Nintendo are doing something totally out of character and actually following an industry trend, offering a paid online subscription service alongside their latest console.
The upcoming online features were teased during the company’s January presentation, and Nintendo have elaborated on the new features at a Switch event in Tokyo this week.
“Users will be able to try out Nintendo Switch online services for free during a trial period,” says Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima, following that, “It will become a paid service beginning in the fall of 2017. We will provide additional details on this paid service and its features on our home page at a later date.”
According to Nikkei, Kimishima has also indicated the service will cost between 2000-3000 yen a year, approximately £15-£20 ($18-25 / €17-25) – which positions the subscription way below the service offered by competitors Sony and Microsoft for their Playstation Plus and Games with Gold membership.
The paid membership will replace the current free multiplayer model, but according to Nintendo it will mean real improvements to player experience with an enhanced service.
Nintendo also revealed that much like Microsoft and Sony’s service, Switch subscription will grant access not just to multiplayer services but also free monthly NES or SNES games. For its competitors this has traditionally been several smaller or older titles free per month, which once downloaded are then yours to keep for as long as you remain a member.
But Nintendo have suggested that these games will be essentially rented for that month, meaning members will have to drop more cash to purchase the game once that month is over. It’s an unusual concept that we will likely hear more about in the coming months.
Early adopters will enjoy a free version of the service, until the full model is rolled out around fall 2017.