The Nintendo Switch Online service is coming in late September, here's what you need to know


Nintendo's narrowed down the date when its Nintendo Switch Online Service will go live to the back half of September, which means you have at least a month longer to play Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Online before you have to start paying a subscription. Granted, the service will come with a bunch of other perks to earn its subscription fee like a selection of online-enabled NES games, cloud save backups, and more connectivity with the Nintendo Switch smartphone app. But you might as well enjoy the free online multiplayer while you can, right?

When is Nintendo Switch Online going live?

Nintendo Switch has supported online multiplayer since it came out in March 2017, but its dedicated, paid online service will finally arrive in the second half of September. Nintendo hasn't given a more specific date yet, but we'll update this article when it does.

Will Nintendo Switch Online be required for multiplayer games?

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Once the Nintendo Switch Online Service goes live, you'll need an active subscription to play online multiplayer in paid games like Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, and so on. It appears that you won't need a subscription to jump into online free-to-play games like Fortnite or Paladins. And of course, you can always keep playing single player or local multiplayer games with no change.

How much will Nintendo Switch Online cost?

That's the real question. Here are the planned price options for Nintendo Switch Online in both USD and GBP (as usual, signing up for a longer period costs less overall).

  • 12-month subscription: $20 / £18
  • 3-month subscription: $8 / £7
  • 1-month subscription: $4 / £3.49

Oh, and don't worry about taking your payment information off your Switch if you'd rather not pay for the online service when it goes live; Nintendo specifically said owners will not be automatically charged. You'll have to opt in yourself, probably through a purchase on the Switch eShop.

What NES games will be on Nintendo Switch Online?

The company previously announced part of the launch lineup for the Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online: 10 titles in all, with another 10 to be revealed later. It's a pretty good list, with only one game that notably didn't have multiplayer support in its original version. Remember back when almost every game had some kind of local multiplayer built in?

  • Ice Climber
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Balloon Fight
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Dr. Mario
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Donkey Kong

Nintendo mentioned some games in the NES - NSO library will support screen sharing and controller passing, so I imagine that will be the case for The Legend of Zelda. And more titles will arrive as the service continues, hopefully with more frequency than Virtual Console updates back in the old days.

Will Nintendo Switch Online have cloud saves?

Yep! Nintendo hasn't confirmed exactly how this will work yet, but you can stop living in fear of your Switch dying and all your save progress going into the great beyond with it (assuming you have an active subscription). Hopefully there will be plenty of save space and we won't need to waste time managing storage.

See how the Nintendo Switch Online Service compares to PS Plus and Xbox Live Gold.

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