Nintendo has confirmed that its paid online subscription, officially named Nintendo Switch Online, will cost $19.99 yearly but will be delayed until 2018.
Details about Nintendo's first foray into paid online multiplayer has been slim so far, especially on crucial matters such as Virtual Console, voice chat, and the price. Previously tipped to launch this fall, speculation suggested the service could cost less than $30.
Nintendo Online Subscription Service Pricing
Those unwilling to shell out $19.99 would be pleased to know that the company will also offer other options. A month's worth of subscription will cost players $3.99, while three months will cost $7.99
Until the service officially launches sometime in 2018, online play will remain free, at least for Nintendo Account holders, the company explained.
Dedicated App Scheduled This Summer
Before the paid service rolls out, Nintendo will first launch a dedicated app meant to be paired with the Switch, as announced previously. Nintendo has remained vague as to what exact setup this might entail, but Hori's new accessory hints that it won't be pretty. The company can confirm this much, though: the app will help players "chat with their friends during online matches in compatible games, set play appointments, and invite their friends to join them online."
A free and limited version of the app will launch this summer for those who want to try it out before the paid service launches next year.
Nintendo Paid Online Service Extras Benefits
Beyond online multiplayer, voice chat, and other features, Nintendo's paid online service will also come with Classic Game Selection access, letting players "download a compilation of classic titles with added online play." The company cited Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight, and Dr. Mario as examples.
Judging by its description, this is possibly the closest gamers will have to a Netflix-like game subscription from Nintendo, similar to Sony's PlayStation Now and Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass. The company's previous announcement made it sound as if classic games will only be made available for a month, thus restricting players access when the given period is over. Kotaku confirms plans have indeed changed.
"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 said.
A paid online subscription will come with eShop deals as well, including special offers and discounts on select digital games and content.
All told, there are still a lot of vague elements about how the service will work, so feel free to sound off in the comments section below if you have any nagging questions.
But for starters, here are a few:
• What are Nintendo's plans for virtual console?
• Will the service's Classic Game Selection be a separate entity from virtual console titles?
• If both will be merged, how will purchases of virtual console be handled?
• Would you need a subscription just to play virtual console titles?
• Will the Classic Game Selection library expand overtime?
• What happens for people who aren't subscribed? Will they be totally barred from online multiplayer or just some features such as voice chat and others?
Expect due coverage when we learn more.