Nintendo has changed its plans for Nintendo Switch Online, responding to criticisms of the upcoming online service by altering one of its most controversial features.
For the first time ever, Nintendo will be releasing a paid online service for the Switch similar to the PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live. They have no revealed that this service will cost $19.99 per year, with options for a one-month subscription for $3.99 or a three-month subscription for $7.99. While this makes it a significantly cheaper option than the PS4 and Xbox One services, Nintendo has experienced notable struggles with delivering a competent online component for its home consoles, so many were concerned that the service still wouldn’t offer great value for money.
This concern was amplified when it was revealed that Nintendo was planning to only allow players to rent classic games from its archives, with them seeking to employ a system similar to Sony’s Instant Game Collection and Microsoft’s Games With Gold, albeit with the added caveat that players wouldn’t actually be able to keep these games stored on their Switch, even if they continued to pay their membership. However, Nintendo have now confirmed that they are scrapping that plan, and will instead offer Switch owners a collection of classic games with additional online features that they can play as long as they remain subscribers.
In a statement issued to Kotaku, Nintendo said: “Nintendo Switch Online subscribers will have ongoing access to a library of classic games with added online play. Users can play as many of the games as they want, as often as they like, as long as they have an active subscription.”
They continued: “Nintendo Switch Online subscribers will be able to play a wide variety of classic games, including Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight and Dr. Mario. More games will be announced at a later date. At launch the classic game library will include NES games. Super NES games continue to be under consideration, but we have nothing further to announce at this time.”
It’s uncertain what these new online modes will entail, and whether or not Nintendo plans on introducing online multiplayer to the classic games or will instead stick to leaderboards, but either way this is a major improvement over their previously proposed system. With classic games on the Virtual Console having often been overly expensive and a little lacking in comparison with Nintendo’s wealth of games across its NES, SNES, N64 and GameCube consoles, hopefully the Switch will receive a more robust line-up of games for those who subscribe to the Nintendo Switch Online service. The service is set to launch at some point in 2018, with more information likely set to be announced during this month’s E3 event.