Everything you need to know about Nintendo’s online Switch service

What to expect from Nintendo starting on September 18th
Everything you need to know about Nintendo’s online Switch service
Everything you need to know about Nintendo’s online Switch service

Nintendo Switch owners will soon have the opportunity to expand the capabilities of their portable devices with the launch of a paid online service along the lines of Xbox Live and PSN. Beyond granting multiplayer access to users, the service promises perks such as online cloud saves, and NES games added with multiplayer connectivity. Here’s what to expect.

As previously announced, Nintendo Switch Online ranges in price: $3.99 for a month, $7.99 for three months, $19.99 for a year, and family plans that costs $34.99 (provided there are at least two accounts) — but users can get a seven day free trial to start. Some games, such as Fortnite, won’t require a subscription to play online.

At launch, the NES offerings include titles such as Super Mario Bros. 3 and The Legend of Zelda, and more games will be added down the line. Here’s the full starting line-up:

  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Donkey Kong™
  • Mario Bros.™
  • Super Mario Bros.™
  • Balloon Fight™
  • Ice Climber™
  • Dr. Mario™
  • The Legend of Zelda™
  • Super Mario Bros.™ 3
  • Double Dragon
  • River City Ransom
  • Ghosts’n Goblins™
  • Tecmo Bowl
  • Gradius
  • Pro Wrestling
  • Excitebike™
  • Yoshi™
  • Ice Hockey
  • Baseball

October will see the release of Solomon’s Key, NES Open Tournament Golf, Super Dodgeball, November will have Metroid, Mighty Bomb Jack, and Twinbee, while December will get Wario Woods, Ninja Gaiden, and Adventures of Lolo. According to Nintendo, while some of these games will offer standard co-op, others will give players a different sort of multiplayer experience. As an example, in Super Mario Bros, the second player can be a hand-shaped cursor on the screen that can be used to point specific areas out, or to cheer friends on. Bizarrely, NES games will require players to check-in online on a weekly basis to guarantee access, Eurogamer reports.

The online service will grant members “special offers,” but the Direct did not specify what those would be. The Nintendo Switch website, however, says that anyone with a 12-month subscription will get download codes for special gear in Splatoon 2. The newly-announced NES controllers will also only be available to online subscribers. More offers will be announced down the line.

Nintendo says that cloud saves will automatically be picked up by the cloud, and these back-ups will be available for players even if their Switch breaks. This save data is tied to your account, so you can download it on new systems as well. Online back-ups will not be available for certain titles such as Splatoon 2 and 1-2-Switch, however. Nintendo will also not maintain your saves should your subscription lapse, unlike both PSN and XBL.

Additionally, voice chat for online games will happen via the cumbersome Nintendo Switch online app. Supported games include Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8, Arms, Mario Tennis Aces, as well as NES games.