Nintendo Confirms That Free Monthly Switch Games Will Expire

Some of the Switch's confusing online policies have been clarified by Nintendo.

Update 1: 01.16.17

A Nintendo of America representative has confirmed that the monthly free NES or SNES game you receive when you subscribe to the Switch’s online service will only be available to play during the month you receive it.

This report comes from Wired’s Chris Kohler who was informed by a Nintendo representative that, “Monthly free classic game on Switch is indeed only available for that month.”

At this time, it’s still not entirely clear how many games you will be receiving each month or how these games will be chosen. The wording of the original statement seems to allude to the possibility these games will somehow be modified to take advantage of the Switch’s online features, but Nintendo has not yet clarified their position on that specific matter. 

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However, Nintendo has verified that the Switch’s online service will require users to download the Switch app in order to use voice chat. In an interview that Reggie Fils-Aime gave to IGN, he stated that convenience was the main factor behind this decision.

We want to reinforce the capability to take your experience with you on the go,” said Fils-Aime. “The ability to do matchmaking, voice chat through your phone, it’s a hell of a lot more convenient than having a gamer headset stuck into your backpack trying to do that.”

GamesBeat has also spoken to Nintendo of American assistant manager of public relations David Young who confirmed that the Switch’s online service will not support Miiverse or StreetPass. According to Young, Nintendo will not be carrying the mobile-friendly StreetPass feature to Switch as they primarily view the device as a home console. 

Original Story: 01.13.17

Nintendo is slowly releasing the first details regarding the Switch’s online services, and they are…interesting. 

As noted during the Switch’s reveal event, Nintendo will be charging users a fee in order to play games online and perform certain other features. Unfortunately, we do not know the annual price of Nintendo’s premium online capabilities at this time. 

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What we do know is that your monthly fee will allow you to do more than just play games. Nintendo has confirmed that their subscribers will receive a free NES or SNES game every month, but the wording of the offer is a bit strange. At present, it sounds like you might actually be just renting the games for a month as opposed to being able to keep them for as long as you have the service. Additionally, it sounds like the games you will receive will have been modified to allow for online play. However, neither of those points have been officially confirmed at this time. 

Premium users will also receive special deal offers throughout the year similar to the ones PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold members enjoy. 

The standout announcement regarding Nintendo’s premium online service, however, relates to what you won’t be able to do. At present, it appears that online social functions such as lobby chat and invites will all be performed via the Nintendo Switch app. Nintendo has not yet made any reference to naitve chat and invite features within the Switch’s software. As that would certainly be an odd omission, we will wait to hear an official statement from Nintendo before verifying that is the case. 

With or without native chat functionality, the make or break factor for the Nintendo Switch’s online service will be the price. The Nintendo Switch has so far exceeded many of the price points the console was rumored to ship with. However, it’s difficult to imagine that Nintendo will exceed a $60 annual fee unless the service includes more features we have yet to hear about. 

This service is expected to be available in the United States, Canada, and Mexico sometime in the fall.