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The media-starved Nintendo Switch just got a YouTube shot in the arm

Joins Hulu and... uh... that's it for Switch video-streaming. Following a wave of rumors, Nintendo confirmed on Thursday that its Nintendo Switch console has added an official YouTube app to its meager selection of media-viewing options. Google's app is now available as a free download on a variety of territories' eShops (including North America and Japan, which we've tested thus far), and its interface largely resembles dedicated YouTube apps on smart TVs and set-top boxes. The primary difference is that the Switch's on-screen keyboard obscures any auto-complete results you might expect while searching for topics. You can attach your YouTube credentials to retrieve viewing histories, check subscription feeds, and receive automatic video recommendations. The app, in our limited testing, held up to visual scrutiny in terms of delivering a clear image and a 60fps refresh when replaying high-detail content like "let's play" videos of modern video games. Proving this via direct screenshots is a bit tricky, however, as the YouTube app forbids use of the Switch's built-in "share" button. Unlike other portable, powerful game systems over the past decade, the Nintendo Switch has a seemingly intentional lack of access to media-watching options. Though the system includes micro-SD support, Switch consoles cannot play back your personal media files, and the Switch eShop only offers one other official video-streaming app: Hulu. Additionally, Switch consoles lack official access to a Web browser for the sake of media watching; a rudimentary browser can be accessed when accessing router log-in interfaces, but guiding this to video sites, which requires jumping through obnoxious hoops, usually leads to error messages.

YouTube is available for the Nintendo Switch

You can even play 360-degree videos. After some not-so-subtle hints, it finally happened: YouTube is available for the Switch. As you'd expect, you can watch videos (including your subscriptions) on Nintendo's console whether it's docked to your TV or on the move in handheld mode. You'll have to use the Joy-Cons for most tasks (touchscreen support is limited, The Verge notes), but there is an upside to that physical control : you can use the right Joy-Con's analog stick to control 360-degree videos. You won't have to spin around just to catch every angle of an immersive clip. The Switch isn't an ideal YouTube machine with its 6.2-inch 720p screen and 1080p output on TVs. And without staples like Netflix, you can't quite call the Switch a streaming media device -- Hulu is the only other real option in the US. Even so, this is a big step toward diversifying content on the Switch. We'd add that it's particularly helpful for younger kids, many of whom might not have a phone or tablet to watch their favorite channels.