When the Nintendo Switch launched in March it came devoid of any substantial online capabilities, aside from a game shop. Nintendo promised subscription-based online play, the eShop, and more would come later, and today they’ve officially announced the plan to give the Nintendo Switch full online features (which every competitive console has had since 2006 by the way).
The full online service won’t officially launch until 2018, nearly a full year after the console launch. Though with the release of Splatoon 2 and ARMS imminent, Nintendo announced that online play will remain free until the end of the year, so you can keep playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with your friends.
When it does launch, Nintendo’s online service will cost you $3.99 a month or $19.99 for the entire year, which is considerably cheaper than the subscriptions for rivals PlayStation and Xbox. Included in that charge is access to a smart phone app that can be used for friends lists, voice chatting, and more. The app sounds like a Nintendo-centric answer to Discord, the chatroom and voice chat service that has become immensely popular with PC gamers.
Nintendo’s online service will also include access to classic Nintendo games that have been upgraded with online play. Classic games like Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight and Dr. Mario will be available for free for all subscribers.
It’s good to finally hear the plan for Nintendo Switch’s online features, though the idea of a console not having a fully functional online service for nearly a year after its launch is still a baffling move.