Nintendo is joining the likes of Sony and Microsoft and launching its own paid online subscription service for the new Switch console. Details are thin beyond staples like voice chat, but the company confirmed at its Switch launch event in Tokyo today that a premium online service would replace its previous model of letting players access multiplayer for free. Nintendo stresses that it will be an improvement over its past game-specific services.
“Users will be able to try out Nintendo Switch online services for free during a trial period after launch,” Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima said onstage. “Then it will become a paid service beginning in the fall of 2017. We will provide additional details on this paid service and its features on our home page at a later date.”
Nintendo clarified after its press conference that the online service will give members a free game NES/SNES download per month, similar to the perks offered by Sony and Microsoft with PSN and Xbox Live. There will also be planned discounts and other software deals to make being a member more appealing. However, the company did not disclose pricing. But PSN and Xbox Live memberships both cost $60 a year, so we can expect something likely similar for Nintendo’s new online offering.
As for what it’ll be called, there are past announcements from Nintendo that suggest the Switch will connect with the Nintendo Account system it developed in partnership with mobile game company DeNA. That system launched in February of 2016 alongside Nintendo’s Miitomo social app.
Update 2:09AM, 1/12: Clarified that Nintendo plans on giving away one free NES or SNES game per month with its online service.