Nintendo has revealed more details of its premium online service for its Switch games console at last – and pushed its launch back to 2018 in the process.
‘Nintendo Switch Online’ was originally scheduled to roll out this autumn, but will now debut at some point next year, putting access to most of the Switch’s online functionality behind a regular subscription fee just like PlayStation and Xbox do.
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Switch owners can currently play games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe online, free of charge, but this won’t be the case when the paid service arrives, whenever that is.
While UK prices for Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions have not yet been confirmed, in the US the service will cost $3.99 a month, $7.99 for three months or $19.99 for the whole damn year.
Whatever the eventual exchange rate – and we’re betting on dollars for pounds – it’s certainly cheaper than both Xbox Live Gold and PS Plus (£5.99 a month apiece), although on a platform that currently hosts far less content than the Xbox One or PS4.
“Pricing for additional countries, as well as details of the subscription terms, will be available closer to the launch of the service,” reassured Uncle Ninty.
In addition to online play, this additional spending will grant Switch owners access to a library of classic Nintendo titles, rather than the rather ungenerous “one game per month” that had originally been suggested.
This games vault will focus on NES games such as Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight and Dr. Mario at first and SNES games are also being considered. GameCube, alas, remains sadly unmentioned.
Related: Nintendo Switch review
There’s also voice chat a-coming, which will go live this summer when Nintendo launches its dedicated Switch app for smartphones. In a somewhat convoluted setup, the app connects to the console and handles voice comms as well as a variety of other social features.
“Our new dedicated smart device app will connect to Nintendo Switch and let you invite friends to play online, set play appointments, and chat with friends during online matches in compatible games,” Nintendo told Kotaku.
With 2018 still a fair way off by our calendars, Switch users can still enjoy a solid half-year of these features at least without worrying a jot about any of this. To the park!
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