games to play together in co-op.

Oh, and he ended up recommending the new Mario game, but at that point I had a list that would easily come up to me for weeks afterwards. Bravely Default 2.

Although he named a few games that I had played before, I walked away from the conversation with a long list of titles that I had known for a while, but hadn’t given a boost for some reason. . Several, such as Grindstone and Octopath, were games I wanted to play for a while and just didn’t have the time. I spent the weekend diving in and out of game demos and have, with the exception of Monster Hunter (for which the demo is unfortunately finished for now), at least touched on everything Adonis recommends.

Nintendo’s interest in making its system understandable to people with less gaming skills is neither new nor surprising, but this latest attempt has rightfully impressed me. I expected to be told to buy a few $ 60 games that I had already played or that I wasn’t particularly interested in. Instead, someone who clearly loved games and knew a lot about them spoke with me enthusiastically and passionately, and helped me out.I’m browsing a system that I hadn’t spent a lot of time with to find new games that I might like. If this was my experience as someone very comfortable with their Switch, I can imagine it could be even more informative for newcomers who really have no idea where to start.

The Concierge Service is, for now, a pilot program which Nintendo says is only available in January and February, but I hope it will be successful enough and be useful enough that ‘it stays open longer and manages to get the word out to new Switch owners. If you have a friend or family member who is new to the game or the Switch system and wants some help, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Also, Adonis, if you’re reading this: these recommendations reigned and after work today I’m going to play more Dragon Quest Builders. Thank you!

Rebekah Valentine is a journalist at IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.


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