One of the announcements which shocked interested Nintendo Switch consumers the most, was the implementation of a paid online service model – which is a first for the company. Yes, during the Nintendo Switch Live Presentation which took place last month, Nintendo did in fact confirm that online would have to be paid for in order to use on the Nintendo Switch, as the company must earn revenue to ensure servers are running smoothly, and at their absolute best to ensure a quality online experience. Many gamer’s know all to well that this just comes with the territory when it comes to online gaming on consoles, but is something completely foreign to the Nintendo community, until now.
While Nintendo did not talk pricing when they announced that Switch online would see a required subscription, the company did state that subscribers would receive a free NES or SNES game to download and play during the duration of that month. While originally there was a bit of confusion regarding if the titles would be available to keep forever, or if they would just be available to play for a limited amount of time; Nintendo has confirmed that the free game of the month would only be available to play for that given month.
In terms of official pricing however, a recent report released by Destructoid states that Tokyo-based consultant, Dr. Sekan Toto, recently had a conversation with the Present of Nintendo, and has pinned the pricing for the Switch’s online service to be set somewhere between 2,000 – 3,000 yen, which adds to about $17-$26 per year. While it’s likely this will round to around $25-$30 for an annual subscription, it’s definitely significantly cheaper than of what both Microsoft and Sony require for an annual subscription for their online platforms ($59.99).
While at this time, it’s fairly certain that PlayStation users and Xbox users will be receiving much more from their online platforms to justify the price-point, when compared to what the Nintendo Switch is offering right out the door. As confirmed several times by Nintendo, the majority of the Switch’s online features, such as voice chat and lobbies, will be dealt with through an external app which users must use on their smart devices. Considering we have yet to see this app in action, with only one month until the official release of the Switch; I’m quite relieved that myself and other soon-to-be Switch owners alike, will not be required to pay for online services until later in the year, as Nintendo has also recently confirmed.
The Nintendo Switch official launches worldwide on March 3rd.