While Nintendo Switch Online may be a relatively cheap gaming service, it is fair to say that the set of features isn’t quite as robust as what you would find from Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus. Nevertheless, online play and access to NES games is quite an incentive, so naturally, Nintendo fans are scrambling to see how much left they have in their wallets.
The individual pricing plans are as follows (in USD): $3.99 for one month, $7.99 for three months, and $19.99 for 12 months. But the best way to save money here is by instead going for the Family Membership, which goes for $34.99 a year, and supports from two to eight people. Whether it’s with your real family or a few of your fellow cheapskate buddies, this would be quite the savings for all. With a full group of eight people, that’s roughly $4.37 per person, without tax.
Here’s a guide on how to set up a family plan.
Before you go onto your Switch’s menu, you might want to set up your family group first—you can do this on your desktop or mobile browser on the Nintendo Account website. Adding new people to your family group is relatively simple: click on “Add member,” and then the “Invite someone to your family group” button.
Enter the email address associated with the Nintendo Account of the person you are adding, and hit “Submit,” and then “OK” in the next screen. That person should immediately receive a confirmation email with a link that will let them join the family group. After they accept the invitation, refresh the family group page on your browser to confirm that they have joined. Do this for every person you intend to be part of the family group.
Now, you’ll enter the Nintendo eShop through the Switch menu. Select the menu option “Nintendo Switch Online” at the bottom. Hit the button that says “Membership Options.”
Here, you’ll be greeted by an option for a 7-day trial; skip that. You’ll be able to see the different payment plans, but in this case, you’ll want to scroll down past the individual plans, find “Family Membership,” and select “Proceed to Purchase.”
You will be treated with a clarification about how automatic renewal works: by default, automatic renewals are on and will occur every year, unless you turn off the option in “My Subscriptions,” which you can find in the eShop through your eShop profile page or the “Nintendo Switch Online” page after you set up your membership.
From that screen, select your payment option. As with anything else in the Nintendo eShop, you can use a credit card (Visa or Mastercard) or a PayPal account; you can even use your MyNintendo Gold Coins, with each coin having the value of one cent ($0.01). After this, you’ll have to confirm your payment method and purchase. Then after receiving confirmation of the purchase and a receipt, the eShop will inform you that you are able to download the Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online application for free.
And that’s it—anyone in your family group will now enjoy the perks of Nintendo Switch Online, including the NES game application, cloud saves, and online play. As the family group administrator pays for the plan, it will be up to the group on how to split the cost, whether that would be through cash, Venmo, or PayPal. Or who knows, maybe the head of the group is just awfully generous and willing to pay for everyone. If so, hats off to you.