Nintendo Switch Online officially launched last week to some mixed reception. The company’s first subscription model for online play is missing a lot of key features that draws gamers to other services like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold, causing some people to call it a ripoff. However, the service is incredibly cheap for what it does offer, and a select group of Nintendo fans is appreciative of the benefits that are being offered.
Subscribers of Nintendo Switch Online have access to a current library of 20 NES games, the ability to play online with friends, cloud saves for select games, and special offers that will be revealed as the program moves forward. The classic games library will also grow as time goes on. At the moment, North America is expected to receive three new games each month for the next three months. All of this is available for the low price of $19.99 per year—potentially less if you split a family membership with friends and family.
However, there are some limitations. The online infrastructure for Nintendo’s games needs a lot of work. In my personal experience, connection issues are still a problem. Hopefully, this is something Nintendo can address now that people are paying to play online. The mobile app associated with online play has gone mostly ignored by people as well. In most cases, players are using other chat programs like Discord.
But that’s not all. The NES collection of games has to be logged into every seven days to confirm your membership with Nintendo Switch Online. This wouldn’t normally be an issue for most households, but the Nintendo Switch is a portable system. If somebody was on vacation for two weeks with no internet access and wanted to play Super Mario Bros. on their way back, they couldn’t do it on the Switch. While it is understandable that Nintendo would require validation for the subscription, it would be much better to let users buy these titles individually so it wouldn’t require an online check-in.
On the other hand, the service provides an excellent way for users to play classic NES games with each other like never before. You can play them at home, on your lunch break, or anywhere you want to really. This is something a lot of people want, and it’s exciting to think that Nintendo will be expanding the library going forward.
Another hot topic of Nintendo Switch Online is cloud saves. It’s awesome that users will finally get a chance to upload their save files online so they can back them up in case anything happens. We also got confirmation earlier today that the saves are not automatically deleted if your subscription lapses, which many had feared was the case. Even so, Nintendo is limiting this option to certain games, skipping hit titles like Splatoon 2 and Pokémon: Let’s Go. This is a missed opportunity for the company and another point of contention for people not happy with the service.
As you can see, there are many pros and cons of Nintendo Switch Online. Personally, I’ve been enjoying the service, but I think it needs a little work. What are your thoughts on the program so far? Are you enjoying your subscription? Did you decide to pass it up for now? Let us know in the comments below!