Online gaming has been a staple of consoles for three generations of Sony and Microsoft hardware. Nintendo, however, has taken a vast amount of time to catch up with its biggest competitors in terms of online services, until now. While the Switch has supported online play since launch, Nintendo has also been promising a paid-online package jam-packed with features for almost as long as the system has been on the market, and that promise finally came to fruition mere days ago.
Nintendo Switch Online not only comes with new features, it also come with a price tag: 1 Month for$3.99, 3 Months for $7.99, 12 Months for $19.99, or a Family Membership for up to 8 Nintendo account holders for 12 Months listed at $34.99. But what exactly does the price of entry grant you?
The Switch does not come packaged with hefty internal storage, therefore, if you want to save large files you would be required to purchase a micro SD card. Nevertheless, if you lose your precious console you would also lose all of your saved progress. Thankfully, you will no longer need to worry about the loss of saved data. This service allows you to upload your saves to the cloud where they are backed up, making certain that all of your valuable data is secured. There has, how-ever, been some misconception regarding this feature.
Reports have stated that if your online membership is not renewed your data will instantly be deleted, though after gamming news website IGN followed up with Nintendo it has been confirmed that you will have a grace period of six months to reactivate your membership before you lose all of the saved data from your games.
In addition to cloud saves, some classic NES titles have been made available to enjoy free of charge as long as you are an active member of Nintendo Online. This virtual library includes: Mario Bros, Mario Bros 3, Zelda, Ice Hockey, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, and many more, along with other titles planned for the future. Not only do these beloved games from our childhood support local 2-player capabilities, thanks to the Switch’s online access they can now be played with friends from around the world. Who would ever have thought that back in the late 80’s and early 90’s we would once again be playing these games with friends from thousands of miles away.
Online play is one of the most obvious offerings in this service. What we could previously play for free will now cost us one of the aforementioned price plans. While going from free to pay is never a good thing, the supplemented features eases us into the process with a nice cushioned landing. Though, despite all the added material that will make many gamers happy, we are still lacking one important feature: voice chat. Switch users have not been able to talk to one another like the PlayStation and Xbox fanbase. Nintendo hopes to rectify this issue with their Nintendo Online App available to download on your smart phone. Through this app you can check game stats and chat with friends playing the same game. With that being said, nothing can replace plugging in a headset and jumping straight into a conversation with friends.
Nintendo Online brings us some much-needed new features despite the glaring lack of “real” voice chat. Still, with the promise of more up-coming NES games and the reason-ably priced membership plans, the future looks bright for Nintendo.