Today Nintendo announced some updates regarding the Nintendo Switch Online Service and its subsequent features, availability, and launch window.
Originally slated for 2017, Nintendo Switch’s online service will cost $20 per year and will launch in 2018 (exact date not known yet). The publisher confirmed that playing Switch games online will be free until the service launches.
The other subscription forms are a one-month subscription for $4 and a three-month subscription for $8.
Nintendo’s previous plans for voice chat and lobby features are not changing, however. Those features won’t be available on the Switch itself. Alternatively, they’ll be available through a smartphone app that Nintendo confirmed will be launching this summer. “Our new dedicated smart device app will connect to Nintendo Switch and let you invite friends to play online, set play appointments, and chat with friends during online matches in compatible games─all from your smart device,” the company explained. “A free, limited version of this app will be available for download in summer 2017.”
Nintendo has confirmed on Twitter that the online service includes “ongoing access to a library of classic games you can take anywhere.” The publisher also told the website Kotaku, “Users can play as many of the games as they want, as often as they like, as long as they have an active subscription.” This is different from the original monthly plan that had games being cycled out every month. Similar to Microsoft’s Games With Gold and Sony’s PlayStation Plus services, once a game has been redeemed, subscribers will have unlimited access to it.
Online play for games like ARMS and Splatoon 2 won’t require a paid online subscription until 2018
According to Nintendo, “Nintendo Switch Online subscribers will be able to play a wide variety of classic games, including Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight and Dr. Mario. More games will be announced at a later date. At launch the classic game library will include NES games. Super NES games continue to be under consideration, but we have nothing further to announce at this time.”
The biggest remaining question is whether or not this will affect or replace Nintendo’s Virtual Console, which allows 3DS, Wii, and Wii U owners to purchase old games digitally through the eShop. Nintendo has been especially mute on all things Virtual Console. With E3 being right around the corner, it’s possible we’ll get more details on that service.
How do you feel about the latest details on the Nintendo Switch Online Service? Sound off in the comments below!