Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024


Key Takeaways

  • Achievements are a “meta” aspect of gaming and can be disruptive.
  • No integrated achievement system on Switch means unadulterated joy.
  • In-game achievements already exist; Switch’s success doesn’t hinge on them.


Nintendo is the only console maker of the big three without an integrated achievement system for its consoles. Achievements are immensely popular, and many people want them on the Switch, but I think a lack of achievements is an overlooked unique selling point for Nintendo.


No Achievements Means Pure Gaming On Switch

Achievements are a “meta” aspect of video games. They aren’t actually part of the game itself, but more like commentary on what you did. Commentary that you can show your friends—if you’re into that sort of thing. Some people love it when a little achievement pops up during a game to let them know they’ve completed the requirements for some or other task, but for me, they’re an annoying distraction.


Now, the first thing everyone says to this is “you can just disable the notifications”, but the way that Xbox and PlayStation achievements are designed means they are always in sight at some point. They clutter up the screen when you’re browsing your games, litter your profile page, and try to get your eyes on them wherever possible. If Nintendo implemented a truly optional achievement system, I’d be less fussed about it, but their competition only offers half-measures, and that’s not good enough for me. My Switch is currently the only place where I can play video games and only have to think about the game itself.

Achievements Can Make Gaming Worse

Achievements may not directly be part of a game, but they can have a negative impact on the gaming experience in a number of ways. If you’re the sort of person who’s a little compulsive about completing lists, for example, then you may end up grinding away at achievements long after the game has stopped being fun.


Likewise, game developers who design their games with achievements in mind have a perverse incentive to use achievements to drive engagement, or stuff the game with filler to push up play time numbers, or even maximize the chances that players will use microtransactions. Since achievements can be used to influence player behavior, it’s possible to use them in ways that aren’t great for players in terms of enjoyment.

Individual Switch Games Have Their Own Achievement Systems

The box art for Fire Emblem Engage

In light of the lack of achievements on the Switch, some developers have simply opted to build their own achievements into their games. For example, in Fire Emblem Engage there’s an achievement list within the game to keep track of your progress. Even better, you get in-game currency when you unlock an achievement, so they are more than just window dressing. This isn’t rare either, as this list of Switch games with in-game achievements from Reddit shows.


The Switch 2 Simply Doesn’t Need Them to Success

The Nintendo Switch is on its way to being either the best-selling or second best-selling console of all time. It’s one of the greatest console hardware success stories in history, and it’s sold an eye-watering amount of software. By September 2023, just over 1.1. billion gaming software units had been sold on the platform. The Switch didn’t need achievements or the best graphics to stand at the top of the hill, and neither will the Switch 2—or whatever their next console is called.


My Switch has always been a quiet haven where I can get away from the neon lights and blaring sounds of the PlayStation and Xbox. It’s fun to hang out there, but we’ll always need one place that preserves the pure unadulterated joy of gaming and an achievement system is antithetical to that goal, in my opinion.



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By John P.

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