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Nintendo Switch Online Details Announced

Nintendo has finally delivered more information about its paid online program called Nintendo Switch Online. As was previously known, the membership will cost $3.99 for one month, $7.99 for three months and $19.99 for twelve months.

A new family membership option has been announced for $34.99 for twelve months. This allows up to eight Nintendo Account holders to use the Switch Online service, even on different systems and should come in very handy for those households where more than one Switch is being used. Starting on May 15, 2018 you will be able to create a Nintendo Account Family Group via your Nintendo Account settings to link them together as a family group.



So what does being a member get you? Well, starting in September when the service launches you’ll need it to play online compatible games. Nintendo has confirmed that Splatoon 2, ARMS, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Mario Tennis Aces, and Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido will require a Nintendo Switch Online membership to play online, “but other games will vary”.

One of the key perks of the membership is access to the NES – Nintendo Switch Online, a compilation of classic NES games. At the launch of the service Nintendo will have 20 games ready for the launch and promises more on a regular basis. Depending on the game, players will be able to play online competitive or cooperative multiplayer, or even take turns controlling the action. That means even single player games can be played online with one person watching and the other playing. In a very Nintendo-like move, you can then virtually pass the controller to the other player to let them have a crack at it. The games announced so far for the service include: Soccer, Tennis, Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight, Ice Climber, Dr. Mario, and The Legend of Zelda. We know some people were hoping for leaderboards, but that doesn’t appear to be one of the features at this time.



Although not specifically addressed, we assume that once your membership expires you will no longer have access to the classic NES games. It will be interesting to see how often Nintendo updates the lineup of games, and which third parties contribute. Since this appears to be replacing Virtual Console, we hope other systems are added in the future.

Another big feature of the service and one that has been requested time and time again is finally coming: save data cloud backup! You’ll be able to save your data online for easy access. Nintendo will have more information prior to the September launch, but this is an amazing step forward and one that was needed incase your system ever breaks or gets stolen.



The one big negative about the Switch Online is that it still requires a stupid smartphone app to chat with your friends. This wasn’t a good choice last year when it launched with Splatoon 2 (which by the way is still the only game using the app), and it’s not a good choice now. It’s better than nothing, but it’s just unfortunate Nintendo couldn’t step away from this absurd choice and integrate the voice chat into the system itself.

Although no new information was provided, Nintendo is still listing special offers as part of the Switch Online package. We’re assuming it will work like PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold where the price of some digital games get extra discounts for members. These special deals and offers will be communicated closer to launch.



So, that’s the new information round-up for the Switch Online paid service. In many ways we already knew most of it, but it’s great to see a few more things clarified. The cloud saves are a great addition, the family account service is extremely smart due to the portable nature of the device, and having 20 NES games at launch is a fantastic start. We can’t help but be disappointed that there still isn’t a traditional Virtual Console service available for the Switch. We like to own our content, but if Nintendo continues to add classic games to the service every month without taking older ones down, then the catalog could become very enticing!


Nintendo’s upcoming Nintendo Switch Online service is an affordable, multi-featured paid service that lets users enjoy online play for compatible Nintendo Switch games, access classic NES games with added online functionality, back up save data for most games and use additional features for the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app that will enhance the online experience for compatible games.

Nintendo revealed more information about Nintendo Switch Online, including pricing, Save Data Cloud backup and additional details about the classic NES games subscribers will be able to play when it launches in September.

U.S. Pricing: Various price points offer a variety of affordable options for different players.

Individual memberships:

  • One month: $3.99
  • Three months: $7.99
  • 12 months: $19.99

Family membership (12 months): $34.99
With a family membership, up to eight Nintendo Account holders will be able to use the Nintendo Switch Online service, even on different systems.

Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online: Subscribers will have access to NES – Nintendo Switch Online, a compilation of classic NES games. The collection will initially include 20 games, with more added on a regular basis. At launch, previously announced games Balloon Fight, Dr. Mario and Super Mario Bros. 3 will be joined by Donkey Kong, Ice Climber, The Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros., Soccer, Super Mario Bros. and Tennis. An additional 10 launch games will be announced in the future.

For the first time ever, players will be able to enjoy these classic NES games online. Depending on the game, players can engage in online competitive or co-op multiplayer, or take turns controlling the action. Friends can even watch each other play single-player games online, and “pass the controller” at any time. Every classic NES game will support voice chat via the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app*. It will also be possible to play these games offline.

Save Data Cloud Backup: By using Nintendo Switch Online, a backup of Nintendo Switch save data for most Nintendo Switch games will be stored online for easy access. This is great for people who want to retrieve their data if they lose, break or purchase an additional Nintendo Switch system.

Online Play: A Nintendo Switch Online membership will be needed to participate in co-op and competitive online features for many current and upcoming Nintendo Switch games, such as Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, Mario Tennis Aces and Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido.

Nintendo Switch Online App*: The Nintendo Switch Online smartphone application can be used to enhance the online experience for compatible games through voice chat and other features.

*The Nintendo Switch Online app is for Nintendo Account holders 13 years old or older. Persistent internet access and compatible smartphone are required. Data charges may apply.

For more information about the Nintendo Switch Online service, visit https://www.nintendo.com/switch/online-service.


Craig Majaski

Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published across a wide spectrum of media sites. He's currently the Editor-In-Chief of Nintendo Times and contributes to Gaming Age.

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