When the Nintendo Switch launched back in March this year, it shipped with a functional online system much like the 3DS and Wii U’s online systems. You can purchase new games on the eShop and you can also play games online. During the January Switch Presentation, Nintendo announced that they were moving to a paid subscription service much like Playstation Plus and Xbox Live Gold. As a side note, they also mentioned that the service would not be going into full effect until 2018. Today they’ve finally shed some light on the details of the service.
First and foremost, pricing! A Nintendo Switch Online subscription comes in three purchasable packages. One month will cost $3.99 USD, three months will cost $7.99 and a full year subscription will cost $19.99. Again, a system very similar to Microsoft and Sony’s subscriptions. These prices seem to be a lot cheaper though – a year of Xbox Live Gold and Playstation Plus are both $59.99 – compared to the rivals. It’s probably because the Switch’s online is still a little “light” on features.
Previously the subscription was stated to come with a free NES or SNES game with added online play, much to the disappointment of many. Nintendo has apparently heard the complaints because now you can access a “compilation of classic titles with added online play, such as Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight and Dr. Mario.” So it sounds like we’re getting multiple classic games, though we’re not sure if you get the keep the game. The wording is a little vague but it sounds like as long as you have an active subscription, you’ll be able to access the entire catalog.
Finally, it is confirmed that in-game voice chat will be handled through a smart phone app. You’ll also be able to invite friends to games, chat with them in lobbies, and set play appointments – we still think that’s a funny way to refer to playing with your friends! The app will be released this summer.
As mentioned, none of this will go into effect until 2018. Online play in titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and the upcoming Splatoon 2 and ARMS will remain free and available to everyone until then.