Nintendo Switch's Online Service Will Be $29.95/Year [UPDATE]

Nintendo Switch's online service will cost $29.95/year and will launch at some point in 2018, the publisher said today. Playing Switch games online will be free until the service launches.

You can also get a one-month subscription for $5.95 and a three-month subscription for $11.95.

As Nintendo previously said, voice chat and online lobby features won't be available on the Switch itself. Instead, you'll have to use them through a smartphone app that Nintendo says will be launch this winter. "Our new dedicated smart device app will connect to Nintendo Switch and let you invite friends to play online, set play appointments, and chat with friends during online matches in compatible games─all from your smart device," the company says. "A free, limited version of this app will be available for download in summer 2017."

Nintendo adds that subscribers will get free versions of classic games with added online features, citing Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight and Dr Mario as examples. Previously, Nintendo had said that subscribers will get access to a different game each month, but that plan appears to have changed:

UPDATE (12:13PM): Nintendo confirmed that this monthly plan has indeed changed, telling Kotaku: "Nintendo Switch Online subscribers will have ongoing access to a library of classic games with added online play. Users can play as many of the games as they want, as often as they like, as long as they have an active subscription."

However, Nintendo's classic game service remains one of the Switch's biggest mysteries, as the publisher has not yet offered any details on how it will approach any sort of Virtual Console this generation. When asked about the Virtual Console's future, Nintendo offered: "We have nothing to announce on this topic."

UPDATE (June 3, 6:14AM): Australian pricing has now been released. The article has been updated to reflect this pricing.


    That is a decent price. Nintendo doing something positive for consumers?
    Oh wait, they are making people use their phone for half the features. Scratch that.

      This articles fails to mention the comments from Reggie recently.

      He has led me to believe that an app will come onto your phone which will enable you to use any headset you like via the phone. Wired or wireless........

      The only difference between this service and competitors, is the fact you'll need a smart device connected to wifi for it to work instead of just the console. All the third part solutions out there at the present will be redundant when the Nintendo app is released.

    That's nice and cheap, awesome.

      Cheap, sure but 20 Nintendo dollars will normally buy you:
      3 NES games on the 3DS Store
      Half of a three year old handheld remake of a 20 year old N64 game
      A solid plastic Amiibo figurine with a 20c NFC chip

      In the absence of information, I wouldn’t assume you’ll be getting a lot for your $20p.a.

        Eh, a Netlifx line up of NES games is pretty good along with online play for a few cents a day. Well worth it by the time it launches because Splatoon 2 will be out. That's one of the games that got constant play last gen.

    nice and cheap.. thats great.. im not soo butthurt about the game rent thing now.

    The day Nintendo goes 3rd party will be the greatest day in gaming history.

    I swear they don’t know what the internet is half the time. Their OS sucks, their BC sucks, their store sucks.

    Why is it taking them a year to get the online platform working?!? What modern company does that?
    Why are the only games that have been announced on it NES games?!? The clock on my microwave could run NES games- why would you lead your announcement with those?
    Why is it $70 for a Streetfighter II remake on the Nintendo store?
    Why is it $90 for Bomberman (I got the 360 version on the Xbone for $3 last week)?

    The best game Nintendo has released in a decade is one of the first to utilise no gimmicks and which could be done on a standard platform.

    So f*cking frustrating! I’m a huge fan of their games but I don’t know how anyone could be an apologist for the company. They’re mind-bogglingly inept.

      They are making too much money for that to happen. They have so much money in the bank they can continue fine if the Switch stopped selling today and they brought out the Wii U 2 for next gen.

        That would be hilarious!

        Nintendo: "OK, we are ceasing production or the Switch..."
        Consumers: "#[email protected]^^@#^ @#$^%#[email protected]#$^@^!$#@!#"
        Nintendo: "..but please look forward to our next generation Wii U 2!"
        Same Consumers: "*squee* Oh Nintendo! We love you! The Wii U 2 will be awesome!"

          Exactly. It's the senseless fanboys who keep the company afloat regardless of nintendo's downright stupid actions at every turn.
          Gullible idiots.

            Here I was thinking it was the great games and unique hardware as to the reason why they are very successful.

            Random Internet troll said different obviously I and the millions of others are wrong.

