Nintendo announced during their live-stream presentation in Tokyo, Japan that the Nintendo Switch will have a fully functional online multiplayer component. In addition to this the service will be free during the launch of the Nintendo Switch starting March 3rd, where free trials will be available to newcomers, but starting in the fall you’ll have to pay to play Nintendo Switch games online.
The news was rolled out on the official Nintendo Switch website, where they announce that gamers will have to put some real life money into the coffers of the Big ‘N’ if they want to keep gaming online on the Nintendo Switch. You’ll have up until fall of 2017 to enjoy the online service for free.
Certain other features will also continue to remain free, as outlined in the press sheet below that was shared by gaming industry sales analyst, Daniel Ahmed.
Nintendo’s online service- pic.twitter.com/8jlmaAv6n9
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) January 13, 2017
What’s interesting is that if you pay for the premium version of the Nintendo Switch’s online service, you’ll get to game online, utilize online lobby and voice chat applications, get a free monthly download of an NES or SNES game, as well as exclusive discount deals.
If you don’t pay for the service, you’ll be stuck with the ghetto version of Nintendo’s online service, limited to the Nintendo eShop so you can buy digital games, register and manage your friends list (but you won’t be able to voice chat with them), share screenshots to social media using the Nintendo Switch’s share button, and access the Nintendo Switch parental controls app.
I’m curious if other third-party apps will be locked behind a paywall or if you’ll be able to access them for free? Microsoft tried that with Xbox Live Gold at one point, forcing people to have to pay to access stuff like Netflix and Hulu, but after enough of a backlash they removed that restriction. Sony has also enabled people to access the apps on the PS4 without requiring a premium PS Plus account.
I’m sure Nintendo will clarify the details either during the launch of the Nintendo Switch or during their next big event, presumably at E3 later this year.