Back in September, Nintendo launched a subscription-based service called Nintendo Switch Online. Members have access to online play, cloud saves, and an ever-expanding lineup of digital NES games. This service has received a lukewarm reception from fans thus far, but Nintendo has promised to enhance its offerings to make it more appealing.
If the latest report from Japanese publication Nikkei is true, Nintendo will be taking a big step in that direction in 2019. Nikkei reports that Nintendo plans to launch new online features this year. While some outlets are treating this as a new service altogether, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Based on corroborating reports from several translators, the correct interpretation appears to be that Nintendo is bringing new features or services to the existing Nintendo Switch Online platform.
So what is this new service? Details are scarce, and once again, there are conflicting reports. Some are interpreting Nikkei as saying that the service is aimed at people who are likely to spend money in microtransactions, but this seems to be speculation on a vague translation. Steve Bowling of Nintendo Life, Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad, and the ever-reliable Cheesemeister3k all believe the correct reading is that the new service is aimed at “core gamers.”
It’s unclear whether or not that means this new service will have an upgrade charge, contain microtransactions, or both. It could be related to the Super Nintendo games discovered in Switch Online’s code by data miners. Japanese Nintendo sees the phrasing as too lacking in detail to draw a conclusion, but the site speculates that it could include themes and badges like 3DS.