Skip to main content

Switch Online + Expansion Pack’s pricing gives the service too much credit

I don’t pay for online services anymore. Not frequently, anyways, since almost all of my online gaming is done on my PC. If I’m getting a new co-op game or multiplayer shooter, it’s exclusively going to end up in my Steam library, because I don’t have to shell out a single extra cent to properly play the game.

But I can still at least acknowledge that some online services are worth the $60 they charge each year. Xbox Gold gives players free games, and so does PlayStation+. Nintendo Switch Online, on the other hand, has never felt worth the $20, and now Nintendo’s asking players for $50 for the service’s upgraded version, Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack. I’m not sure if the company has been listening to its users for the past three years.

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack - Overview Trailer

When Nintendo Switch Online was initially announced, I remember being somewhat excited. The service hardly cost anything, and users would get access to online multiplayer and an ever-growing library of old NES games. Sure, those games aren’t anything new, but it would be fun to play them on a mobile console. The exclusion of multiplayer voice chat was strange, but I figured it wasn’t a surprise, since I wasn’t going to be playing any games that required it on the Switch.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was the first time I realized how underwhelming Nintendo Switch Online was. The game’s multiplayer was atrocious, and since it was the only game I was really using Nintendo’s online service for, I couldn’t help but Ask myself, “is this really worth $20?” Other Nintendo fans were getting tired of the retro game library’s slow (and often unexciting) growth. Players wondered why Nintendo wouldn’t add games from other systems to the service, like Game Boy Advance or GameCube titles.

Some of those features were finally announced for Switch’s online service with Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack. The new service includes Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games, along with Animal Crossing: New Horizon‘s latest DLC. Sure, that’s not exactly what fans were looking for, but it is enough to get people excited again.

Mario and pals posing under the Nintendo Switch Online logo.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The announcement that access to those games will cost players $50 for an individual plan or $80 for the family plan, though, comes from an ignorant standpoint. Simply put, a curated selection of Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games isn’t worth an extra $30 a year. For years, subscribers have hoped that the company would add content, making the relatively inexpensive service one of the best around. Instead, Nintendo took some of the games fans were hoping for and locked them away behind a paywall. That now includes Super Mario 64, which the company was selling as part of the Super Mario 3D All-Stars bundle. That bundle is no longer available, as it was, for some reason, and is only available until March 31, 2021.

It makes sense from a business standpoint. But for a company that used to pride itself on consumer friendliness (a department it’s been lacking in for a while now), it’s sad that well of goodwill is quickly drying up.

The content coming with Switch Online’s more expensive version is still lacking, and I also just don’t have a reason to trust that Nintendo will expand on it in a meaningful way. The Expansion Pack’s library of Nintendo 64 and Genesis games will grow, just like the base version’s stale buffet of games has. If I’ve learned anything over the course of the past three years, it’s that players are going to ask for specific games and won’t get what they ask for. That’s the trend that Nintendo’s set up to this point, and there’s no reason to believe it’ll do anything different.

Editors' Recommendations

Otto Kratky
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Otto Kratky is a freelance writer with many homes. You can find his work at Digital Trends, GameSpot, and Gamepur. If he's…
Goldeneye 007 comes to Game Pass and Nintendo Switch later this week
goldeneye 007 switch xbox release date january 27

Rare, Nintendo, and Xbox Game Studios confirmed that their remaster of classic Nintendo 64 FPS Goldeneye 007 will launch on January 27 across Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
GoldenEye 007 – Xbox Game Pass Date Reveal Trailer
For most, this long-awaited enhanced re-release will be locked behind a subscription service. On Nintendo Switch, the only way to play Goldeneye 007 is with a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pass subscription, which grants players access to a variety of Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis, NES, and SNES games alongside the DLC to some first-party Nintendo titles. That said, Microsoft has confirmed that the Nintendo Switch version of Goldeneye 007 will be the only one to feature online multiplayer, although it'll still be displayed in split-screen.
Meanwhile, the Xbox versions of Goldeneye 007 don't have online multiplayer but benefit from the addition of achievements and an upgraded 16:9 4K resolution. To play the game on Xbox, you'll need to either have an Xbox Game Pass subscription or own the gaming compilation Rare Replay that was released in 2015. Still, fans are probably happy that they'll just be able to experience this classic on a modern controller.
While it has aged quite a bit, Goldeneye 007 is a highly influential FPS game that also became an iconic Nintendo 64 release thanks to its fun multiplayer. Unfortunately, the license it's attached to likely prevented the game from getting a proper re-release until now. It was one of the best announcements in September's Nintendo Direct, and its launch will also technically mark the first Xbox first-party game released in 2022. 
Goldeneye 007 releases for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on January 27. 

Read more
GoldenEye 007 hitting Nintendo Switch Online with online play
the best fps games goldeneye

A new slate of games set to arrive soon on Nintendo Switch Online was just announced, with the biggest surprise being GoldenEye 007 arriving with online support. The port is also coming to Xbox Game Pass.

During today's Nintendo Direct, the company revealed a new batch of classic N64 titles that will be available to subscribers of the service. Among these are some of the most beloved games for the console, including the first three Mario Party games and both Pokemon Stadiums. But the biggest get is the seminal first-person shooter GoldenEye 007. This was many console players' first exposure to FPS gaming, and has been one of the most requested titles to hit the service.

Read more
Splatoon 3 players: You need to download the Nintendo Switch Online app
The new Nintendo Switch OLED Splatoon 3 model.

Splatoon 3 just wrapped up its launch weekend, with players flooding into Inkopolis to live the life of a kid-squid. If you're one of those players, there's a handy companion you're going to want to bring along to the Turf War: the Nintendo Switch Online app.

Nintendo's historically under-supported mobile app is primarily used as a tool for players who want to use voice chat in games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. For Splatoon 3, however, it has several other purposes -- some of which allow players to earn exclusive gear not found in the game itself.

Read more