      They do some pretty dumb stuff, I agree. The delay on the online service is a little confusing - the 3DS was the same - there was no eShop and no web browser until a month or two after release. I'm okay with waiting in this case, because it's not earth shattering or central to the console's success.

      I think the drip-feeding of VC stuff is honestly financial - I'm speculating, but given their VC library is basically a license to print money, they're drip feeding them to maintain an income. It makes sense to release them staggered, as opposed to all at once. I don't think hardware capability is the issue, they're just being cautious.

      As for pricing on stuff like SF2 and Bomberman, I completely agree - but I don't think it's Nintendo that decides the pricepoint for 3rd party games.

      I'm not defending Nintendo, because sometimes their strategies and decisions are just 'lolwut?' but honestly it seems to be partially what keeps them different to everyone else and not just another Sony/MS.

      Given the WiiU, I'm happy with progress on the Switch so far.

      How do you reconcile their ineptitude with their penchant for making unbelievable sums of money? If they're accomplishing their goal... Well.. Uh, not sure what else to say.

        There is a popular faith that “God takes care of children, fools and Nintendo.”
        - Otto von Bismarck

        Last edited 02/06/17 12:55 pm

          Their name literally can be translated to "As Heaven wills", so yeah, there's that.

        I can help you with that!

        If you criticise them, they might attempt to strike a balance that more reasonably favours the consumer of their product.

        You do understand that you’re a consumer, right? And that that urge to blindly defend their best interests because you own their product is counter to your own interests?
        Like you said, they’re doing pretty well- they won’t go broke if you take a reasonable approach.

        Take a deep breath- then be willing to applaud the good things they do (like make Zelda) and criticise the shit things they do (pricing, hardware…. almost everything else).

        They make money because they make great games, just like Apple makes money because they make great phones. It doesn’t mean they can’t be criticised when they do stupid shit like steal your personal information.

          Spot on, we're all consumers and we shouldn't support products or companies that work counter to our interests. For example, we shouldn't be supporting large publishers, or platform holders like Steam, and we especially shouldn't be supporting any of the console manufacturers - any of them.

          So with that premise established and agreed upon, how do you suppose this will work? "The day Nintendo goes 3rd party will be the greatest day in gaming history."
          Because it looks like a pretty shit statement from here.

      How did you buy Super Bomberman R on 360 for $3 when it is only available on Switch right now and XB1/PS4 version is coming in June?

    Sounds good. A little sad at the delay, but keen to see how it pans out. As for mobile device, I've got a Galaxy Tab that's pretty much always on my desk anyway. Will likely use that for comss/party stuff.

    Voice chat via a phone app is still a ridiculous concept. I understand that they want to keep it away from young kids who aren't a good fit with voice services (for obvious reasons), but this is just bananas. Why would anyone even use the app? Discord exists, Skype exists, and so do a ton of other services.

    A better solution would be for Nintendo to require a once-off setup for voice services, after someone has already started their subscription. Make them enter their credit card details again to confirm age, and force them to designate specific user accounts on the Switch that are allowed to use voice chat. That would make them jump through the same hoops that would keep young kids out of a phone app, without dumping the whole voice system in the toilet.

      Part of it is probably offloading the processing power and other resources needed to another device. I mean, the thing is a tablet, it's not a beast like the other consoles.

        Please, If the CPU in the Switch is so bad it cant handle voice comms it wouldnt be able to play games in the first place. I have a 5 year old tablet that handles voice comms without taxing the processor at all. This is just pure laziness from Nintendo, Plain and simple

          I agree. Hell the DS systems could do voice comms, thts iver 10 years ago and a much less powerful system.

          I wonder if it's because they didn't build a mic into the Switch.

      Once the app comes out I think most will be surprised by just how good the idea is.

      You can use Skype......but it will unlikely be linked to the game you're playing etc.

    *Edited because I reread the article and it doesn't do what I thought it did.

    Last edited 02/06/17 1:43 pm

    *looks above*

    Yep, business as usual.

    Not interested until we get Australian pricing.

    I am already looking at dual PS+ subscriptions, this would be no different. How else am I going to get Friday the 13th on my PS4.

    The news of the altered 'classic games' service is actually quite important, maybe needed its own article?

