Best answer: A Nintendo Switch Online subscription is not mandatory for Pokemon Sword & Shield. Still, it is beneficial to have one - you won't be able to trade Pokemon, find other players camps, or battle online without it.
What Online functions will be available?
The officially confirmed online and local wireless functions are Battles in the Battle Stadium and Pokemon Trades. Trading includes a new 'Surprise trade' option, the ability to come across other players camps in the game, and a four-player 'max raid battles' mode where players can team up to challenge a powerful 'Dynamaxed' Pokemon.
There is also the ability to transfer Pokemon via the Pokemon Home service, which is a mobile app launching in early 2020 for both Android and iOS devices. You can transfer Pokemon with friends all around the world, and it has also been rumored that the ability to trade with multiple players in a single location might come at some point.
With this service, you'll be able to transfer Pokemon from all current Pokemon games, including Pokemon Bank, Pokemon Let's Go: Pikachu & Eevee, and even Pokemon Go into the cloud. From there, you can download your pocket pals into Pokemon Sword & Shield! Don't forget about the special Meowth, which is capable of Gigantamaxing. This is an early purchase bonus, so don't forget to download yours by using the 'Mystery Gift' and then 'Get by Internet' option to receive this special Pokemon.
What other new options are included?
If you played Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee and have saves from either of these games on your Nintendo Switch system, you'll receive a special Pikachu or Eevee that can transform into huge Gigantamax forms.
It would be awesome if players from Pokemon Go and Sword & Shield players could come together and collaborate online. Still, due to the lack of GPS in the Nintendo Switch and the fact that Pokemon Go always requires an active internet connection, the developers have confirmed it isn't possible to collaborate directly with Pokemon Go.
What about mini-games? I love eclectic mini-games as they can easily switch up the gameplay and provide some quick multiplayer action. Could you imagine a snowboarding Pikachu or Pokemon bowling? Unfortunately, there is not a snowboarding Pikachu to my dismay, but there is a camp where you can spend time getting to know your Pokemon better and spend some time whipping up a dish of delicious curry to try and complete your Curry Dex.
What is currently known about Pokemon Sword & Shield?
Here's what what we currently know about the upcoming Pokemon Sword & Shield games:
- They introduce the 8th Generation of Pokemon.
- A 1st Generation Pikachu is also present in the trailer video - I wonder which Pokemon from other generations will also be able to be caught in the game?
- Takes place in an entirely new region known as the Galar region, which is rumored to be based on the United Kingdom.
- Introduces three new starter Pokemon which conform to the usual Grass, Fire and Water trio
- First new mainline Pokemon game since Pokemon Sun and Moon were released in 2016.
For more in-depth knowledge, here's everything we know so far.
Can't wait for the release of Pokemon Sword & Shield?
If you are craving a fix of Pokemon but can't wait for the release of Pokemon Sword & Shield, then you can jump in right now with either Pikachu in Pokemon: Let's Go Pikachu or enjoy battling with Eevee in Pokemon: Let's Go Eevee.
Pokemon Sword & Shield is released worldwide on November 15th, 2019.
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