Nintendo’s first foray into a paid online gaming service received two major upheavals on Thursday: a delay and a content upgrade.
A Nintendo announcement clarified that Nintendo Switch Online’s original “Fall 2017” paid launch window has bumped into a vague “2018” window. The service costs as little as Nintendo hinted in February: $20 a year, or you can dip your toes by paying $4 a month. (That’s well below the $60-per-year rate for PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold.) UK pricing hadn’t been confirmed at the time of writing.
Good news, that means Nintendo won’t be charging for online Switch gaming for at least a few more months. (The paid service will eventually be required to access the online multiplayer modes of newer games, though Nintendo still hasn’t clarified whether older pre-service games will be affected.) Bad news, the original plan was to shut down the service. launch a fully working free trial this summer, including links to the Nintendo Switch Online app for smart devices. Now Nintendo says all you can expect this summer is a “limited” version of that app. Nintendo has not made it clear which of the app’s advertised features (including online matchmaking, voice chat with friends, and game invite management) will make it to the limited version.
The much better news comes from an adjustment to one of Nintendo Switch Online’s advertised features: access to classic Nintendo games, complete with online multiplayer upgrades. Those games are still coming to paying subscribers, but originally Nintendo said that this way players would only get one classic game per month — and that access would expire at the end of the month unless Nintendo fans paid to get the game in question. to buy. Now Nintendo makes this subscription feature a whole lot easier: as long as you subscribe, you get access to the whole range of classic, online enhanced games forever. (In contrast, cancel your subscription and your access to the games will disappear.)
We don’t know how many games Nintendo will put into this “compilation” of classic games, nor whether the games will be unlocked in one go or added over time. And there’s no telling if we can expect, say, anything close to the 30-game roster on the discontinued NES Classic. But the first three games announced…Super Mario Bros. 3, balloon fightand dr. Mario—everything happened to be part of the NES Classic, and the company’s use of the word “compilation” gives us hope that subscribers will at least get access to quite a few games. (Before the NES Classic, the company’s last major compilation of classic games was a gift of 20 games to 3DS owners who bought the system before the price dropped incredibly early.)
At IGN’s request, a Nintendo spokesperson said the compilation would initially be limited to NES games. “Super NES games are still under consideration, but we have nothing more to announce at this time,” the rep told IGN.
Nintendo did not answer questions about Virtual Console coming to Nintendo Switch, nor about whether these games will appear in a version of Nintendo Switch Virtual Console. It also didn’t confirm whether we’d be able to hear that news at this month’s E3 Expo.
Still, Nintendo has done well for fans with this change to the service, which originally would have plagued access to so many classics and then ripped them off. (And it’s a great turnaround after Thursday’s clunky headset and app-related Switch news.) Nintendo, you guys might be idiots canceling the NES Classic, but if it just means you’re done earning extra money on old NES games, we accept the trend.
List image by Nintendo of America