When the Switch launched back in early March 2017, Nintendo announced plans to release a “paid” online service for the Switch similar to Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus. In June 2017, Nintendo announced the cost of its service; £4 a month, £8 for 3 months or just £20 for the whole year, roughly half the cost of the annual £40 price tag for Xbox Live and £50 price tag for PlayStation Plus. The service was due to be released in the fall of 2017 but was delayed until September 2018.
Now, just a few weeks away from launch, Nintendo has started offering pre-orders for subscriptions to the service on Amazon in 3-month and 12-month packages with the above prices. Subscriptions will presumably be available from the Switch eShop when the service’s launch, but it doesn’t currently offer pre-orders.
As with Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus, Nintendo is offering more than just online gaming with their service. Nintendo offers a “growing library” of classic NES games ported to the Switch, including Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda. The NES library will launch with 20 titles, 10 that are currently unnamed but will presumably always be available to subscribers of the service. Nintendo even promises online play in some NES titles, a concept unheard of when the Internet was just emerging in the late 80’s. For me, this is one of the most charming features of the online service.
On top of that, Switch users will have access to cloud storage for their game saves and system data, giving users peace of mind if their system is lost or stolen and allowing users to move data to another system. Save data currently can’t be moved or copied to any external storage, so the online service is really the only option for those looking to keep their data safe.
The service will also unlock more functionality in the Nintendo Switch smartphone app, and subscribers will get exclusive offers, though Nintendo hasn’t elaborated on what these exclusive offers will be yet.
Even though it means Switch users will have to fork out for another subscription, this is one subscription I’m almost willing to pay. I’m thrilled for the chance to play classic NES titles legitimately and on the move. Being a PC player, I’ve never really been a fan of paying to play online, and my opinion is certainly shared by others, but for just £20 for a whole year, it’s one of the cheapest gaming subscriptions available and one any Switch owner or gaming fan should consider.