@gloomymar you can send it but the dot that says it delivered never leaves
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BrowseDNS - Enable Access to the Open Internet
Ways to Browse the Internet on Various Devices
Homebrewing Your Wii U - How? Why?
A List of Wii U Development Resources
I came across this reddit post on r/NintendoSwitch about why the Switch should have a web browser, and although the author's tone is a bit aggressive, the replies are even more so! A lot of people adamantly listing a lot of false reasons that the Switch shouldn't have a standalone browser app.
My responses to these reasons are as follows:
You are correct. This is an older thread, but I'm going to respond to some common stuff people have said here. Before I get into it, I want to lead with this change.org petition, which already has almost 14,000 signatures from other people who also want a standalone browser app on the Switch.
"It's a lot of development work that they won't maintain"
Actually, the development work is already done. The Switch already internally includes a webkit-based browser, and it is updated frequently. It can be accessed and used to browse other sites using custom DNS settings or through the social media applets. One such DNS server is 22.214.171.124 (Switchbru DNS).
"Browsers are a security problem, exploits could be released"
While it's true that browsers can be an attack vector, as previously mentioned, the Switch already includes a browser. It also uses the browser internally for the eShop, Hotel login, Social Media sharing, News apps, and in some games. If an exploit were discovered in the browser, it would not matter whether it were a standalone app or not, it already exists. Additionally, Nintendo is able to disable the browser remotely (the "Supernag"), and would do so if an exploit were discovered (This is something they did on the 3DS as well).
"Children could visit inappropriate sites"
This is all the more reason that Nintendo should implement parental controls and release an official browser app to protect it with. If parental controls are not deemed a solution to this problem, then Nintendo has no business selling Hentai games on the eShop. The parental controls could even go one step further and allow only access to educational or homework sites as well.
"Just use your phone or smart TV"
This is the argument that I find the most upsetting. Not everyone has access to their phone at all times. Phones can die, be forgotten, or not be affordable in some countries. That last point goes doubly for Smart TVs. Restricting this kind of stuff, when it already exists and works on the console, is inconvenient for a small minority of people. I find it especially ironic that some people considered your post a "first world problem"– Internet access in other parts of the world is not always so easy, but even just being able to get to Wikipedia or Google can provide crucial or time-sensitive educational information.
"There is no financial incentive for them to do so"
The web itself is actually filled with financial incentives. Even if it's not going to be the reason you buy your console, there could be a whole world of online games and Switch-specific websites that users could visit. Nintendo could work directly with web developers and expose Switch specific APIs (They did this on the Wii, Wii U, DS, and 3DS... actually the Switch's hidden browser already has some undocumented APIs!), and work together with advertisers to make additional money for both web developers and themselves.
It should also be noted that Xbox and Steam Deck provide web browsers on their consoles. PS3 and PS4 did, but PS5 no longer has one that's easily accessible. Sony chose to follow in Nintendo's footsteps in this regard. I believe this allows Nintendo/Sony to exercise more control over their platforms via the eShop/PS Store, and make more people need to buy games through then instead of using seeking comparable website alternatives.
For example, it may be hard to justify purchasing an old retro game if there's a free online or open-source clone found on the first few pages of Google.
"The Switch is too weak for a web browser"
This is plainly false, although I can see why it's said. It has roughly the specs of a 5 year old tablet, and it behaves like one online. If you browse using the DNS, you can see first hand that it handles a majority of modern websites quite well. Some more complicated websites can produce a (dismissable!) memory error, but these limitations could be addressed and further optimized relatively easily by Nintendo in an standalone browser.
"The Switch is a gaming console first and foremost"
I won't deny this fact. It does also, however, also provides YouTube, social media services, emulators (via NSO) and gaming news. I believe Nintendo's reasoning is more about making sure that legally speaking, the Switch remains seen as separate from a phone or PC, which allows them to have tighter control over their platform.
I don't doubt that varying degrees of some of the above reasons are false either. I am still hopeful that one day in the future, we will see a Switch browser. But we're going to need a lot more people that care about it, instead of how many of the replies here are treating the issue.
At the start of the post I linked a petition, if you made it to the bottom of the post, here's an update to the petition that was made in April 2022, which contains similar content to my post here. I think that 1. informing more people and 2. letting Nintendo know that there are a sizable chunk of interested users increases the chances of an official one being released.
Posting this info here may be like preaching to the choir, but I am looking for some comradery, I guess! Starting to feel like I'm shouting into a void– my comment was unfortunately deleted by a moderator for being against the subreddit rules.
It's upsetting that this topic can't be effectively discussed on r/NintendoSwitch as it does not involve an exploit to the system. My response to the moderation is less important, but can be read here. I hope that this rule changes in the near future, as it helps users understand more about the Switch, web devices, and what should be considered their own digital rights.
Until then, I'm going to keep being preachy and using whatever platforms I do have to try to keep the info on this topic accurate.
The original and lite Nintendo DS had an Internet Browser on a cartridge in 2007. It came with an extra game pak that gave it additional memory to load web pages, that went into the GBA slot of the DS.
The game case:
Picture of the cartridges:
2007 was before smart phones were popular, and as a kid there weren't many options for going on the Internet, outside of stuff like a family computer or school. So in a lot of ways this browser was the only connection to the outside world. There was also stuff like: seeing friends online in Animal Crossing / other Wifi games, or basic SMS texting, but nothing like portable "real" Internet.
The browser itself had two modes, it could either work as displaying the full website on the bottom screen, with a zoom window that you could move around to read text on the top screen:
wikipedia screenshot on the browser
Or a more mobile-friendly mode (kind of like Reader view) where the page spanned both screens. This was better for reading text, but did break a lot of web pages.
The browser itself was a version of Opera, which at the time was pretty good at handling most web pages. This is similar to the Wii's browser, except it did not support Flash player (whereas the Wii did!). So stuff like videos and sound didn't work.
In particular one site that worked very well on it was the Smash Bros Dojo, where updates about Brawl were posted by Sakurai every week day.
It is kind of disappointing that the limitations of this 14 year old browser are not too dissimilar from the limitations of the Switch browser. But I've already talked about that a lot in the change.org petition, and how it compares to the 3DS/Wii U browsers.
Anyone else use this browser? Heard of this? There was a newer revision built into the DSi as well, but by the time the 3DS rolled around the browser switched over to WebKit (which is still used in the Switch).