Nintendo of Canada Announces Details of Nintendo Switch Online

More to come, but still plenty to unpack here (including Canadian pricing).

As if from out of nowhere, Nintendo of Canada has announced their plans for the long-awaited yet still upcoming online service for the Nintendo Switch, which will be known fittingly enough as “Nintendo Switch Online.”

The biggest news is that we finally have a date we can mark on our calendars to look forward to as the launch of the service approaches: September 2018. (Okay, so that’s less a “date” and more of narrowing things down to a specific 30-day period, but it’s still something.)

Arguably the key element that will be provided with Nintendo Switch Online is the ability to play numerous Switch games… well, online. “But wait,” you might be saying. “I can do that already! And I’m totally on the winning side of Raphael in the latest Splatoon 2 Splatfest! So what do I need this service for?” Well, Nintendo’s always made it clear that free online play in the games that support it will only be temporary at best, so the time is now ticking — enjoy it while it lasts.

However, the ability to continue playing online is but only one thing you get when you sign on. Nintendo has also previously stated that those who take part in the service will also not only get access to a selection of games from the Nintendo Entertainment System library, but also be able to play those with multiplayer elements online. To that end, “NES – Nintendo Switch Online” (as this element is officially called) will kick off with 20 games to partake in, with more added “regularly.”

Previously announced games included Balloon Fight (huzzah!), Dr. Mario, and Super Mario Bros. 3. Those will be joined by Donkey Kong, Ice Climber, The Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros., Soccer, Super Mario Bros., and Tennis, while the remaining ten will be announced at a later date.

You may notice an outlier in this crowd of 2-player titles — The Legend of Zelda — and you might be thinking there’s no way to enjoy that game online, but you would be wrong. Not only can you allow friends to watch as you play through these classics in their single-player capacities, but you can even pass off control to them in case you get stuck — or simply want to relive the shared experience from days spent in front of the ol’ telly-vee.

And then we have the big one, the one I’ve been waiting to here announced: We’re getting a Save Data Cloud! This is great news in case anything were to happen to one’s Nintendo Switch console, which is probably statistically more likely than ever, given its handy portable nature. Now if you lose or break your Switch, all those hours spent completing Shrine puzzles and gathering Moons won’t all be for naught (to say nothing of if they release an Animal Crossing game for it — R.I.P., Little Iacon on the GameCube, you’ll forever be missed).

Oh, and if you get an additional Switch? You can apparently download your Save Data Cloud info to that, too.

Additional functionality will also be available to those with Apple and Android devices, as Nintendo will also be launching the Nintendo Switch Online App, which will allow Nintendo Switch Online users to engage in voice chat, online lounges, and more game-specific features such as Splatoon 2‘s SplatNet 2.

Sounds good, right? Now, how much would you expect to pay for a service like this? $100? $500?

Nope, not even close! Here’s how it all breaks down:

· One month: $4.99
· Three months: $9.99
· 12 months: $24.99

For comparison, Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus memberships normally sell at a price of $11.99 for one month, $29.99 for three months, and $69.99 for 12 months.

What’s more, unlike those comparable competing services, Nintendo Switch Online also features a Family Membership that costs $44.99 for a 12-month duration. With that, up to eight Nintendo Account holders will be able to make use of the service, even across multiple devices!

And if all that wasn’t enough? They’ve also got “Special Offers” in the works, but we’re going to have to wait for further details on that. Perhaps we could see some special Nintendo eShop discounts for members, similar to what Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus provide for theirs?

If you’ve still got questions about Nintendo Switch Online, be sure to check out the official website, and you may find some answers.

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David Oxford

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