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Mario holding a trophy
Mario holding a trophy

Why Nintendo Needs Achievements

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Since the early 2000s gaming consoles and PC have allowed players to track their progress and abilities through some form of achievement system. Nintendo, however, has chosen not to have any sort of achievement system for any of their consoles, including the Switch. With such an incredible lineup already, and many more amazing titles announced, Nintendo needs to implement some form of achievement tracker for the Switch.

History of Gaming Achievements

Let’s start off by looking at the major players in the gaming industry and when they added achievement systems. For this article we’ll take a look at Valve for PC, Sony, and Microsoft. The Xbox 360 was the first gaming system to introduce an achievement system back in 2005, dubbed the “gamerscore” at the time.  The feature became quite popular but ultimately took a few years to really gain significant traction. Valve followed suit and added an achievement tracker to their software back in 2007. Although only a handful of games supported the feature at first, as time went on, more and more games were supported. A quick visit to the Steam store reveals that today it’s much more unusual for a game on Steam not to have achievements. The last major player in the gaming industry to hop on board the achievement train was Sony, adding their “trophies” system to the PS3 in 2008. So with PC, Sony, and Microsoft all adding some sort of achievement system to their gaming platform more than a decade ago, what has Nintendo been up to? The answer is fairly simple and quite disappointing: nothing.

Seriously. It may sound over-simplified or negligent but it is true that Nintendo has opted out of adding any sort of gaming achievement tracker to any of their systems. Apart from seeing your high-score in some of the earliest games, Nintendo simply hasn’t decided to follow any of their competitors into this territory.

Nintendo Switch Online

When the Switch was first released in early 2017 Nintendo teased everyone with their new online subscription service. The first of its kind for Nintendo. They touted features like cloud-saving, retro libraries to play through, and online play in select games. The online service was free for a significant time but eventually fully launched in September 2018. While Nintendo themselves never made any sort of announcement or hint for an achievement feature coming with the service, many fans saw the writing on the wall. Part of Nintendo moving into the online-subscription service world surely meant that they would add the long awaited achievements feature, right? Unfortunately not. The Nintendo online service was announced and released and continues right now. The only updates that the online service sees is an NES library that receives occasional new titles for owners to play through. Not only is there no achievements feature in the current version of the online service, but Nintendo hasn’t even made the slightest mention of the possibility of this feature being added in the future.

The Switch’s Games Lineup

With the fact that Nintendo hasn’t even mentioned an achievements feature for the Switch it can be easy to wonder if it would even be a desired addition to the console at all. An achievement-tracking system is really only as good as the games that support it after all. So then, does the Switch really have the type of title lineup that would constitute Nintendo adding such a feature to their online service? I certainly think so.

Nintendo’s first party titles are enough by themselves to constitute a pretty serious achievement system in my opinion. With Smash Bros. Ultimate and Breath of the Wild already well released on the Switch with massive player bases it would really make sense for Nintendo to even just start here. Tracking achievements in Smash Bros. for how many online wins you have, or how many characters you’ve unlocked, or even just the playtime you’ve logged with specific characters online, would surely be a welcome addition to the game. Breath of the Wild is clearly another slam-dunk for Nintendo to add an achievement system with, too. With such a rich story to play through and one of the largest open worlds available there is no limit to what achievements could be added. Whether it’s cooking every possible recipe, discovering every Korok, or conquering every shrine, BOTW really could see some seriously awesome uses from an achievement-tracking system. It’s worth mentioning, too, that New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, the most current installment of Nintendo’s most famous franchise, also holds a lot of potential for achievements.

While those games mentioned are currently available and could benefit from this added feature, there’s another huge release that Nintendo could add achievements or trophies to that’s hopefully coming in the near future. The sequel to Breath of the Wild  has been announced and some very limited gameplay has been shown and fans are totally on board. For all the reasons mentioned for the first Breath of the Wild, it makes even more sense for Nintendo to introduce an achievement system considering that a sequel to this extremely popular title is on its way.

Although the offerings made by Nintendo are clearly great platforms to have achievements on, there is also an incredible amount of third-party titles that could benefit from this type of system. This list of third-party games that we think would benefit from achievements could go on forever, though, so we’ll just mention our top 2 picks. First is a title that actually began the discussion of achievements on the Switch all over again when it was released on the console. Cuphead has become a cult classic and was received with open arms upon being ported to the Switch. It’s a prime example of a great game that has a large player base that benefits from achievements on other platforms and could easily be adapted for the Switch. Secondly we have to mention SUPERHOT. This game lends itself extremely well to achievements by not only having an interesting story but also a seemingly infinite amount of options for beating each level.

The Future

As we mentioned earlier, Nintendo has made no announcements or even hints at the possibility of achievements coming to their consoles. This seems pretty cut and dry for what the future will hold, but there still could be hope. With the Switch Lite coming out in a month and Nintendo announcing huge titles for the Switch like the sequel to Breath of the Wild, it’s clear that this console is going to be in their future for a while. While it may be quite unlikely, it’s definitely possible that Nintendo will choose to add an achievements feature at some point down the road.


Do you want to see an achievement system added to Nintendo Online on the Switch? If so what games would you want to be compatible? Feel free to share with us in the comments below!


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Micah Killgore
Micah Killgore
1 year ago

I absolutely think we need to have an achievement system! I strongly feel this way. Achievements provide additional length to a game and keeps me playing it longer because I’m trying to hit a target. There is nothing like the feeling of a little notification to say that you have accomplished some great task!! (or in other cases….not so great tasks😄) Games like Breath of the Wild, or Xenoblade Chronicles 2 would benefit from these. I want to revisit both of these games and if there was added reasons like, get all blades, or see all ‘heart-to-heart’ scenes, or collect… Read more »