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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 arrives on Nintendo Switch today

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 youd expect, offering access to the platforms 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 cant 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 Switchs display is ideal for extended movie viewing in portable mode. But its a great bonus to have when the console is docked. With Hulu and now YouTube accounted for, the obvious question is... wheres Netflix? Amazon Prime Video? Generally, the list of non-game content on Switch is incredibly thin. Youve got the two free video apps, Korgs $48 music production app (more of a fun toy than creation tool), and thats about it. Hopefully the arrival of a second big player will ramp up the likelihood of other companies bringing their popular services to Switch.