The oft-delayed Nintendo Switch online service has finally been detailed, and it's launching later this year. Despite being released in March of 2017, the Nintendo Switch featured barebones online features at launch. Due to this, Nintendo announced that the online service would be free until they were ready to announce a paid plan. After over a year of free service, players will now have to pay money in order to continue playing games like ARMS and Splatoon 2 with their online friends.
In trying to keep things simple, the service will be officially titled Nintendo Switch Online. The service will be needed to play multiplayer titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and the upcoming Super Smash Bros., and it will come with a few nice perks as well. For instance, Nintendo Switch Online will grant users access to 20 classic Nintendo Entertainment System games. These will be able to be played online with other players, which makes them more fully featured than previous Virtual Console ports. Additionally, Nintendo is adding players the option to backup their save data via cloud technology.
According to a press release, players can purchase one month of access to Nintendo Switch Online for $3.99. There's more value for committing to a longer time period, though, as three months will cost $7.99, and a whole year for $19.99. Additionally, a family membership (which supports up to eight players) will be able to be purchased for $34.99.
As previously mentioned, Nintendo Switch Online subscribers will be able to play classic NES games for free as part of their membership. Confirmed titles include Soccer, Balloon Fight, Tennis, Ice Climber, Donkey Kong, Dr. Mario, Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., and Super Mario Bros. 3, and more. Several of those games are big hitters, and even more titles will be revealed before September. These all can be played offline as well. So, while the games are only available for subscribers, players don't need to play them online... or be connected online.
While some gamers will undoubtedly be displeased about having to pay for online access, it's now undoubtedly the norm for gaming. Both Sony and Microsoft have done the same for several years now, and Nintendo is adding several important features to justify the cost. The classic collection of NES titles is a treasure trove in of itself, and save data backup is a feature that frankly should've been with the Switch when it launched. In this case, it's definitely better to be added late than never. Nintendo Switch owners will get to experience the 20 classic NES games in a new way when the Nintendo Switch Online service launches in September 2018.