The Switch launched with free online play, but Nintendo stated from the beginning that it would turn into a subscription service at some point in the future. And now we know when the subscription charge kicks in (sort of) and how much it costs.
Nintendo announced that the ability to play for free online will continue into 2018. However, at some point before the end of next year, a $19.99 a year membership charge will be introduced. If Switch owners want to continue to play online, they'll have to start paying. If $19.99 is too much to pay all at once or you simply want to try the service out first, Nintendo intends to offer one-month memberships for $3.99 and three-month memberships for $7.99. Clearly $20 for a year of access offers the best value.
In return for your cash, Nintendo will allow continued access to its multiplayer servers, but also a dedicated smart device app. The app can be used to chat with your other Switch-owning friends, invite them to play a game online, and set "play appointments." According to Kotaku, a free version of the app is expected to launch before the end of the summer this year, followed by the members-only enhanced version next year.
As an added bonus, Nintendo intends to offer a "compilation of classic titles with added online play" as well as eShop digital game discounts for members. The classic titles so far include Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight and Dr. Mario, but there's bound to be many more added to the library before the subscription kicks in.
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The classic games access is actually different to what Nintendo originally promised. We were expecting to gain access to a different game each month, but now it looks as though Nintendo decided to open up the full library so you can play as much and as many classic games as you like while still a member.
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