Fans of Nintendo have been left out of the dark for details on the new paid online service for the Switch, but Nintendo finally outlined its features in today’s Direct presentation. Five features were discussed: Online Play, Nintendo Entertainment System—Nintendo Switch Online, Save Data Cloud, Smartphone App, and Special Offers.
None of the features come as a surprise, so those who were looking for any shockers other than what was already announced will be sorely disappointed. Online Play is exactly what it sounds like, allowing players to compete or cooperate in games like Splatoon 2, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and third-party games like Overcooked 2.
The clumsily-titled Nintendo Entertainment System—Nintendo Switch Online will allow subscribers to play classic NES titles “anytime, anywhere.” Games like Ice Climber support two-person local multiplayer and games like Dr. Mario even support online multiplayer—of course, this was all announced before. 20 games will be available at the service’s launch, including Super Mario Bros. 3, The Legend of Zelda, Ice Hockey, and Pro Wrestling.
Save Data Cloud acknowledges that owners may lose their Switch save data from damage to their console, so this feature allows these save files to be stored in the cloud (as cheekily demonstrated by Lakitu). The Direct did not mention how certain games are said to not be compatible with the feature.
The Smartphone App has already been out since early in the console’s lifespan, giving players the ability to voice chat with friends during online matches—assuming you don’t use Skype or Discord instead. Now, this feature will be locked to the online service. Sadly, Nintendo did not show off more game-exclusive features for the app, like Splatoon 2 info center Splatnet 2.
Nintendo also teased “Special Offers,” although did not give any hints as to what these would be. Presumably, these would be sales, though we’d hope that Nintendo would roll out a similar program as PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold in releasing games for free for subscribers on a monthly basis.
The service launches on September 18, with the pricing being $3.99 a month, $7.99 for three months, $19.99 for 12 months, or a Family Membership plan for 2-7 people priced at $34.99.