FIFA 18 just launched with Cristiano Ronaldo on the cover, and gamers all over the world have been quick to try out the next iteration of EA Sports’ high-selling franchise. Fans on many consoles have already jumped into online gameplay against their friends, but Switch owners were met with an unfriendly surprise: FIFA 18 on the Nintendo Switch doesn’t support organized matchmaking. While gamers can play online against random players, finding specific friends to play against isn’t an option.
In today’s era of multiplayer games, having a bare-bones structure in such a large franchise comes as a shock. Truthfully, it’s no secret that Nintendo consoles have traditionally been neglected by EA Sports. The FIFA franchise has been absent on Nintendo consoles for the last two years, and before that players were subjected to ‘Legacy Editions’ that didn’t introduce any annual improvements aside from updated rosters and kits. Even now that the series is back on the Switch, the Frostbite engine is still absent.
EA Sports had already confirmed that many features were cut from the Nintendo Switch edition of the game, with things like The Journey’s storyline-based gameplay being absent. While EA Sports had said that FIFA 18 on the Switch would support online gameplay, few would have guessed the experience would be so neutered. After all, games like Splatoon and and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe allow gamers to find friends online, so why can’t FIFA 18? The issue here is that it’s up to the developer to put the extra effort into online gameplay, as the Switch’s online capabilities don’t appear to be as hard-coded in as, say, Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network on other consoles.
Switch owners hoping to play quick kick off games with their friends during their morning commute are out of luck for the time being, but there are some positives to take from the entire situation: EA Sports is once again looking at Nintendo handhelds, which wasn’t always been the case. The portable console port may feel pretty watered down, but as Liverpool fans say, “There’s always next year.”
FIFA 18 is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.