    If it was any other video game company a Netflix-style service for games would be considered a big deal.

    C'est la vie.

      The service is $20 a year, we don’t know much about it, but is coming from a company that charges $6.50 to download a NES game and the three “online enabled” games are all 30 years old!

      It doesn’t need its own article because it’s underwhelming as hell.

      MS has a ‘Netflix style’ service for Xbone/ 360 games.
      PS has a ‘Netflix style’ service for PS2/3 games (which sucks…. but still)

      This announcement by Nintendo is noteworthy only for how underwhelming it is. Even if it was $20 a year for unlimited play of every NES game that ever existed it would still be lame.

      I’m guessing the “online features” will be nothing more than a high-score register.
      Anyone want to bet me that, given Nintendo’s LONG history of intentionally crippling their products to ensure nobody gets value from them, that these features have been added so they can use them as an excuse to ensure players are “always online” even if this undermines the benefit of mobile play?

      Given the ludicrous simplicity of emulating a NES game, I’m guessing that this is the whole reason for the delay. Don’t want anyone pirating those valuable NES games!

        I like how to praise something lacking concrete details is somehow corporate fellatio but to draw a long bow such as this and crap on it when you read the same exact thing I did is totally fair :D

        You either want Nintendo 'to go third party' because they can't possibly compete with the others, or you want to take the view that they all do in fact compete with each other - when you list out and compare what they Nintendo.

        It's always simultaneously "Nintendo is in the same competition so has to do better!" or "Nintendo is light years away from being viable so they should give up!"

        Pick one.

          Where did I say Nintendo weren’t competitive or viable?

          As a consumer, I want them to go 3rd party because they make fantastic games and then back it up with terrible decisions relating to….. well everything except making a handful of fantastic games per generation. You can’t price your way out of those shitty decisions, and there’s no way to access their products that feels fair (unless your pirate them for free on your PC)- you have to choose between eating a sh*t sandwich or not paying for Nintendo’s games at all. It doesn’t have to be that way.

          You know full well this won’t be a great service that’s embraced by many at a reasonable price; it’ll be a poorly conceived, broken ass service that’s embraced by a small handful of people begrudgingly at a comically inflated price…. because that’s Nintendo’s (viable) business model and always has been.

          The fact that they’ve gone out of their way to point out that you get three “free” NES games should tell you that it’s not going to be some drastic change of policy. At $20p.a it’s going to be a shit service that offers limited SNES games at best- if there was any intention to get even N64 games on there you know Nintendo would be charging at least $100p.a.

            Well as I said from the start I'm not interested yet, I'd have to wait for more information relevant to our region and with E3 right around the corner I'm not going to get too bent out of shape about this. You're ignoring that in favour of hyperbole about...everything.

            We're entering go home you're drunk territory if we go any further!

              I am about to go home and get drunk, so you're not far off.

              Have a good weekend. Play some Zelda!

          I'm just hoping that the selection of classic games isn't a rotating selection (like a crippled version of PS+) but is more like EA Access or Playstation Now (with download rather than streaming).

          Good on Nintendo for at least expanding on the pathetic "one rotating game per month".

          Value-wise, I'm pretty sure that Sony or MS would put roughly the same price towards "network costs" and the rest (or as little as possible of it) towards the 'free games' so at least Nintendo isn't over-selling the 'value' of access to its classic games.

          But seriously? Why isn't Australia getting Friday the 13th on PS4?

            Don't know!

            They're NES and SNES games, so it could be either, really.

            I'm not sure about Friday 13th. That's obviously because its developer hasn't even got a publisher to even handle non-US markets (or does, and it isn't competent enough yet).

    So will there be monthly subscriber game sales or just the ability to play the NES version of Bible Stories with online competitive multiplayer?

      Nevermind, Vooks had a chart which shows eshop deals as a bonus.

    Thank god they've delayed it. Maybe they can use that extra time to figure out how to deliver some kind of value, so we're not just paying for a smartphone app and NES game rental that aren't even going to be used because we're too busy using Discord to play current games.

      The value is in not using Discord.

        I don't see where the value is in that, since it lets you do text chat and talk to strangers who aren't in your friends list and doesn't cost anything.

    A year to implement online and store. Jesus...

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