When the Switch was announced it came with the news of a paid online service. That service — expected to function like XBOX Live or PlayStation Plus — would be necessary to play online games, but would also come with a load of perks. The service was expected to launch last year, but was delayed. Now Nintendo has announced the Nintendo Switch Online service will launch this September for a yearly price of $19.99, with smaller, slightly pricier time increments also available.
While perhaps unfortunate for some hoping to not jump into this service as soon as September, it has been confirmed that all online multiplayer games, including Mario Kart 8, Arms, and the upcoming Sushi Striker: Way of the Shushido will require the service to continue enjoying online. The upcoming Super Smash Bros. game will also likely make use of this service.
When you purchase the Switch Online package, you’ll be immediately granted access to 20 different titles from the Nintendo Entertainment System, many of which will feature online gameplay. (Add Dr. Mario and Balloon Fight to that list of games you can play over the internet with Splatoon 2.) Some of the other games announced so far are:
- Donkey Kong
- Mario Bros.
- Super Mario Bros.
- Super Mario Bros. 3
- Ice Climber
- The Legend of Zelda
More games are going to be announced soon and we’ll likely see at least a couple more mentioned at E3. When originally announced, it was suggested this service would also include Super Nintendo games, so we might have that to look forward to as well. Unfortunately, Nintendo has confirmed the Virtual Console banner will not be used in relation to the Switch. Whether this means we’ll never see retro re-releases beyond the online service, it’s hard to say.
The pricing plans for Nintendo Switch Online are as follows:
There will also be a 1 year family plan for $34.99. With this plan, You can invite up to seven other Nintendo Accounts to be on the same yearly billing, for a total of eight accounts.
There aren’t any details yet, but with this service players will finally be able to upload saves to a cloud service. Additional features announced are the integration of the Nintendo Switch Online App, which users can currently access for SplatNet and setting up game-chat on their phone. It’s been a heavily criticized item, so hopefully we’ll see more use out of it moving forward. The addition of chat to previous games would be a welcome boon.
The service will be account-bound, meaning if you sign in on your account on multiple systems you will get the same service on all of them. By this same token, if two people share a Switch they will both need a plan to have online features enabled. It should be noted that the family plan is less than the cost of two yearly memberships, so both can enjoy the online for a discounted rate (and have room for six other accounts.) The family plan will be used on Nintendo Account Family Groups, which will be open for creation on the 15th of this month.
Over time we’ll be seeing more details and games announced for this service. In the meantime, it might be worth getting your hopes way up there that Super Smash Bros. will be released around the same time as the Switch Online Service in order to help generate a good reason to sign up.