Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo has a special service that Switch owners can subscribe to for a small fee, which gives us access to game-specific content within the Nintendo Switch Online app, online gameplay for compatible games, access to downloading classic Nintendo game titles, and special discounts in the eShop. Here's everything you need to know about Nintendo's online subscription service.

What's new with Nintendo Switch Online?

May 14, 2018: Nintendo announces the addition of cloud saves to the Nintendo Switch online service.

Saints of Nintendo be praised! No longer will we have to live life on the razor's edge. No longer will we have to live in fear of losing fifty plus hours of gameplay. Cloud save functionality will be coming to the Nintendo Switch. The feature will only be available to those who subscribe to the Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions service but it's better than what we have right now, which is nothing.

In addition, Nintendo announced that the classic NES titles which will be available for free with the service will include online play. I have to admit that that is pretty darned cool. If you want to play some two-player Super Mario Brothers 3, you don't have to huddle around your dusty old NES. You can actually play with someone on the other side of the globe with this forthcoming subscription service.

When does it start?

September 2018 is all I know so far. Nintendo is being tight-lipped about the exact launch date.

What does a subscription get me?

With a subscription to Nintendo Online, you'll get five major exclusives.

  • Online gameplay - Once the service officially launches, you'll have to pay to play with others online. If you're a high-ranking racer in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you're going to want to protect your rank and the only way to do that is to pay for online play. This includes co-operative and competitive games.
  • Access to the Nintendo Switch Online app - Nintendo has a special app that is exclusive to Switch and offers special content for specific games. At the time of this writing, Splatoon 2 is the only game supported, but it includes such features as voice chat, leaderboards, a special gear shop, game invites for friends, and more. Without a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, you won't be able to get any of this exclusive content.
  • Game save data backups - With a subscription, you'll be able to back up your game save data to the cloud so it is significantly less likely that you'll lose those hours and hours of gameplay if something should happen to your Switch.
  • Classic Game Selection - I don't know a whole lot about this feature right now, but what I do know is that Nintendo is going to "give" us a selection of classic games that we can download and play on our Switch — games like Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight, and more. We won't have to pay anything extra for these games, but if you cancel your Nintendo Switch Online subscription, you'll lose access to them.
  • Discounts on eShop games - In addition to dropping some classic titles in our laps at no additional charge, Nintendo is going to give us deals on eShop purchases that non-subscribers won't get. At this time, I don't know what games will be on sale or how much of a discount we'll get.

How much does it cost?

You can subscribe to Nintendo Switch Online for either one month, three months, or one year.

  • 1-Month Membership - $3.99
  • 3-Month Membership - $7.99
  • 12-Month Membership - $19.99

If you're going for a Family Membership, you'll be able to subscribe for one year for $40 with up to eight different Nintendo Accounts.

Can't I just use my Wii U or 3DS account?

Nope. Sorry. This subscription is exclusive to Nintendo Switch. No sharesies.

Which countries are supported?

At launch, Nintendo Switch Online will be supported in the following countries:

  • U.S.
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Peru

How do I subscribe?

You'll need a Nintendo Account in order to subscribe. Chances are, you've already got one, but just in case you don't here's how to sign up for one:

How to sign up for a Nintendo Account

Until the Nintendo Switch Online service officially begins, you'll be automatically enrolled. The free trial service gives you complete access to the Nintendo Switch Online app and all online gameplay in supported games.

After the official paid service goes into effect, you'll be asked if you want to continue using Nintendo Switch Online or if you'd like to cancel the service.

Nintendo Switch Online is scheduled to launch in 2018, but I have no official information about when it will begin.

What does not having a subscription get me?

Just in case you're wondering what will happen when your free trial ends and you're faced with the decision to pay for Nintendo Switch Online or go without, here's what you still get to do on your Switch, even without the subscription:

  • Access to the Nintendo Switch eShop - You know, so you can buy the games.
  • Register and manage friends - You don't get to talk to them or anything, but you'll know when they're on and what they're playing (if they've got that info turned on).
  • Share screenshots to social media - No one gets left out of the soch meeds.
  • Access to Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app - Because Nintendo would be stupid to restrict this behind a paywall.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions about Nintendo's online subscription service? Put them in the comments and I'll help you out.

Nintendo Switch