Nintendo Switch Online Service: Everything You Need to Know

The Nintendo Switch's online service will go live in the second half of September, meaning there's only a limited amount of time left to play games like Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe online without a subscription. Players are currently enjoying this luxury for free, so come September it may feel like having something terribly fun yanked from your hands by mean ol' Nintendo for no reason. Boop.

That being said, the service will come with a selection of online-enabled NES games, cloud save backups and more connectivity with the Nintendo Switch smartphone app. The Nintendo Switch mobile app will continue to be "used to enhance the online experience for compatible games through voice chat and other features," so hopefully Nintendo is investing some more person-hours into improving that finicky chat system.

While the Nintendo Switch has supported online multiplayer since its arrival in March 2017, the dedicated, paid online service arrives in the second half of September. Nintendo has yet to provide a more specific date than this.

#NintendoSwitchOnline will launch in the second half of September. The service provides access to online play & Save Data Cloud backup in compatible games and a growing library of NES titles with added online play.

— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) August 10, 2018

Once the Nintendo Switch online service is active, you'll need a live subscription to play online multiplayer in paid games such as Splatoon 2 and ARMS . However, it does not seem you'll need a subscription in order to join the fray when it comes to free-to-play online games such as Fortnite or Paladins . Finally, you can continue playing single player or local multiplayer games with no change.

Nintendo has the following price options planned:

  • 12-month subscription: $20
  • 3-month subscription: $8
  • 1-month subscription: $4

This is about half the cost of a year's subscription of Xbox Live ($50) and even cheaper than PS Plus ($60), though both of these services currently offer more content for the price.

Nintendo has specifically said that owners will not be automatically charged, so there is no need to remove your payment information from your Switch if you don't want to pay for the online service once it activates. You'll need to opt in, probably through a purchase on the Switch eShop.

Nintendo has announced that their online service will launch with 10 classic titles, and another 10 will be revealed later. The games are:

  • Ice Climber
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Balloon Fight
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Dr. Mario
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Donkey Kong

Some games will support screen sharing and controller passing as well, and more titles will continue to arrive, free of charge, as the service grows. This is different from the handful of free , modern monthly games PS Plus and Xbox Live subscribers get.

Critically, Nintendo Switch Online will also have cloud saves, assuming you have an active subscription. This is a huge boon to players with hours worth of data on their systems and no way to protect it in case the console malfunctions.

That being said, the Switch does not allow users to backup their memory via USB or other external storage, which both PS4 and Xbox One offer free of charge. PS4 players can access their cloud data via PS Plus, while Xbox One players can access their cloud saves for no cost at all. This means Nintendo players have to pay in order to protect their games on the cloud, and that's not the best.

What are your thoughts on the upcoming Nintendo Switch Online service? Will you be a first adopter, or are you waiting to see exactly how Nintendo's online attempts fare first? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.