It has been a long time coming since the console’s release back in March 2017, but the Nintendo Switch‘s online service will finally go online on September 18. Online and Nintendo aren’t two words that get associated together very often and if so, not usually in a positive respect. Nintendo has never really ventured out into online game-play much, especially not with a service that will be on the Switch, but they’re going to give it a try and this is what you need to know.
The online play service that Nintendo will provided will enable players to play games online with friends and others around the world. There are many Nintendo titles that have online access such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2 and the upcoming Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Along with those titles you will be able to play Minecraft with your friends through the service.
When playing with friends, you are able to communicate with them through the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app which launched last year with the console. There you can use the voice chat to talk to them but it would be good for there to be a suitable headset to fit into the controller, but with the interesting tech of the Switch, it might not be that straightforward. The app has been in use since its first iteration, but was mainly used to show leaderboards and results from Splatfest events.
An important feature to the online service is that if you ever lose your Switch or play on a new one, you can cloud save your game files and re-download them so none of your gaming experience and play is lost. If you’re at a friend’s house and want to show them something in your game, all you need to do is log on to your account and your game file will be there waiting for you. If you’re connected to the internet when playing on your Switch, the games will save data and be backed up automatically.
One of the popular aspects of having the Nintendo Switch Online service will be that you will be able to download all Nintendo Entertainment System titles such as Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda. As long as you remained subscribed to the online service you will be able to play all the games whenever you like with 20 retro titles being playable upon launch. This is similar to how Sony and Microsoft let you download certain titles every month with their online network gaming services, but Nintendo always love to go back to their routes and are shelling out a lot more titles than their rivals. This makes an interesting change to the Wii U and previous consoles where retro games could be purchased through the virtual store but are now playable for a much cheaper price.
You will be able to play these retro titles online as well and compete with friends such as getting the highest scores in Donkey Kong or Dr. Mario. You can also interfere with your friends retro games when online where you can add a cursor to their game giving them hints or simply congratulating them. Whilst the retro titles are great they do come with a downside as users will have to login to their accounts once a week in order to keep playing the games. This is unfair for those who are travelling or like some of us who forget or are too busy to keep playing the Switch. It’s classic Nintendo to have a new idea which comes with issues. Once games are downloaded on XBOX and Playstation consoles, they are free to play offline which is something Nintendo will need to look into.
You don’t just have the option for NES games with your Switch, you also have the option to purchase two NES Controllers which are joy-cons and slot into the side of the Switch along with being detached for game-play. They look exactly like the original models only they are hands-free and the top of the controller features the Switch locking that joy-cons have. If you going to play old NES titles you might as well do it with some style! These controllers will available for purchase on launch day.
Nintendo has confirmed that any free-to-play games such as Fortnite will not need a Nintendo Online Service subscription for players to be able to play the game online.
The Nintendo Online prices are considerably cheaper than their competitors but obviously Nintendo’s online world isn’t as vast as theirs.
For A single account:
1 month = £3.49
3 months = £6.99
12 months = £17.99
For a family membership (up to 8 accounts)
12 months: £31.49
For those of you who play Splatoon 2 and added bonus for buying the 12-month membership is that your Inklings will receive exclusive Nintendo Online clothing. If you’re unsure about purchasing the service there will be a 7 day free trial through the Nintendo eShop on the Switch console which is also where you can buy the service along with on the Nintendo store.