Home / Uncategorized / “The eShop is just way too slow” – Deku Deals Creator on Nintendo’s Switch storefront

“The eShop is just way too slow” – Deku Deals Creator on Nintendo’s Switch storefront

Dekudeals
Image: Nintendo Life

Most fans would agree that Nintendo’s current eShop for Switch could use some work. Sure, it does the job well from a purely transactional standpoint, but there are some glaring problems at its core. The layout makes it difficult to just casually browse and find interesting new titles. User ratings used to be a feature until Nintendo decided the eShop was better off without them. Worst of all, there aren’t any catchy music. The company has never been on the ball with its online offerings, but even given the sheer number of games on the system inevitably creates discoverability issues, it’s hard to argue that the latest version of the eShop is its largest, too .

Fortunately for us, that doesn’t mean that digital shoppers will have to suffer for the duration of this generation. A fan named Michael Fairley decided to go where Nintendo won’t and put together an impressively useful website to help Switch owners find the best prices for the games and hardware they want. Deku Deals has become the undisputed gold standard for researching purchases on Nintendo Switch. So we thought we’d speak to Michael to go over his website in more detail and to discuss his brains on Nintendo’s own digital storefront endeavors.


Nintendo Life: First, could you take a moment to introduce yourself?

Hi! I am Michael Fairley, and I have been leading Deku Deals as a one-man project since 2018. I live in Seattle, Washington and have been a professional software developer for a decade. In my spare time, I enjoy playing video games, listening to podcasts, reading books, and writing code.

How is your experience with Deku Deals?

Running Deku Deals is one of the most rewarding and challenging things I’ve ever done at the same time. Some days I’m really proud of everything I’ve achieved with the site. On other days, I just look at my to-do list and feel overwhelmed. But in general I like to solve complex problems and the site’s users keep me running all the time, so let’s call it a net positive.

If so, what unforeseen challenges surprised you?

Dealing with complex / messy data is one of the most complicated parts of running Deku Deals. Some examples: A game with a “2” in its name could be listed with “II” or “Zwei” instead by some dealers; there may be different versions of the same game in different regions – sometimes with slightly different release dates or names; and in one case there are actually two completely different games that have exactly the same name. I had to put a lot of work into making my automated tools handle these types of situations (when I’d rather spend my time developing user-centric features).

Front page

How is the current state of the website different or in line with your original vision?

When I first started the site, it only focused on the few features that I personally wanted, namely wishlists and deal notifications for Switch games. Some of the key ways it has expanded beyond that are all of the search and recommendation tools for finding new games, the ability to keep track of your game collection, and the latest additions to PlayStation and Xbox.

How has the community’s reaction impacted your Deku Deals development plans?

Requests from users of Deku Deals had a huge impact on the website! It turns out that people have a lot of different preferences in how they buy video games. For example, some people never want to bother with cartridges and prefer to only buy digital versions of games, while others are very interested in having a game collection on their shelf and only want to buy physical copies … so I have options on how to Added filtering of the entire site by format. Similarly, children usually have a lot of free time, but not a lot of money, which the Bang for your buck Section on the website.

The most important thing the eShop needs for discoverability is the personalization of the recommended games based on the games you played and are on the wish list.

Which functions have been requested most often by users of your website that you have not yet implemented in the eShop?

The most important thing the eShop needs for discoverability is the personalization of the recommended games based on the games you played and are on the wish list. Steam does this really well; Each Steam homepage looks completely different and is great at guiding you to games that are likely to interest you. In contrast, the Switch eShop just shows everyone the same categories with the same games in the same order.

How do you think Nintendo could improve the user interface and usability of the eShop?

From a usability point of view, the eShop is simply far too slow. The pages are taking much longer to load than they should, and even the animations are poor. It’s also a little ridiculous that putting the console to sleep while the eShop is open usually results in it closing with an error message the next time you turn on the console.

Cave history

Why do you think Nintendo isn’t repeating its shop design or features very much?

I think there are different reasons. 1) It’s not in their company DNA. Nintendo’s online services have never been great. And it seems like Nintendo aims to bring out the best they can, but then don’t iterate and improve it afterwards. 2) Nintendo’s various regional branches operate independently of one another. Each of them have their own websites and there are completely different ways to search for games online North America, Europe, and Japanwhich are all completely separate from the eShop app on the console itself. This is likely to result in divided attention, duplication of effort, and isolated data preventing them from delivering an amazing, unified shopping experience.

I think it is important that Deku Deals continue to run smoothly, have accurate dates and are easy to use so that people will want to keep using them.

What new features or changes are you working on?

It took a solid six months to add the PlayStation and Xbox to the site. A lot of things broke during that time, and I didn’t prioritize troubleshooting or website maintenance. I’ll take some time for that now. I think it is important that Deku Deals continue to run smoothly, have accurate dates and are easy to use so that people will want to keep using them. I have some new features in the works that should be ready in the next few months, but I’m not ready to announce them publicly yet.

What do you think of expanding the development of the site beyond a one-man operation?

I have very mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, Deku Deals is my baby that I have put a lot of love and effort into. At the same time, the site would definitely benefit from more people working on it, especially people who have different skills than me. That will likely happen one day, but I’m still not entirely sure how and when to make this transition.

Last question: what games have you been playing lately?

Metroid Dread – I love the Metroid series, bugs and everything. Death Stranding – I recently got my first PlayStation and am working my way through the best PS exclusives. Echoes of the eye DLC for Outer Wilds – one of my all-time favorite games (not to be confused with Outer Worlds!)


We thank Michael for taking the time to answer our questions – you can follow him on Twitter @michaelfairley. Visit Deku Deals and give it a try too; it will result in you saving and spending more money than you ever thought possible.

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