Nintendo announced changes to the planned launch of the Nintendo Switch Online service Thursday. The subscription service and accompanying mobile app was originally scheduled to go live this year but will now release in 2018 instead. Additionally, a major change is coming to the Classic Games Selection for subscribers.
Nintendo did not announce an exact launch day or even month for the Nintendo Switch Online Service. It notably did not even mention if the paid service will launch in the early, middle, or latter part of the year.
While the release window for the Switch’s online service is still a mystery, the pricing details were fully fleshed out. A one-month membership will cost $3.99 while a three-month membership will be $7.99. A full year membership will run $19.99, which is about what was expected following a statement from Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima in an interview earlier this year.
The online service will allow players to enjoy multiplayer games like Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe when it launches. A dedicated mobile app will also allow players to chat with friends “during online matches in compatible games” as well as invite friends to join a match and “set play appointments.” The new Nintendo account system launched just prior to the Nintendo Switch will be used to connect players online.
Nintendo Switch Online Classic Game Selection and other benefits
Once again, Nintendo will also offer additional benefits for Switch Online subscribers. This includes a PS Plus and Xbox LIVE Games with Gold bonus currently called “Classic Game Selection” (Nintendo made sure to note the name is subject to change.) This will allow subscribers to download and play games like Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight, and Dr. Mario on the Nintendo Switch.
There is one important omission in Nintendo’s explanation of the Classic Game Selection. The company previously mentioned those that download and play those games may only have access to them for a limited time. This is curiously absent, but Kotaku was able to get a clarification from Nintendo that should make fans happy.
“Nintendo Switch Online subscribers will have ongoing access to a library of classic games with added online play. Users can play as many of the games as they want, as often as they like, as long as they have an active subscription.”
The second benefit mentioned for the Switch Online subscription service are Nintendo eShop Deals. Select digital games and other content will be given discounts, likely similar to those seen for PlayStation Plus and Xbox LIVE Gold.
Existing Nintendo Switch service stays free and gets limited app
The existing free online capabilities of the Nintendo Switch will remain active until the paid subscription service launches in 2018. This includes online play. Additionally, Nintendo plans to release a limited version of the mobile app this summer.
Nintendo did not provide any details on how the Nintendo Switch mobile app will be more limited than when the full version is launched. However, a Splatoon 2 headset announcement by accessory manufacturer Hori does confirm that at least online chat will be supported.
Hori released the above image via its official Japanese Twitter account that shows a Splatoon squid shaped adapter that has two separate cords running to a mobile phone and the Nintendo Switch itself. A third cable then connects the headsets, which is similar to those worn by the Splatoon characters. This is to allow simultaneous game audio and online chat through the same headphones.
At first glance, the setup appears to be less than ideal and unlikely to work well when the Nintendo Switch is docked. Given the setup of how Nintendo Switch Online services are managed through a mobile app and there is no support for Bluetooth or similar wireless connection for headsets, this looks to be the required setup for now until an accessory manufacturer devises a wireless adapter or Nintendo revises the Switch with wireless support.
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[Featured Image by Nintendo]