Starting next week, Nintendo Switch owners will have to pay for the online service if they want to play with friends via the internet.
Another subscription service?
Gamers who play online on the PS4 or Xbox One are familiar with having to “pay to play” with their friends either through PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold monthly subscription services. For nearly two years, Nintendo Switch players were free from this service, with the promise of a subscription service of their own on the horizon.
With the release of Nintendo Switch Online just around the corner, many are wondering just what their subscription will entail. Behold, the Nintendo Switch Online five-point plan!
First and foremost, the subscription will allow you to play with other Switch owners through games that require online play. Pretty standard, considering the PS4 and Xbox One have required a subscription for online play since they were released.
Secondly, Nintendo Online subscribers will gain access to a library of select NES classics. According to the Nintendo Direct released yesterday, some games will even have the capability of being played with friends online as well.
While there aren’t many titles to choose from, fans are hoping that this will open up the option to play other beloved classics for systems like the SNES, N64, and Gamecube. No indication of this has been acknowledged by Nintendo so far, but it seems like there’s a lot of money to be made in a Netflix-styled system for Nintendo Classics.
Third, we have the online cloud save storage. However, in an odd move, Nintendo has restricted some of the titles that will be able to benefit from it. According to an interview with Game Informer, Nintendo stated:
The vast majority of Nintendo Switch games will support Save Data Cloud backup. However, in certain games this feature would make it possible to, for example, regain items that had been traded to other players, or revert to a higher online multiplayer ranking that had been lost. To ensure fair play, Save Data Cloud backup may not be enabled for such games. To ensure that Save Data Cloud backups cannot be used to unfairly affect online multiplayer rankings, the feature will not be enabled in Splatoon 2.
Other games not supported for the save data cloud backup will be titles like FIFA 19, Dark Souls Remastered, and Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee & Pikachu. It’s strange to see Nintendo take this stance when some of these titles already function on other systems with a cloud service of their own with no issues. It’s unfortunate to think that if you were to lose your Switch in any way you will have to start over from the beginning in some of your games.
Next, we have the phone app as one of their selling points. Switch owners have already taken issue with this since its development. The problem is that gamers wanted an in-system voice chat system that would allow them to communicate with team-mates while their playing games.
Reports have stated that the Nintendo chat app for smartphones is inferior to already existing voice chat apps such as Discord. Still, it’s Nintendo’s chosen solution for the demand of a voice chat system so players will have to decide for themselves if it’s efficient enough.
Finally, Nintendo stated, vaguely, that the final selling point for the monthly subscription will be “special offers” that they will disclose at a later date. So far, the online special offers listed are the ability to purchase the special NES-styled controllers for the Switch that will grant you a huge wave of nostalgia while playing classics from the NES library. The other offer is exclusive in-game gear for your characters to wear in Splatoon 2. These include an online jersey and a pair of online Squidkid V shoes.
So, how much?
This is probably the strongest selling point for the service as it is significantly cheaper than either PS+ or XBLG. Pricing tiers include $3.99 a month, $7.99 for 3 months, and $19.99 for 12 months. If multiple people in your home want to use the service, there’s a Family Membership option available at $34.99 for 12 months, which neither Sony or Microsoft offer. Nintendo Switch Online launches September 19, 2018. You can check out all of the features on Nintendo’s website.