This afternoon, out of nowhere, Nintendo launched a new webpage packed with previously unknown information regarding their plans to take their Switch console online. Until now, all we knew were two things: going online would be accomplished through a paid subscription service, and you would get free games from Nintendo’s past library (now with online features).
Now we know how much that will cost: $20 a year. A value of $1.67 per month makes Nintendo Switch Online the cheapest of the three consoles currently offering online services. If you don’t feel that you’ll be using the service all year, there are also one-month plans at $4 and three-month plans at $8. The service will launch sometime in 2018 (it was previously promised for this fall). As for those games, the plan has changed.
Nintendo originally hinted that games like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Dr. Mario would become available one at a time — a new game would arrive each month and you would decide whether or not you wanted to keep it by purchasing it — otherwise, you were free to enjoy it within the month it was available. Now they say you will get all the games instantly, and be able to use them as long as your subscription is active. These games will also have “added online play,” though Nintendo wasn’t specific as to what kind.
There’s also voice chat……ehh, in the loosest sense of the word. It’s true — you have to use a separate phone app to do it. To quote Nintendo, “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.” It’s been commented that Nintendo finds the hard things easy (making games like Breath of the Wild) and the easy things hard (like a simple blasted voice chat function). In Soviet Nintendo, goomba stomps you.
That’s Nintendo Switch Online. The delay means we’ll get to play Splatoon 2 and ARMS for free way longer than originally planned, and when the bills do come, they’ll be super-cheap. By the way, Nintendo still has no comment on Virtual Console — maybe their lips will loosen at E3.