During the Nintendo Switch reveal event, it was announced that the latest console from the house that Mario built will indeed offer online functionality. However, Nintendo is changing things up quite a bit in comparison to their previous consoles, this time taking a page from Microsoft and Sony.
When the Nintendo Switch launches on March 3, it will offer online gaming and other functionality, though not many details were announced concerning what you'll be able to do outside of multiplayer. However, we now know that all of that functionality will now come with a price. That's right, Nintendo looks to be charging for their online features, eventually.
Anyone who has gamed on a modern console from Sony or Microsoft has likely grown used to this idea by now. Put simply, you plop down money on an annual basis in order to enjoy online gaming, as well as stuff like cloud storage, free games, discounts and the like. In Nintendo's case, online gaming will be free of charge at launch, with some sort of subscription service revealed this fall. Again, no details on pricing, though we imagine Nintendo will offer plans similar to Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus, which go for about $60 a year while also making plans available in various periods of, say, one or three months.
What's interesting is that this is the first time Nintendo has decided to charge for online gaming. We'll be interested to see how folks respond to this move, especially those who have exclusively played on Nintendo consoles in the past. Paying for online might be old hat for Xbox and Sony fans, but it might be a bit intimidating for folks who have never added that extra cost to their gaming lives.
We're even more interested in hearing what type of pricing Nintendo will set up and, more importantly, what they'll offer for that cost. If they want to ask as much as the competition, then they'll probably need to offer services outside of online gaming in order to justify it, such as the Games with Gold or Plus' Instant Game Collection.
What's interesting to note is that it was explained that players will be able to communicate and set up play events through smart devices, like a phone or tablet. While not directly stated, it sounded like the Switch will not offer much in the line of social features, with things like voice chat possibly being handled through a Nintendo app rather than the console itself.
So what do you think, folks? Is it weird that Nintendo will have a for-pay online ecosystem or was this only a matter of time? Let us know in the comments below.