A couple weeks ago Nintendo announced it would be expanding its “Nintendo Switch Online” service, which mainly exists to cover the server fees from keeping multiplayer games running, but throws in a catalog of games from the company’s past as a bonus. Since they were running out of NES and SNES games to put in there, we wondered what the next step would be….and Nintendo took it, announcing not just an expansion of the library into N64 games, but Genesis games as well.
Our immediate thought was “for the same price, sounds great.” But Nintendo said “hold on there, we’re gonna need to raise the cost to cover the licensing of some of these games.” And we said back “Okay, fair…how much are we talking? Five, ten bucks?” Nintendo said “Let us think for a bit and get back to you.” One bit later, they returned today and said “We want FIFTY bucks.” And we said “See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya.”
There is no extra benefit to Nintendo Switch Online’s expansion pass other than the two extra libraries. All your online games will still function the same whether you’re paying $20 or $50. The only difference is the N64 and Genesis stuff, and for a lot of consumers, that simply won’t be enough.
But what about the controllers? Nintendo is releasing authentic, functioning N64 and Genesis replica controllers to go with the expansion. They, like the plan itself, are obscenely expensive at $50 each. I could maybe understand how the N64 controller could be complex enough to warrant a price increase from the NES and SNES controllers ($50 is pushing it)…but the Genny is no more complex than the SNES and it costs exactly the same. Why?
To make matters even more absurd, there exists a wired Genesis replica controller from Retrobit, which uses SIX buttons instead of the three Nintendo’s official offering has, and it’s much cheaper to buy. The controllers will be available to anyone with an NSO subscription (even if you don’t sign up for the expansion), but good luck getting one. The first batch went up early this morning and was gone in an hour.
This is all a large disappointment, and unlikely to be changed due to negative fan response (you play in Nintendo’s yard, you play by Nintendo’s rules, period). The Nintendo Switch Online expansion will go live October 25.