YouTube is launching on the Nintendo Switch today. It becomes just the second major video app to be released on the console since the Switch hit shelves in March 2017. (Hulu led the way last November.) YouTube can be downloaded for free from the Nintendo eShop.
The app is exactly what you’d expect, offering access to the platform’s endless selection of videos. And YouTube also points out that the Switch version fully supports 360 videos. You can control YouTube with the Switch’s left joystick and main buttons. And the touchscreen partially works in handheld mode, which will make searching for videos and tapping into them a lot easier. I say partially because you can’t swipe up and down to navigate around the app, which is unfortunate. Hulu still lacks touchscreen support altogether.
Oddly, the right JoyCon joystick cannot be used to navigate around the app; it only works for panning around 360-degree videos. YouTube tells me it will continue to evaluate the best ways of using Nintendo’s hardware.
Switch owners can sign into YouTube with their Google account to get their subscriptions, recommendations, and personal video library. You also have the option to stream your Movies Anywhere library; those titles show up under purchases on YouTube — not that the Switch’s display is ideal for extended movie viewing in portable mode. But it’s a great bonus to have when the console is docked.
With Hulu and now YouTube accounted for, the obvious question is… where’s Netflix? Amazon Prime Video? Generally, the list of non-game content on Switch is incredibly thin. You’ve got the two free video apps, Korg’s $48 “music production” app (more of a fun toy than creation tool), and that’s about it. Hopefully the arrival of a second big player will ramp up the likelihood of other companies bringing their popular services to Switch.