Online multiplayer hasn’t always been the best aspect of Nintendo’s consoles, but with the Switch, there have been signs that things might change for the better. And, about 18 months on from its original release, the Nintendo Switch’s online service is finally due to launch in “the second half of September.”
Like the equivalent services on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the Switch’s online service has a cost attached: $3.99 for one month, $7.99 for three months, or $19.99 for a year.
The more intriguing option is what Nintendo calls its Twelve Month Family Membership, which, for $34.99, allows up to eight Nintendo accounts to use the subscription service – even on different consoles. We’ll be interested to hear what the restrictions are on this; do users have to prove they’re all members of the same family, or could a bunch of friends – and maybe Big Steve who lives down the road – all club together and basically get a year’s subscription for less than $5? At present, Nintendo’s wording (“all members of the group will have access to Nintendo Switch Online”) implies that we will.
So anyway, what do we get for our monthly investment? First, a bunch of games, some more scintillating than others. At launch, you’ll get access to the NES hits Balloon Fight, Dr. Mario, Super Mario Bros 3, Donkey Kong, Ice Climber, The Legend Of Zelda, Mario Bros, Soccer, Super Mario Bros, and Tennis. It’s the usual roster of suspects, really, though the addition of things like voice chat and online multiplayer are nice to have, and Nintendo says it’ll be adding more games to the selection after launch – we’re hoping for a few, more unusual titles for the NES and other retro systems.
The more important features, though, are the cloud saves, which means we’ll be able to save our games online for access anywhere. Further details are currently thin on the ground, though Nintendo says it’ll be explaining more ahead of Switch Online’s launch in September. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more.