We can’t say that we didn’t know it was coming, it was just a question of when. Nintendo has outlined what’s going to be arriving when their paid-for Switch Online service launches a little later on this year. If you ask us, the (expansive) features justify the (fairly minimal) cost.
That’s because Nintendo aren’t just giving subscribers access to online play — something that we now have for free (but this will be going away once the service launches). Players will also be able to back-up (some) save data in the cloud, a service that already exists for those paying for Xbox Live Gold and PSN. This is a handier feature than you’d expect, since it means you won’t lose progress in the event of a catastrophic hardware failure — when you’re 120 hours into an RPG, you really don’t want to have to create a new character. If you can just redownload the save file, that saves a lot of frustration.
Access to a list of NES games — those hard-as-nails titles real gamers have beaten into the ground (repeatedly) — comes with the subscription fee, too. There will be twenty titles at launch, with the first ten already revealed:
- Ice Climber
- The Legend of Zelda
- Balloon Fight
- Mario Bros.
- Super Mario Bros.
- Dr. Mario
- Super Mario Bros. 3
- Donkey Kong
Other games will apparently be added to the service down the line. Nintendo’s app, with its ‘voice chat’ option, will also be supported. Nintendo has also teased a few other features that will be announced a little closer to launch.
South African pricing is available. If you’re the month-to-month type, you can expect to pay Nintendo R52 a month for the privilege of being nailed by the blue shell in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe repeatedly. Expect to pay R105 for three months, and R262 for a year’s access. Paying for a year upfront is the best deal you’re likely to get in online gaming subs this year.
If you’re after the Family Membership, which will allow up to eight accounts to connect online, then you’ll be shelling out R459 for 12 months. As for the when? Nintendo’s Switch Online service will be launching in September this year.