Paid Online Service
Nintendo has always had free online multiplayer on its systems and no kind of subscription service. Of course, Nintendo’s online services have never had enough to offer to warrant a paid system. That all changes with the Switch, which is adopting an Online Service very similar to PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold.
Nintendo hasn’t announced a price yet, but has released some details on the service over on their website. Online play will be free at the Switch’s launch for a trial period, until the paid service launches this fall. The Nintendo site does state, “After the free-trial period, most games will require a paid online service subscription from Nintendo in order to play online.” On top of online play, you’ll also be getting free digital titles every month and exclusive deals on digital games and content.
PS Plus and Xbox Live Gold are both systems that have seen considerable success, so it’s no surprise that Nintendo is following suit with its new console.
Free Digital Games
The most popular feature of PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live is easily the free games subscribers get every month. It helps add extra value to the service that players are paying for, and it’s always exciting to see what new titles you can get your hands on each month.
Nintendo is using the same concept as Sony and Microsoft, but putting a bit of a twist on it. Paid service subscribers will be getting one classic NES or SNES game each month for free. However, there is a new addition as these SNES games will have online play added in. It’s a fun idea to give players some nostalgia-laden titles, while providing them some extra value and features. The downside to this is that the games offered will only be available for that month, and to continue playing after the offered period, you’ll need to purchase the classic.
Hopefully, Nintendo’s offerings will expand at some point to include new games rather than just these retro titles. Nintendo has some stellar classic titles, but in the face of new games with PS Plus and Xbox Live, you have to wonder if classic games will appeal to everyone.
Smart Device App for Switch
Nintendo only just recently started their ventures into the mobile world, and it looks like the Switch is going to be another part of that. Both PlayStation and Xbox have dedicated smartphone apps that tie into your accounts on PSN and Xbox Live. The Switch is going to have something similar, although we still don’t know all the details.
Nintendo’s official website gives a small hint at one feature of the app, online lobby and voice chat. The site reads, “Our new dedicated smart device app will connect to Nintendo Switch and let you invite friends to play online, set play appointments, and chat with friends during online matches in compatible games─all from your smart device.
A free, limited version of this app will be available for download in summer 2017.”
From the sounds of things you’ll only be able to use online chat from the smartphone app, something that could be less than ideal. Still, we’ve only just learned of the Switch app’s existence, so we may need to wait and see just how complex and essential it could be.
Share Button for Screenshots
As video games have advanced over the years, online connectivity and interaction have become more and more important. One key feature that the PS4 and Xbox One introduced, was the ability to capture screenshots and record gameplay clips, then share your favorite moments online.
Nintendo is jumping on board with the feature by allowing you to capture screenshots of what you’re currently playing. Now you can share all those wonderful experiences playing Zelda, Mario, and Splatoon with all of your friends and followers on social media. At launch the capture button on the Switch will only take screenshots, but apparently, in the future, it will be able to take video as well.
Hopefully, it doesn’t take too long for the video feature to be introduced, so the Switch has one more thing to help it stand up next to the PS4 and Xbox One.