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Nintendo delays its Switch online service, but gives us pricing and details

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Mike Epstein/Digital Trends
Nintendo announced that new details for the Nintendo Switch’s paid online service, Switch Online, including the fact that the service has been delayed until next year.

Beginning in 2018, a one-year membership to Switch Online will cost $19.99 per year or $3.99 per month. There will also be three-month $7.99 subscription. The annual subscription is a third of what Xbox One and PlayStation 4 owners pay for their respective online multiplayer services, Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus.

The membership will allow players to participate in online games, get special deals through the eShop, use the Nintendo Switch voice chat app for smartphones, and receive a selection of classic games each month for a limited time. Players will be able to access the Nintendo eShop, register friends, share screenshots, and use the parental controls app without a subscription. All of these services are currently available on the console.

Online play on the Nintendo Switch is currently free across its limited library of multiplayer games. Previously, Nintendo said it planned to launch a paid service and start charging for the ability to play games online this fall. A limited version of the Switch’s online chat smartphone app will be available this summer.

Nintendo also changed its plan for offering classic games as part of the subscription. Rather than offering a rotating classic game each month, Switch Online will give subscribers access to a “compilation of classic titles,” which will have added online multiplayer support. Nintendo has not said how many games players will be able to play, or how often games will swap in and out of the compilation. Nintendo specified that Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight, and Dr. Mario will all be available through the service. According to Kotaku, the classic service will feature NES games at launch, though Nintendo said that adding SNES games is “under consideration”

Thus far, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the only major Nintendo Switch game to feature online multiplayer, but that changes this summer. In just a few weeks, motion-control driven fighting game Arms will come to the system, followed by team-based shooter Splatoon 2 follows in July. We’ll almost certainly hear more information about the Switch’s online service at this E3’s Nintendo Direct presentation, along with more information on games like Super Mario Odyssey.

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