We are finally getting some information about the Nintendo Switch Online service. The service has been talked about since the launch of the Nintendo Switch (back in early March) and now we finally have some details. Let’s jump in and check it out.
According to Nintendo’s official website, “Nintendo Switch Online is a paid service that gives members access to online play in compatible games, a selection of NES™ games, extra features for the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app, and more.” This online service will launch in September 2018 for $3.99 a month. However, there are other options with pricing that we will discuss later on. So, let’s start with the four different aspects of the membership by breaking each of the features down individually.
Compatible Online Games
Several games were revealed to be compatible to play online. Note that Nintendo hasn’t stated that every game will require this service. Here are the games currently listed on the Nintendo website: Splatoon 2, ARMS, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Mario Tennis Aces, and Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido. Basically, all of their big first-party titles will require online play. Currently, each of these games has been able to connect to one another and play against each other. Players will probably be upset about this, but it will be required.
I noticed a couple of third-party games missing from this list, such as Fortnite and Rocket League. Obviously, this list could change to include these two games. It is also possible that they just weren’t added because Nintendo hasn’t spoken to their developers to work out a solution. We should keep an eye on these games and see if they require the subscription or not.
NES For the Nintendo Switch
Nope, it’s not the Virtual Console that we all want. However, twenty NES games will launch with the service. These games include Soccer, Mario Bros., Ice Climber, Tennis, Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Dr. Mario, Donkey Kong, Balloon Fight, and The Legend of Zelda with more to be revealed later on. New games will be added “regularly,” but we don’t actually know the frequency yet. Personally, I believe monthly would be great!
Online Play is also added “to every classic game.” So, you will be able to compete/cooperate with your friends! And, if you use the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app, you can also voice chat during your play sessions. Playing against a friend in a game of Dr. Mario does sound like a good time!
The Smartphone App
You can download the Nintendo Switch Online app now, which has been available for a while. However, it appears that paying subscribers will receive special features for certain games. Splatoon 2 players, for example, will have access to SplatNet 2. There, they can review and share their battle statistics, order gear for use in-game, and enjoy other features. It’ll be interesting to see if they add anything for the other required games.
Another function mentioned is the app’s Online Lounge. Here, you can send invites to players on your Switch’s friend list. Not only that, but the app will allow you to send invites via “social networks and messaging services.” So, you can just text someone an invite so that they can join right there, or message them on Twitter/Facebook. If you are invited to the game, a push notification is sent to your mobile device. Finally, you can voice chat with players in the lounge with your phone.
The Future of Nintendo Switch Online
Nintendo stated that more will be coming to the online service, but they aren’t ready to share the details with us quite yet. We do know that “Save Data Cloud Backup” will be there for subscribers. But, details will be revealed to us closer to launch. Also, news of “Special Offers” is listed on their website. I guess we will have to wait and see what this means as well.
Plans and Pricing
How much is all this going to cost us? Well, not a lot. Here are the plans that you can get.
$3.99 a month, $7.99 for 3 months, or $19.99 for a full year for Individual Membership. Not bad at all. And, the Family Membership is $34.99 for a full year. There aren’t any monthly or quarterly memberships for the Family Plan.
Let’s talk about the Family Plan. According to the website, a Nintendo Account holder can invite up to seven others to join their family group. All members of the group will have access to the Nintendo Switch Online service. That’s pretty cool since you theoretically could invite seven other friends to lower the price. Now, it isn’t like sharing Xbox Live Gold per Xbox. Every account will have to have a membership to play online. So, your family members will need to be in your Family Plan to play on their own account. Also, you can move your name to another Nintendo Switch and still be able to play online with your account. The Family Plan, as well as the Individual Plan, both sound pretty good for the price.
Direct Coming Soon?
While it is nice that we have gotten some information from Nintendo about this service, there are still a lot of unknowns. I expect that a Nintendo Direct will happen sometime in August to go over the service in more detail and let us know what we are getting. I hope that the Nintendo Switch Online service will be beneficial to the console and its gamers.
What do you think of Nintendo’s online service? Are you ready to become a member? Think it’s worth it? Let us know in the comments below, on Twitter, or in our Discord channel. Want more Nintendo Switch stuff? Check out the Nindies and Indies Podcast by Scrapgear and Draco. Did you see the new Mario Kart 8 Deluxe patch with Champion Link? Click here to read about it! And remember, as always, “When in doubt, blow it up!”