When Nintendo first unveiled the Switch, it mentioned something about an online chat service that would allow players to communicate with each other in supported games. That service is available within the Nintendo Switch Online app, which is now available to download on iOS and Android.
Currently, Nintendo Switch Online is only compatible with Splatoon 2, in which players can voice chat with each other while they battle it out in teams against others. You can also invite friends to private battles and other matches, and set up play appointments to let friends know when to join the game using SplatNet 2.
The app is free to download and is free to use until the end of the year. Starting in 2018, Nintendo Switch Online will cost $20 per year, $8 for three months, or $4 for one month.
Though Splatoon 2 is currently the only game supported with Nintendo Switch Online, the subscription service will also allow gamers to take advantage of special digital game deals in the eShop and can make use of the Classic Game Selection, which is a service that lets you play classic Nintendo titles like Super Mario Bros. 3 without having to buy them outright. You'll be able to play these games for as long as you want, as long as you have a current Nintendo Switch Online subscription.
When you open the game, you'll be asked to log in with your Nintendo Account. Your Nintendo Account must be linked to your Switch in order to connect your gameplay activities. For now, you'll only be able to access SplatNet 2, which will let you order gear, share your achievements, see what matches are taking place, voice chat, and more (to be rolled out after the launch of Splatoon 2). When you are ready to connect with friends for voice chat, you'll start off by going to the lobby in Splatoon 2 to set up your Online Lounge. Then, you can invite friends to join the chat. The voice chat will take place inside the Nintendo Switch Online app. So make sure your battery is charged and you're on wi-fi.
More features are sure to become available as more games support Nintendo's online service. I can't wait to see what else we'll be able to do with it in the future.
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Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books. If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).