Finally, we have a bit more clarity on Nintendo’s mysterious paid online service. According to Nintendo’s website, basic online play on Nintendo Switch will be free until the paid service launches sometime in 2018. Once the paid service launches, the pricing structure will be as follows:
- 12-month membership for $19.99 USD
- 3-month membership for $7.99 USD
- 1-month membership for $3.99 USD
Once the paid service launches, Nintendo will release a dedicated smartphone app which will allow you to invite friends to play online, set play appointments, and chat with friends while playing in supported games. A “free, limited” version of the app will launch in summer 2017 (probably alongside the launch of Splatoon 2).
Also coming with the full paid service is Classic Game Selection, where paid subscribers will be able to download a “compilation of classic titles with added online play.” This is not to be confused with the previously announced free NES or SNES game download each month—which, in fact, is no longer part of the plan, according to a statement from Nintendo to Kotaku; in fact, the feature has been replaced with a Netflix-style game selection.
Here’s Nintendo’s full statement to Kotaku:
“Nintendo Switch Online subscribers will have ongoing access to a library of classic games with added online play. Users can play as many of the games as they want, as often as they like, as long as they have an active subscription.Nintendo Switch Online subscribers will be able to play a wide variety of classic games, including Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight and Dr. Mario. More games will be announced at a later date. At launch the classic game library will include NES games. Super NES games continue to be under consideration, but we have nothing further to announce at this time.”
This also begs the question: what’s going on with Virtual Console? While Nintendo had nothing to say at this time, I’m hoping we’ll get more answers at E3 2017, which is fast approaching.