The Nintendo Switch is one of the best consoles of this generation, offering a wide selection of third-party titles as well as first-party exclusives. And while the handheld hybrid has brought Nintendo much success, it’s also responsible for the “switch” from free online multiplayer to a paid subscription known as Nintendo Switch Online.
Here, we’ll be outlining the cost of Nintendo Switch Online, all of the features currently offered, and suggestions for improving the service. Make sure to check back as we’ll be updating this story in the future as Nintendo continues to expand the Switch Online’s offerings.
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There are two types of Nintendo Switch Online memberships available for Switch owners to purchase: Individual and Family. Below we’ve provided the pricing for each option:
- 1 month – 3.99 USD
- 3 months – 7.99 USD
- 12 months – 19.99 USD
- 12 months – 34.99 USD
Additionally, Amazon Prime users can get up to 12 months of Nintendo Switch Online for free by linking their Nintendo account to an existing Twitch Prime account.
If you’re unsure which or how long you should sign-up for, consider how frequently you use your Switch to play games online. Thankfully, Nintendo Switch Online has a fairly low cost compared to services like Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus.
Before the launch of Nintendo Switch Online, players were able to access online multiplayer in games like Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe for free. Now, users will have to cough up a few bucks to Nintendo is they want to utilize the online features of any first-party Switch titles as well as a majority of third-games as well. The only exception is Fortnite, which can be played online with or without a Nintendo Switch Online subscription.
Signing up for Nintendo Switch Online will also grant you access to a growing library of free NES/SNES titles as well as Switch Online exclusives like Tetris 99, a battle royale-inspired version of the iconic puzzle game. For NES/SNES titles, Nintendo has included support for save states and multiple displays such as 4:3, Pixel Perfect, and CRT Filter to enhance your experience when playing these retro games. Lastly, some NES titles have added support for multiplayer, both local and online.
As of 2019, Nintendo has more than doubled the amount of NES games offered with the service, adding a few more each month since the service first launched. Here’s a list of all the NES games currently offered:
- Mighty Bomb Jack
- Donkey Kong
- Mario Bros.
- Super Mario Bros.
- Balloon Fight
- Ice Climber
- Dr. Mario
- The Legend of Zelda
- Super Mario Bros. 3
- Double Dragon
- River City Ransom
- Ghosts’n Goblins
- Tecmo Bowl
- Pro Wrestling
- Ice Hockey
- Solomon’s Key
- NES Open Tournament Golf
- Super Dodge Ball
- Wario’s Woods
- Ninja Gaiden
- ADVENTURES OF LOLO
- Blaster Master
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
- Super Mario Bros 2
- Kirby’s Adventure
- Kid Icarus
- Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
- Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
- Star Soldier
- Donkey Kong Jr.
- VS. Excitebike
- Clu Clu Land
- Double Dragon II: The Revenge
- City Connection
- Wrecking Crew
- Donkey Kong 3
- Kung-Fu Heroes
- Vice: Project Doom
In September 2019, Nintendo announced that they would be expanding Switch Online’s game library to include a wide selection of popular and well-known SNES titles. Here’s a list of all the SNES games currently offered:
- Super Mario World
- Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
- Super Mario Kart
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
- Super Metroid
- Star Fox
- Stunt Race FX
- Kirby’s Dream Land 3
- Kirby’s Dream Course
- Super Ghouls’n Ghosts
- Demon’s Crest
- Super Soccer
- Super Puyo Puyo 2
- Breath Of Fire
- BRAWL BROTHERS
- SUPER E.D.F. EARTH DEFENSE FORCE
- Super Tennis
- Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics
By default, Switch online subscribers can only access these games when connected to the internet. However, you have the option of downloading them to play offline for up to seven days at a time. If you were to cancel your subscription or allow it to lapse, you would lose access to any free games, similar to PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Games with Gold.
A feature the Switch was desperately lacking at launch was the ability to back up saves via the cloud. Now with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, users can upload their save data to the cloud and ensure their progress isn’t lost should their console break.
While the feature is supported by a majority of Switch games, there are a few exceptions. Here’s a current list of all the titles that do not support cloud saves:
- 1-2 Switch
- Bass Pro Shops: The Strike – Championship Edition
- Blade II – The Return Of Evil
- Cabela’s: The Hunt – Championship Edition
- Color Zen Kids
- DARK SOULS: REMASTERED
- Dawn of the Breakers
- Death Mark
- Dungeon Stars
- EA SPORTS FIFA 18
- EA SPORTS FIFA 19
- Gems of War
- GO VACATION
- Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition
- Modern Combat Blackout
- NBA 2K Playgrounds 2
- Nidhogg 2
- Pixel Devil and the Broken Cartridge
- Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!
- Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!
- The Raven Remastered
- Robbie Swifthand and the Orb of Mysteries
- Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
- Splatoon 2
- SUPER DRAGON BALL HEROES WORLD MISSION – Launch Edition
- Taimumari: Complete Edition
- Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution
Another detail to keep in mind is that if you were to cancel your service or allow it lapse, any cloud saves you’ve created will only be available for six months after your cancellation date. If you were to reactivate your service before then, you would regain access to all of your date. However, if you allow the six months to pass without reactivating, your cloud saves would be permanently deleted.
What’s Not Included?
A major criticism of the Switch is that it lacks support for voice chat or any sort of messaging system. This is something many Switch owners anticipated Nintendo would address with the launch of Nintendo Switch Online. And while they have added some support, unfortunately it’s only accessible via the free Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app for Android and iOS.
In order to communicate with other players, users are required have the app open on their device while playing with their friends. Yet again, Fortnite is the only exception to this rule, with the Switch version allowing for native voice chat directly through the console.
Another feature users were hoping to see bundled with Nintendo Switch Online was Virtual Console, which was first introduced on the Wii as a means for playing classic Nintendo games from previous generations. With the addition of select NES titles being offered to subscribers, many are hopeful Nintendo will extend the library to include games from other Nintendo systems such as SNES, N64, GB, and GBA.
During a recent earnings report, it was revealed that Nintendo Switch Online has amassed eight million subscribers since its launch in 2018. Nintendo would later announce they are “working on continuing to expand the service offerings.”
With the addition of SNES titles to Switch Online’s library, we can expect games from other Nintendo devices to be offered down the road. This includes the N64, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, GameCube, DS, Wii, and 3DS.
Whether its PC or console, AAA or Indie, New-York born and raised Justin has a natural curiosity to seek out hidden gems and share them with other gamers. He also maintains his own YouTube channel in addition to writing and managing the social media profiles for GamingScan.