Nintendo Switch online service pricing revealed, delays implementation until 2018

Nintendo Switch
While a few questions remain, Nintendo just revealed important details about their Nintendo Switch online service. Most importantly, the company unveiled firm pricing options in the form of 1-month, 3-month and 12-month memberships.

Is the Price Fair?

For a 1-month membership, expect to pay $3.99. A 3-month membership will cost $7.99, and purchasing the online service for a year will empty $19.99 out of buyers’ pockets. The last option is relatively cheap compared to the first two.

At least Switch owners will get months to decide if the service is worth the cost. Paying is not mandatory until 2018.

According to the official Nintendo website, “You’ll be able to play compatible co-op and competitive games online … [for] free for Nintendo Account holders until our paid online service launches in 2018.”

“After the free-trial period, most games will require a paid online service subscription from Nintendo in order to play online. This service is only for Nintendo Switch. It does not affect online play or features for the Wii U or Nintendo 3DS.”

Before the Nintendo Switch, games were free to play online on Nintendo consoles. The quality of their online infrastructure has always been questionable though. For instance, Nintendo makes communicating with strangers difficult on purpose. Furthermore, the House of Mario botched the Wii’s friend-adding system by requiring long friend codes.

In a bizarre twist, friend codes are back on the Switch (in a slightly less cumbersome format).

Besides the ability to play against people online, the service will also feature classic games available for download. Which games? The website mentioned Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight and Dr. Mario.

As for those hoping for a traditional Virtual Console where older games could be purchased individually, Nintendo remains quiet on that front. With rumors of a Super NES Classic Edition coming soon, Nintendo might kill off the standalone Virtual Console to not hurt their online service and nostalgia console sales. That is one theory anyway.

On the Last Note

The required smartphone app for playing online is coming soon in the summer.

“Our new dedicated smart device app will connect to Nintendo Switch and let you invite friends to play online, set play appointments, and chat with friends during online matches in compatible games─all from your smart device.”

The majority of Switch owners are against this plan, but Nintendo could end up surprising people.

If the company is not careful, it could also hurt the strong momentum the Switch currently enjoys. In that case, waiting until 2018 to make Switch owners pay for the service is a smart move.

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