Delays to Launch of Paid Nintendo Switch Online Services
Many of you remember that at launch Nintendo promised us a paid online service for the Switch for things like multiplayer co-op and voice chat functions. Well, the official launch of the Switch Online program, originally planned to launch this fall, has been set back. In fact the only date they’re giving at this point is 2018.
According to Nintendo’s website Switch Online, as they are calling, will have a whole host of features. The voice chat and lobby function will allow players to chat either out of game or with compatible games. This feature does require users to connect to these voice chats via mobile phone apps which is less than ideal. Honest, I’ll stick with using one of the multitude of voice chat apps on my phone.They have promised that a limited version of this app will be available this summer, so you will be able to test it out then.
Additionally, they’ll be giving subscribers access to a Classic Game Selection. Which means that subscribers will be able to download some of those classic games that we all love, like Super Mario Brothers 3, Balloon Fight, and Dr. Mario. If you check out their site you may notice that there’s an asterisk next to the title of this section. “Product name subject to change.” Honestly it’s sounding more and more like Nintendo is just pulling stuff out of their rears without planning ahead.
The most important aspect for most gamers is the online gameplay. This is the only portion of the program that is actually available now. The service is listed as “Free until 2018”, meaning that because the program isn’t actually live they can’t charge you for it. However, whenever in 2018 that the program launches you’ll have to pay for the option to do online multiplayer co-op.
That being said they have released prices, and it’s not so bad. With pricing starting at $3.99 USD for one month, a three month membership for $7.99 USD, or you can just pay of the whole year for a whopping $19.99 USD. If you pay yearly you’ve effectively brought the cost down to $1.67 a month. So I’m really surprised at how reasonably priced the subscription is.
So basically what we have is a program planning to launch some time next year. It’s reasonably priced. Xbox and PlayStation are charging $9.99 a month or $59.99 a year for their online services. Making Switch Online almost a third of the price. Also included in the deal are discounts on games purchased through the Nintendo eShop. The program does require the use of the smart phone app to use voice chat, which is less than ideal, but it’s there for those that want to use it. And you’ll get access to some classic NES and Super NES titles while you have the service. But, stay tuned folks, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more changes to come.