Whispers of Nintendo’s forthcoming online subscription service – its own answer to Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PSN – have been in circulation for some time, even before the Japanese gaming giant launched the Nintendo Switch console in 2017.
Finally, Nintendo has now officially unveiled details of the Nintendo Switch Online service, including an official launch date; although Nintendo is revealing prices and features now, it also confirmed the service won’t be going live until September 2018.
Nintendo Switch Online Price
Nintendo has set up a number of pricing and subscription plans to choose from.
An individual account membership costs $19.99 per year, or you can choose from either $3.99 per month or $7.99 every three months if you want a shorter subscription term. Ultimately though, the full year should work out cheaper.
According to Nintendo’s FAQ, an individual user does not need distinct accounts for each system if they own multiple Nintendo Switch consoles – they can use the same account across several consoles; “Nintendo Switch Online can be used on any device by signing in with the Nintendo Account that purchased the membership.”
Nintendo is also offering a “Family” subscription package, which is only available as a 12 month plan at $34.99 per year, but this covers up to eight members in a group plan. Nintendo says “all members of the group will have access to Nintendo Switch Online.”
Nintendo Switch Online Features
The main feature of Nintendo Switch Online is that it allows players the ability to play games with an online component online, with other players, whether in competetive or cooperative play. Although the Nintendo Switch already supports online play for free, that has so far simply been an extensive “grace period” between the launch of the console and the launch of the service.
After Nintendo Switch Online goes live, online play will only be accessible with a subscription just like Xbox Live and PSN.
Another major feature is that membership grants you unlimited access to a catalogue of classic NES games – at present it’s 20 titles with 10 being ready at launch and another 10 following soon after, but Nintendo will be adding more and more regularly as time goes by. Plus they’ll have online play support as well.
The first 10 confirmed titles include; Balloon Fight, Dr. Mario, Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong, Ice Climber, The Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros., Soccer, Super Mario Bros., and Tennis.
While Nintendo hasn’t revealed much about how it will work – though has promised more will be revealed closer to the September launch – Nintendo Switch Online will also feature a Cloud Save component to store your game progress data on the company’s servers.
Nintendo also promises a compatible smartphone app to “enhance your online experience,” plus members-only special deals and offers will also be forthcoming in the future.
It’s worth noting that you only need the Nintendo Switch Online membership for online play and the above features, not for buying games online, system updates, or anything else, but this latter point about offers does indicate you may end up getting opportunities to buy some games or game packs cheaper than non-members, as well as having access to Cloud Save and the rest.