For the first time in its history, Nintendo is selling Switch’s online features with a premium service. So far the functionality of many Switch games has always been free at no cost, but from September 2018 the brand will roll out a premium service for that type of functionality and more. In this way, it brings its console more in line with what is already offered through services such as PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Gold.
Only recently has Nintendo begun to shed some light on what to expect from the next subscription service. This news should come as no surprise, as the company already revealed plans for the subscription service along with the launch of the Switch over a year ago.
The service, in fact, should have been activated last fall, but it was decided to postpone it to 2018. In the end, the launch was set for next September, a date that seems to be set in stone.
In this post we have summarized everything we know about the service so far. We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.
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What is Nintendo Switch Online?
This is Nintendo’s premium online subscription service for Switch games. It works with an accompanying mobile app , where players are able to access and interact with a number of exclusive features.
The main feature of Nintendo Switch Online is online multiplayer for games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe , Splatoon 2, and Arms . At launch, Nintendo offered multiplayer connectivity for free, but as of September 2018, Switch owners have to pay for those games online.
There are other strengths to Nintendo Switch Online, such as the ability to play a Nintendo Entertainment System game library , which will be updated on a continuous basis and equipped with online and cloud storage capabilities for save data .
Will I still be able to play my online games for free?
Nintendo says you’ll need to check its website, Nintendo eShop, or game packaging to see if a Nintendo Switch Online membership is required. But Nintendo’s games require the service to enter online multiplayer.
In any case, the Nintendo Switch Online service is not required to play online on Nintendo 3DS and Wii U systems.
Nintendo also stated that it will not be necessary to subscribe to Nintendo Switch Online to benefit from certain services, such as: access to Nintendo eShop, registration and management of friends, sharing of screenshots (such as uploading images and videos) on social networks, partial controls and use of the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls, receiving system and software updates, and linking to Nintendo Switch News.
What are the functions of the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app?
The Nintendo Switch Online app, available for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets , is required for in-game voice chats with other players. With the app you can in fact communicate with the players on your Nintendo Switch friends list to invite them to connect with each other in multiplayer game sessions.
The app also offers “special features” for certain games. Currently the only game to be used in this way is Splatoon 2, which through the app offers battle statistics that can be consulted online, shared on social networks and ordered new equipment to use in the game.
Is Nintendo Switch Online the only way to back up data to the cloud?
Yes. Nintendo has wanted to save directly to the cloud for its Switch consoles since launch, so it’s only logical that the service will provide this mode. But it does not remain otherwise free, offline option to back up saved data from the system’s internal memory.
And what about the NES? What are available?
Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games available to Switch Online subscribers come with exclusive enhancements over the original versions. Each will support some sort of online multiplayer, including the ability to play cooperatively or competitively with friends. Some NES games will allow Switch owners to share their screen with someone else or let them “swipe the controller” back and forth. It depends on the game.
Nintendo will offer 20 NES games to subscribers once the service goes live. We only know about 10 so far. Here is the list of classics: Ice Climber, The Legend of Zelda, Balloon Fight, Soccer, Tennis, Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros, Dr. Mario, Super Mario Bros 3, Donkey Kong.
Will I have to pay extra to play these games?
No. They are included as part of a Nintendo Switch Online membership.
Should NES games be kept forever?
It seems like no. Nintendo will only allow you to enjoy these updated games as long as you are a Switch Online subscriber. But you can download and play them offline.
How much does Nintendo Switch Online cost?
There are several levels. A 12-month subscription costs 19.99 euros. You can also sign up for one month (30 days) for $ 3.99 or for three months (90 days) for $ 7.99.
There is also a family affiliate program, which allows a Nintendo Account member to join as many as seven other people to access the Switch Online service. It seems that all eight people can split the € 34.99 cost of the 12-month subscription, getting one year of service for less than € 5 per person. However, Nintendo has not fully defined in what terms one becomes part of the family group of a particular user. It is not yet known what the restrictions will be. It is not clear whether everyone who wishes to join a group must have the same domicile, the same surname or something similar. It would be very convenient if you and seven friends could team up and get a super cheap family account.
Here are the details that have been provided so far. As of May 15, 2018, a Nintendo Account option is introduced that allows you to combine up to eight accounts (including child accounts) into one Family Group.
Then starting September 2018, you can purchase the Nintendo Switch Online Family Membership and associate it with your Family Group. By doing so, all Nintendo Accounts in that group can take advantage of the Nintendo Switch Online service.
If you purchase a Family Account, you must create the Family Group in your Nintendo Account settings so that different members can use it with their Nintendo Accounts.
If I purchase an online membership, can other users who use my console be able to use the Nintendo Switch Online service?
No, it’s not possible. If you purchase an individual membership, only the Nintendo Account linked to an active subscription to the Nintendo Switch Online service can use the service.
If your family members playing on the same Nintendo Switch console want to use the service, you can create a Family Group in your Nintendo Account settings and purchase the Nintendo Switch Online Family Membership, which supports up to eight Nintendo Accounts.
In this regard, it should be noted that some titles, such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, allow a second player to join online sessions as a guest. This feature will remain available if the first player has an active subscription to the Nintendo Switch Online service.
Is it true that there will be exclusive offers for members?
Yes, that’s right, members will receive exclusive offers reserved only for them. More details will be announced shortly, as Nintendo hasn’t revealed anything about it. Presumably, it will be either exclusive discounts or perhaps even bigger discounts, just like it currently works with PlayStation Plus.
When will Nintendo Switch Online be available?
As anticipated, the service will be available starting from September. Nintendo has not yet announced the precise launch date.
How can I join Nintendo Switch Online?
At launch, it will be possible to purchase the Nintendo Switch Online service membership at selected retailers and online: at Nintendo eShops and on the official Nintendo website.