Word of the Nintendo Switch Online service first surfaced last June, and all we really knew about it at the time was that Nintendo was promising the service would be affordable. Nintendo has gone official with most of the details of the service, and it is indeed much cheaper than similar offerings from Microsoft and Sony. Nintendo has priced its Switch Online service at $3.99 per month, $7.99 for three months, and $19.99 per year for individuals.
A family plan is available for those with more people wanting to play, even if those people are on different Switch systems. That family plan supports up to eight users across systems for $34.99 per year. Family memberships are only offered on an annual basis. The biggest feature that will entice some to shell out the money will be the cloud backups. One of the big issues for Nintendo Switch gamers right now is that if your console breaks in (or out of) warranty, you lose all your local save data meaning all your game progress is lost.
With the Save Data Cloud Backup feature, all save data for most Switch games will be stored online. Note that Nintendo says, “for most” Switch games implying that at least some titles won’t be able to support cloud saves and there is no indication what games might not support the feature now. If you want to play supported games online in co-op or competitive modes, you will need to buy a membership.
Games that will support online play, for now, include Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, Mario Tennis Aces and Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido. Online chat services will still be handled by the Nintendo Switch Online App, which probably isn’t what many were hoping for.
If you need more reason to justify spending the money on the online service, it will also come with access to a compilation of classic NES games that will support online competitive or co-op modes. Each of the games will support voice chat using the Switch Online smartphone app and the games will support offline play as well. Ten initial titles have been announced, with ten additional titles coming later. The ten we know about now includes Balloon Fight, Dr. Mario, Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong, Ice Climber, The Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros., Soccer, Super Mario Bros. and Tennis.