Ever since the Nintendo Switch’s launch in March 2017 last year, the online service for the handheld console has been free. However, Nintendo is officially starting a subscription for Switch Online tomorrow, on 18th September 2018. This means that online multiplayer and co-op will soon become a paid service. Still, it seems some games won’t use this rule, and will still feature multiplayer for non-paying members.
According to a FAQ page on Nintendo’s official support site, a Nintendo Switch Online membership is needed for many first and third-party Nintendo Switch games. These include Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Even so, some games such as Fortnite won’t need said membership, and will run just fine.
While not stated explicitly, it looks like Switch Online may be following in Sony’s footsteps with how it handles PlayStation Network. The latter service charges for online play except for free-to-play games and some online games which require their own subscriptions. Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold service does not feature such an exception and charges for all online multiplayer.
Other notable free-to-play games on the Nintendo Switch include Paladins and the upcoming Warframe on 20th November. It will be interesting to see whether these games will also get the Fortnite treatment.
In any case, the Nintendo Switch Online subscription will cost USD3.99 (RM16.50) per month, USD7.99 (RM33) for three months, and USD19.99 (RM82.70) for 12 months. These are much cheaper offers than from Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus, which go for 9.99 USD per month. A family membership costing USD34.99 (RM144.80) per month also exists, which provides the service to everyone in a ‘family group’.
Additional features coming with the service include cloud saves, free NES games, as well as member-exclusive offers and discounts.
The Nintendo Switch Online paid subscription service begins on 18th September 2018. Fortnite is now available for free on the Nintendo Switch eShop.