The paid online service coming to Nintendo Switch has finally been detailed by the company with specific pricing and features, such as online play, cloud saves, and a growing library of classic NES games. The service launches sometime this September, so you have plenty of time to decide whether you want for fork over the cash or not.
First up, pricing. It’s not that bad — basically $20 a year. Nintendo is offering Nintendo Switch Online memberships at different price points for different subscription periods, as well as a “Family membership” which allows the service to be used on multiple Switch consoles. See the U.S. pricing, as detailed by Nintendo in a press release, below.
- Individual memberships:
- One month: $3.99
- Three months: $7.99
- 12 months: $19.99
- Family membership (12 months): $34.99
- With a family membership, up to eight Nintendo Account holders will be able to use the Nintendo Switch Online service, even on different systems.
So what exactly do you get with your subscription to Nintendo Switch Online? There is a range of features offered, including online play for the market’s most popular Switch titles. So if you want to continue to race your friends in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or squid party with your pals in Splatoon 2, you’ll need to pay that $20 a year to the Big N. On top of online play, Nintendo Switch Online subscribers will also be able to use cloud saves for backing up their save data in case they lose, break, or purchase an additional Switch system.
Additionally, subscribers will have access to a lineup of NES games with added online functionality. The collection will initially include 20 games, with more added on a regular basis. At launch, previously announced games Balloon Fight, Dr. Mario, and Super Mario Bros. 3 will be joined by Donkey Kong, Ice Climber, The Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros., Soccer, Super Mario Bros., and Tennis. An additional 10 launch games will be announced in the future. Nintendo also outlined the new online features of these NES titles.
“For the first time ever, players will be able to enjoy these classic NES games online,” Nintendo said in a press release. “Depending on the game, players can engage in online competitive or co-op multiplayer, or take turns controlling the action. Friends can even watch each other play single-player games online, and ‘pass the controller’ at any time. Every classic NES game will support voice chat via the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app. It will also be possible to play these games offline.”
There was no mention of the highly anticipated Virtual Console, a shop with selections of classic games from the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, and other platforms available for purchase and download. Versions of the Virtual Console have been included on Nintendo’s previous three gaming consoles, the Wii, 3DS, and Wii U, but it looks like the Switch will not feature such a store — at least, not yet. Thankfully members of the Nintendo Switch Online service will have the growing library of NES titles, but a dedicated shop for other classic Nintendo games will continue to be in high demand.