Late last night, Nintendo unveiled the first concrete of the Switch’s online service… which will be known as Nintendo Switch Online.
Set to launch sometime in 2018, Nintendo Switch Online’s main purpose is to give Switch owners the ability to play online multiplayer matches against other people. But until Nintendo Switch Online launches, the consoles’s online multiplayer options will be available for free.
However, Nintendo will also offer a variety of eShop Deals to Switch Online subscribers, as well as access to the Classic Game Selection, a Netflix-like selection of downloadable classics. The first batch of games will include Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight, and Dr. Mario, and Switch owners will also be able to play Classic Game Selection titles online with their friends. More titles will be added to the service after it launches.
Nintendo later clarified to Kotaku that Switch owners will have “ongoing access” to the retro titles in the Classic Game Selection, and that, “Users can play as many of the games as they want, as often as they like, as long as they have an active subscription.”
Voice chat and friend list features for the Nintendo Switch Online will be handled through a dedicated mobile app. Switch owners will be able to try out a “limited version” of Nintendo’s new communication tool this Summer.
If this all sounds very similar to Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus, I’m sure that’s by design. But Nintendo’s Switch Online service will be considerably cheaper. Players will be able to sign up for a full year for $19.99, and short-term tiers offering one month ($3.99) or three months ($7.99) of service will also be available.