The Nintendo Switch Features a Paid Online Service and a Companion Mobile App

The Nintendo Switch Features a Paid Online Service and a Companion Mobile App

nintendo-switch-320

The Switch's online service will be free until this fall, but to use it all you'll need a smart device handy.

At last night's Nintendo Switch reveal, there was a lot to talk about. Between the games shown off and the pricing and release date info, Nintendo also mentioned something that you might have missed: The Switch will require you to subscribe to its online service for multiplayer.

According the the official Nintendo Switch site, "You'll be able to play compatible co-op and competitive games online by signing in with your Nintendo Account." The online service will initially be free when the Switch launches on March 3, but in the fall of this year, Nintendo plans to launch a paid online service. Its site says, "After the free-trial period, most games will require a paid online service subscription from Nintendo in order to play online." It's worth noting that this service will only be for the Switch, and will not affect Wii U or 3DS online play.

There will be some benefits to paying a subscription to the service, although Nintendo's listing of those benefits has caused some confusion. First, you'll be able to invite your friends to play online, set "play appointments," and chat with friends during online play in games that support it. The strange thing is that those features won't be available on the Switch itself. Instead, Nintendo will launch a "new dedicated smart device app" that will handle those features. A "free, limited version" of that app will be available this summer.

Subscribers will also be able to "download and play a Nintendo Entertainment System™ (NES) or Super Nintendo Entertainment System™ (Super NES) game (with newly-added online play) for free for a month." This is one of the most confusing points. Do you only get the game for that month? Will there be one game from each system, and you have to choose which to play? These details will likely be ironed out in the coming days, but for now how this will work remains somewhat of a mystery.

Finally, subscribers will get "special offers" that "may include discounts on select digital games and content." That's standard fare online services like PS Plus and Xbox's Games with Gold, so it's not surprising to see it. here.

It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone that Nintendo is hoping to get onboard the online service payment gravy train. After all, all its competition is doing it. But the fact that Nintendo is going to offer a paid online service means that once it launches, the PC will be the only platform left that isn't charging you for multiplayer.

Also perplexing is the decision to make game invites, "play appointment" scheduling (seriously, that sounds A LOT like work), and online chat available only through a mobile app seems like a huge missed opportunity. Many gamers won't want to have to have their phones or other smart devices) on hand constantly to communicate with friends. It's possible this is due to design compromises, but I'd totally believe that Nintendo just thought it would be better this way.

We should learn more about the Switch's online service in the coming days and weeks, but for now, you should just be aware that the days of playing online for free on your Nintendo console are coming to an end later this year.

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Huh, cool.

I guess now I really am permanently ascending to the Master Race. If even Nintendo now wants to charge for a bullshit online "service", then console gaming can go fuck itself.

Benefits include:

Chatting, The ability to invite friend. But you need to own another device in order to do this?
Seriously Nintendo?

You are seriously going to hold Online Multiplayer and a Pay to access feature and require that the user own and install your app?

Forget #FuckKonami, we've got #NintenDOH!

Sad thing is, that gamers have only been encouraging this BS. As long as nintendo promises another mario game and another Zelda and a couple pokemon games. People will buy it.

Well... I've been meaning to upgrade my PC hardware.

Having free multiplayer against Sony and Microsoft could have given them some kind of perceivable edge, but instead they decided to play follow the leader. Also, going on their past record, the online isn't going to be good, reliable, or user friendly, so they're asking money for a worse service.

I hope the global trade system isn't going to be locked behind this paywall in future Pokemon installments.

Nintendo: two steps forward, one step back.

ffronw:
But the fact that Nintendo is going to offer a paid online service means that once it launches, the PC will be the only platform left that isn't charging you for multiplayer.

Only in as far smartphone and tablet platforms belong to the PC moniker.

Seeing as these might be among the Switch's primary competition, the competitive pricing of Android's and iOS's multiplayer services bears comparison.

Funny thing is, this has actually made me question why I bother with my PSN+ subscription. I started reading through it thinking "Well, Nintendo's online services thus far have been pretty terrible, they'd better have some good perks like PS+... Wait, do I actually use any of those perks? I haven't played any of their free games, and I've not played online with the PS4 in ages... Huh. I should probably just cancel..."

The mobile app makes sense, seen as though the Switch can be played on the go. Still wondering how it will connect to the net on the go though, will it connect to Wi-Fi only or is that what we have to pay for? The Ability to connect to the internet while outside without Wi-Fi, if so, it kinda makes sense.

....Question though. Serious question. Not defending this at all, but how many multiplayer games that aren't local does Nintendo actually HAVE!? Because from where I'm standing, this move is both a dick move AND stupid.

You fucks better not hold the next pokemons online multiplayer hostage behind that bullshit.

This is what you get from a culture that doesn't see anything wrong with only having ATMs inside banks.

