Nintendo Online Hits 15 Million Paid Subscribers

Nintendo Online has nearly doubled its paid subscriber base in just a twelve-month period. Did the inclusion of SNES games have anything to do with it?

Nintendo Online was launched back in September of 2018 and is required to play Switch titles online. Not only that, but the service allows handy access to cloud-saves, special offers, and games. It’s proved popular, and relatively inexpensive when it comes to its full-priced Xbox Game Pass and PS Plus competitors. Only Epic’s Fortnite has been able to break out of the Nintendo Online ecosystem and retain its free-for-all model.

It has been announced that Nintendo Online, in January, has hit 15 million paid subscribers. This is up from 8 million exactly one year prior. During a financial briefing this week, Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa went on to say that Nintendo Online subscribers represent “a significant portion of the console’s user base.” This comes after reports earlier in the week that the Nintendo Switch is now the company’s third highest-selling home console. The Switch passed 52 million units sold, according to available data, thanks to a better-than-expected festive season. This has caused Nintendo to revise its profit projections.

This metric means that approximately 29% of Switch owners have subscribed to the Nintendo Online service. This was no doubt aided by the launch of the Nintendo Switch Lite, exposing more gamers to the Nintendo ecosystem and proving to be an incredibly popular SKU.

This surge in subscribers was also bolstered by the inclusion of cult SNES games to the Nintendo Switch Online emulation service, which comes as part of the subscription. Nintendo added 20 fan favourite games last September including; Star Fox, Super Metroid, and Super Mario World. They have since kept adding to the roster of titles, providing more value to continued subscription renewal. As part of the financial report, Furukawa did note this issue:

“While new members continue to join, there are also those who do not renew their memberships. We will continue to enhance the appeal of the service to bring more features and more fun to Nintendo Switch.”

To put this into the context of install base and subscriber retention, it’s reported that PlayStation Plus has 38.8 million subscribers which accounts for 37% of PS4 owners. The numbers from Microsoft are a little less clear cut as they’ve shied away from publically reporting unit sales and stopped promoting active Xbox Live users early last year. The most accurate statistics put unit sales at just under 50m, with Xbox CEO Satya Nadella claiming Game Pass subscribers had doubled during Q2. Nintendo’s much younger service is certainly doing well, considering it is already outselling the Xbox on unit sales.

Nintendo’s President also confirmed there would be no new model of Switch in 2020, so you can finally stop expecting one…unless that was a way for them to throw us off of the scent! What would you like Nintendo to add to Nintendo Online to make it more worthwhile? Do you want to see free monthly games like the PlayStation Plus model, free new AAA titles like Game Pass, or more emulation such as N64 and GameCube? Maybe if you’re a lapsed subscriber, what was it that made you stop your support of Nintendo Online and what new addition would bring you back into the fold? Let us know down in the comments.

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James Bowers

Yorkshire starting zone. 26th level human. Glasses give a +4 sight bonus once equipped.

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