Nintendo Switch Online: A SuperParent Guide
Everything you need to know about the Switch's online membership.
The Nintendo Switch Online service will launch on September 18, 2018. This premium subscription service is similar to PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold, but is it right for your family?
We’re here with a complete guide to Nintendo’s new service, so you can make that decision.
What is the Nintendo Switch Online service?
Nintendo Switch Online is a set of premium online features that you’ll need a subscription to access. The service is similar to PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold (which both cost $59.99 per year), but it has a cheaper price tag (at most $34.99 for 12 months).
What’s included in the Nintendo Switch Online membership?
One of the biggest features is the ability to play Nintendo Switch games online with others, either competitively or cooperatively. “But wait,” we hear you thinking, “I can already play games online.” You’re right, but that’s about to change, at least in some games.
Since the Switch launched in March 2017, online play has been available in supported games for free. However, once the service launches, competitive and cooperative online play in games like Splatoon 2, Arms, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Mario Tennis Aces, and Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido will only be available for those who decide to pay up. Other games may not require the membership to play online, but it will depend on the game.
It’s also worth pointing out that after the service launches, the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app will be locked to subscribers. The app lets users send invitations to their friends to play online games on the Switch, as well as chat with others. It also includes SplatNet 2, an area for Splatoon 2 players that lets them keep track of their battle statistics, among other features. Up until now, this app has been available for everyone to use for free.
Parents, here’s something to keep in mind. Since players may have the option to chat with others while playing online, make sure you lay down some ground rules before letting your kids talk to others. Or, tell your littles they can only play games offline.
Is there anything else?
The Nintendo Switch Online service will allow you to create an online backup of your game save data (all of your in-game progress) for “most” Nintendo Switch games, so you won’t need to start all over in these games if something happens to your Switch, or you decide to pick up a second console.
As GameDaily.biz reported, some games, like Dark Souls Remastered, Splatoon 2, and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee (among others), won’t support this feature, so you won’t be able to protect your save data in this way.
Subscribers will also be able to play 20 classic Nintendo games from the original Nintendo Entertainment System at no additional cost. Some highlights include The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. 3, Dr. Mario, and the first Donkey Kong, and other games will be added after the service goes live. Some of these games will let you play with others, either competitively or cooperatively, depending on the game. This includes support for online multiplayer.
Finally, subscribers will have access to special deals and offers, though details about those offers aren’t available just yet.
How much does the service cost?
Solo gamers can choose from three different plans:
- One month: $3.99
- Three months: $7.99
- 12 months: $19.99
Families with multiple gamers in their household (and even multiple Switch systems) can subscribe to a family plan for $34.99 per year. This family plan allows up to eight different people to use the service across different Switch systems.
Parents, if your little ones have their own Nintendo accounts, you can create a Nintendo Account Family Group through your Nintendo Account settings, and then add your kids’ accounts to this group. That way, you’ll all be on the same family plan, and everyone will be able to access the online service’s features. Keep in mind, you can use the Switch’s parental controls to limit your kids’ online activity.
Am I required to subscribe to the Nintendo Switch Online service?
Absolutely not. If you choose not to subscribe, you won’t have access to any of the premium features we talked about above, but you’ll still be able to play the games you’ve purchased. In addition, you’ll still have access to some online features, like the Nintendo eShop, the friends system, and the ability to share screenshots and videos on social media.
Is there anything else I need to know?
If you’re undecided on whether or not the service is right for your family, starting on September 18, you’ll be able to sign up for a 7-day free trial of the service by visiting the Nintendo eShop on your Switch.