Based on Nintendo's previous online services I fail to see how it could possibly be worth an extra cost on top of the console, especially as they're imitating services that actually offer entire games up each month with the fee (and don't require you to use your phone for live chat, wtf is up with that). Cuts my interest in the Switch in half hearing this stuff; guess I'll be passing on this entire console generation.

ffronw:
There will be some benefits to paying a subscription to the service, although Nintendo's listing of those benefits has caused some confusion. First, you'll be able to invite your friends to play online, set "play appointments," and chat with friends during online play in games that support it. The strange thing is that those features won't be available on the Switch itself. Instead, Nintendo will launch a "new dedicated smart device app" that will handle those features. A "free, limited version" of that app will be available this summer.

Wait a minute, does that mean that the console won't have system level party chat that allows people to talk cross-game with eachother but only through certain games?

It's the 2006's PS3 all over again, isn't it?

I generally only play single-player games, so if I have to give up Splatoon 2 or online Smash... so be it.

Monster Hunter (assuming it comes to the Switch) will be unfortunate, but maybe I'll buy a month or two for this.

All Nintendo had to to do was stick landing after the initial reveal. I was really into the idea of the Switch but the price of the console, games, peripherals and now a subscription service that offers none of the value proposition of its competitors my enthusiasm has nose dived.

erttheking:
....Question though. Serious question. Not defending this at all, but how many multiplayer games that aren't local does Nintendo actually HAVE!? Because from where I'm standing, this move is both a dick move AND stupid.

I guess offhand, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Spla2n, Bomberman, Street Fighter, and Puyo Tetris. Not sure about Arms. At some point, Smash.

So, a lot of the announced launch titles?

Oh Nintendo. I haven't owned one of your console since the GameCube, and I only picked that up at the end of its life because I found the Collector's Edition of The Legend of Zelda Collection for it. But I've noticed that you seem to have this idea that constantly adding new parts to your consoles is the way of the future, despite so many gamers saying otherwise.

Look, I get it. You struck gold with the Wii and it's motion control. But that was lightning in a bottle. Thinking, "Hey, why don't we have them get a completely separate piece of tech and apps for voice chat," is not brilliant, it's dumb. Sony, Microsoft, and the PC have all figured out how to connect chat through their systems. If it isn't broke, don't fix it. But you do, Nintendo. You try so hard to be unique, that you fail to realize that unique does not always mean better, or even good.

And to this all Nintendo fans have to say is "Whatever, other companies do it. Sheesh".

I'm going to have to say, I don't buy anyone that acts like this was the reason they won't be getting the Switch. Sure, there are Nintendo games that have online for the system, but the only game that really needs it is going to be Splatoon, everything else will either be heavily single-player, or local multiplayer based. Arms, bomberman, Mario Kart, I don't know many people that would absolutely need the online for these, these seem more focused on local multiplayer, not online play. And the same will go for Smash later on, and Monster Hunter. Pokemon might also cause some ruffled feathers, but again, most people play Pokemon for the single player experience with some trading with friends. I'm not trying to defend this idea. It's stupid, especially with Nintendo, as all it's done is cemented that I won't be picking up Monster Hunter or Splatoon, but I think the console will still see a lot of play time from me from the new Mario and Zelda alone. Plus the new Xenoblade game looks fantastic, and SMT is my favorite JRPG series, so I can live with just acting like my Switch doesn't even have online capabilities.

If the service is like $10 a year, they might get me with it, but anything more considering how shite their online is anyway is just absurd. But again, I don't feel burned with this like I did with the PS+ shit and the PS4, because I could never connect my Nintendo console to the Internet and not notice a damn difference.

Hmmm free games? To subscribers of a pay service... But it's free? Free... For the low low price of your hard earned pesos

"So guys, the internet is really excited for our new console. What can we do about it?"

"Charge more for the console than current competitors with better hardware and larger libraries, price the controllers higher than any reasonable person would ever believe, and start charging for online play for a machine that is more than likely going to be a secondary console."

"Perfect!"

Repeating from one of my posts elsewhere, but yeah. I'm definitely waiting on this. If Nintendo manages to get a half-decent library on there, some bundles, and a price drop, I might get one.

I agree that having to use a separate device for chatting sounds weird and awkward. But then again, my wife plays Splatoon competitively and uses discord for communicating with her teammates, so that's nothing new, I guess.
The paid multiplayer is a real shame, though.

What do they even have to offer in the realm of online multi-player? Their online service sucks. They better hope their game catalogue knocks it out of the park.

Still, I have a massive stiffy from that SMT teaser.

My main problem with multiplayer paywalls is that I'm not a regular multi-player. What do I do with my subscription when I don't feel like playing online? Most of my games don't even have multiplayer, but I wanna be able to fully use the ones that do, the games I already paid for and should be able to access.

I'm not interested in free games. I already have access to the entire NES and SNES libraries, should I choose to play any of them again.

This is just a part of a greater issue that bugs me about console gaming. You have to accept the paywall or whatever it is because there are no alternatives on the closed platform.

I wonder what Nintendo IPs are even gonna have online MP. The new Mario? Zelda?

