UPDATE: Apparently, not all online multiplayer games on Switch will be behind the paywall. In the FAQ, Nintendo listed a few Nintendo first party games that require the paid service for multiplayer, but then add that other games will “vary”. Does this mean third party games will be playable without the paid service? It’s hard to say, but for now, that’s an interesting tidbit.
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW:
Nintendo has detailed their online service for Nintendo Switch today, finally revealing what people will have to pay for in September. Good news, we got cloud saves!
The first thing your membership covers is online play, which is a given. Previous online services on Nintendo consoles were completely free, but this time Nintendo is joining PS+ and Xbox Live and charging for access to all multiplayer games.
Luckily, Nintendo isn’t stopping there. Cloud saves will be coming to Switch consoles, so if your saves get wiped from your console or if it gets stolen, you won’t be completely out of luck. This is also a first for Nintendo, and it’s extremely welcome. Anyone who has lost a console to damage or theft only to have to restart something long like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will breathe a sigh of relief.
The dreaded Switch online app will still be included in the package, with in-game voice chat and party making handled on your phone instead of on the console. Sure, you can just use Discord to talk, but partying-up will be a bit of a headache in the long run.
Finally, the last confirmed addition is the games selection. Instead of previous rumors of NES games getting added and subtracted from the service month-to-month, it truly sounds like Nintendo is embracing a Netflix-style approach to their classic games. Included in the launch period of the service will be twenty NES titles, with ten confirmed so far: Soccer, Tennis, Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros., Balloon Fight, Ice Climber, Dr. Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario Bros. 3. While this seems like a paltry selection of the same games we usually get, this is a good sign for the future of Nintendo’s classic game services. Even if this is just NES titles so far, the prospect of having to spend a few dollars a month to access a growing roster of titles whenever you like is an exciting deal by itself. The online is basically a nice bonus here.
Pricing is reasonable, with one month costing $3.99, three months $7.99, and a year costing $19.99. One interesting detail is the family plan, that lets up to seven other people join your subscription. Each sub is tied to a Nintendo account, so if you know a group of people who want to use Switch online, this seems like a good investment. Nintendo confirmed family plans can work on multiple Switches, so a group of friends can split the bill for their separate Switches and save a good amount of money each year on Switch online. Family memberships are $34.99 a year, Or around $4.38 per person if all eight slots are claimed.
Nintendo claims more features will be announced, so stay tuned for E3, I suppose!