Despite being one of the world’s most recognizable gaming companies, Nintendo has never quite mastered online multiplayer. The company’s game consoles have been hampered by friend codes, confusing (or absent) voice chat systems and inconsistent performance for years. Still, fans often forgave the company. After all, unlike Microsoft and Sony’s services, it was free. It’s hard to argue with free.
That excuse disappears in about a week. Nintendo is getting ready for the full launch of the Nintendo Switch Online service, which places most of the console’s online multiplayer behind a paid membership paywall.
What is it?
Think of Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus, but for Nintendo: It’s the key to multiplayer gaming on the Nintendo Switch. If you want to play games like Splatoon 2 or Rocket League online, you’ll pay for the privilege. The service costs $3.99 for a month, $7.99 for three months or $19.99 if you pay for a full year in advance.
It isn’t all about online multiplayer, though. The Nintendo Switch Online service also gives subscribers a library of classic games, support for cloud backup of game data, access to the Nintendo Switch smartphone app and exclusive offers available only to members.
Let’s take a quick look at each of those benefits, their caveats and a few of the program’s odd quirks you should know about.
Classic Nintendo games
When the Nintendo Switch hit store shelves, it was missing one iconic part of Nintendo’s past several game systems: the Virtual Console. This was what Nintendo called its library of downloadable classic games; the eShop’s catalog of NES, SNES, Game Boy and Nintendo 64 titles. Eventually, Nintendo revealed that these games wouldn’t be made available as separate downloads anymore but would be part of the Nintendo Switch Online service. Think of it as Netflix for select Nintendo games. Now the company has announced about two dozen retro games, all of them from the original NES, that will be paired with the service.
Twenty of those games will be available on launch day, and most of them are classics. Day One subscribers will have access to games like Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, the Legend of Zelda, Balloon Fight, Donkey Kong, Double Dragon and River City Ransom. In October, Nintendo will add Solomon’s Key, NES Open and Super Dodge Ball to the library. In November and December it will follow up with Metroid, Wario’s Woods and other games.
It’s also more than just a subscription-based virtual console. Nintendo is augmenting these classic titles with online multiplayer support, meaning you’ll be able to play Dr. Mario against a friend over the internet. If the game only offers single player, the Switch will allow you to hand off control of the game between turns, and if the second player doesn’t want to actually play, they can use a hand-shaped on-screen cursor to point out hints on a friend’s screen.
Nintendo hasn’t announced the full list of games it’ll add to the service in 2019, but here’s every NES title coming to the Nintendo Switch Online that’s been announced so far:
These are the games Nintendo will add to the service in the coming months:
|October 2018||November 2018||December 2018|
Naturally, you’ll lose access to the games if you let your Nintendo Switch Online subscription lapse. But you should know that you’ll also lose access to your NES library if your console is disconnected from the internet for more than a week. Nintendo says the console needs to check in with the service every seven days to maintain access.
That isn’t an issue with games downloaded from Xbox Live’s Games with Gold or PlayStation Plus.
Access to online multiplayer gaming is the main selling point of most console subscription services. Just like with Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus, subscribing to Nintendo Switch Online will allow you to play games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Arms and Splatoon 2 online.
In addition to working with retail titles, online play is also enabled for the Nintendo Switch Online service’s library of classic games — just in case you want to relive the torture of waiting for player 1 to die before taking your turn in Super Mario Bros.
At least one favorite online multiplayer game will work without a subscription. Fortnite will be playable online even if you don’t have an active online subscription. There may be other exceptions to the rule, presumably for games that feature online multiplayer exclusively. Nintendo hasn’t made a full list available yet…..Read More>>>