Good thing I've never played nintendo games for their stellar (read: God awful) multiplayer service, then. Gonna suck when they do a pokemon game on this thing though.

It's $550 NZD (equal to $400 usd wit conversion), waaaay to expensive, and that's before getting a pro controller or game. Aussie is getting it for just $500 NZD, so we just get an extra $50 charge for some reason...

Think I'll be holding off, since so far there seems to be very little at launch.

klaynexas3:
I'm going to have to say, I don't buy anyone that acts like this was the reason they won't be getting the Switch. Sure, there are Nintendo games that have online for the system, but the only game that really needs it is going to be Splatoon, everything else will either be heavily single-player, or local multiplayer based. Arms, bomberman, Mario Kart, I don't know many people that would absolutely need the online for these, these seem more focused on local multiplayer, not online play. And the same will go for Smash later on, and Monster Hunter. Pokemon might also cause some ruffled feathers, but again, most people play Pokemon for the single player experience with some trading with friends. I'm not trying to defend this idea. It's stupid, especially with Nintendo, as all it's done is cemented that I won't be picking up Monster Hunter or Splatoon, but I think the console will still see a lot of play time from me from the new Mario and Zelda alone. Plus the new Xenoblade game looks fantastic, and SMT is my favorite JRPG series, so I can live with just acting like my Switch doesn't even have online capabilities.

If the service is like $10 a year, they might get me with it, but anything more considering how shite their online is anyway is just absurd. But again, I don't feel burned with this like I did with the PS+ shit and the PS4, because I could never connect my Nintendo console to the Internet and not notice a damn difference.

Speak for Yourself, personally i always hated Zelda and Mario games (smash im not a big fan of either but begrudgingly owned it due to friends) but i really did like some of the other multiplayer titles like splatoon (which was the main draw) and xenoblade cronicles X was pretty decent too (multi was optional but it felt soulless without it), and was looking forward to splat2 and some of the other multiplayer works down the line (hopefully a metroid with a decent multiplayer) but this seems like too much of a hassle for the cost. also i dont know where your getting the "most people only play pokemon for the single player", considering the absolute banality of the story's in pokemon, the online multi-player and social aspect is the only thing going for it. but i digress

besides, i think what going to happen is that nintendo is going to try and force the use of online in more games from here on out, look at the line up, 4 of them are primarily multiplayer games with online in mind, the rest i can see a need for a constant connection in order to access locked out features. business wise, it in nintendo's interest to get as many people paying that 10 per month (which I'm dubious that it will remain there but whatever), so it stands to reason that online features will become more and more mandatory (mario maker anyone?)
that and the fact that nintendo are not releasing all features to all reasons (meaning people living outside of the US and japan like me are screwed from the get go)

all than and the fact that the "free game" you get every month is just a demo (making it have less value than the ps+, if you can believe it) is enough to make me question weather the switch is an investment

hopefully, Nintendo will at least give a bit more value to the subscription at some point, or change some of its policys because right now, its kinda a deal breaker for me

Am I the only one who thinks that controller on the box looks cramp inducing? The way the buttons are directly over the right stick looks awkward.

zellosoli:
snip

Well I do stand corrected on that, though if the Xenoblade game is to be closer to a sequel of the original Xenoblade game I have trouble believing there will be extensive online functionality with the game and that it will probably still be closer focused on the over story and world. As for Pokemon almost everyone I've talked to or have seen play really just play the campaign and endgame of Pokemon, with mostly just trading for the multiplayer aspect, not necessarily for the story but just for the sake of catching and raising and battling Pokemon and facing new challenges, hence why I was saying that there would still be ruffled feathers, but I can't imagine them cutting off all forms of trading behind the paywall, so I also don't see that as an extreme deal breaker for many Pokemon players to just do local battles and trading with their friends.

Also, I'm curious where you're getting the $10 a month thing from. That would be a horrendous price point for Nintendo to make, and every news article on the online service, including the Nintendo site, lack a price point. Not even Sony or Microsoft are charging close to that much, and there's no way Nintendo can have a catalogue of games with online functionality and the servers to back those up that could justify having to pay double what the competition makes you pay, when they have will get more online games in a year than a Nintendo console would ever see. If there is a site claiming that $10 a month is the price point and they have a source to back it up, this only hardens me more to the idea that Nintendo will see this service fail as a whole. I suppose I just believe that the console can still do well while this online service stuff can fail, at least I feel there's a better chance of it happening on a Nintendo console than anywhere else. I do apologize to you that they are screwing you out of what you would want the console for, but if it's any consolation, I won't be supporting this part of the bad habit, and have high hopes that only a small fraction of the user base will even pay for the "service," so there is still a chance that they might drop the charge all together, or work to make it something actually worth paying for, and not just hide game functionality behind pay walls. This is what I'm hoping for in the long run, because I would like to try out Splatoon 2, but they are crazy if they think I'll pay anymore than the base price of the game for their shitty servers.

I hope they finally retire the friend code system with that.

 

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