Starting this fall Nintendo will start charging people to play online. It's not something many gamers are looking forward to, but some people are hoping that paid service means better compatibility and playability. Well, Nintendo finally revealed exactly when details on the pricing and features of the Nintendo Network will go live.
According to the recent financial briefing from Nintendo, the company has plans on announcing details for the premium version of the Nintendo Network for the Nintendo Switch in the early half of May.
In the briefing, it states that the paid subscription service will expand the online functionality of the Nintendo Switch starting this September, later in the year. The slight mention in the financial briefing isn't very detailed and only confirms that it will provide a "richness" of online features for gamers playing on the Nintendo Switch. The new info for the premium version of the service will be available on the official Nintendo website, starting in early May.
What's not explained is if there will be any sort of basic online functionality that will remain for people who don't choose to pay for the premium version of the service. Both Sony and Microsoft have free versions of the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, allowing gamers some basic functionality for the online portions of the PS4 and the Xbox One, such as being able to surf through the online storefronts, download apps, and in some rare instances play certain demos or betas online. For more in-depth functionality, such as playing with other gamers online, or being able to chat with friends with cross-game party chat, or friend feed activity.
At the moment the Nintendo Network allows you to use your free account to log into any online-enabled game and play multiplayer with other people. Such multiplayer-enabled games include Mario Kart 8: Deluxe and the highly popular Splatoon 2. There are also games such as ARMS, and a litany of indie games on the system as well that are multiplayer-enabled.
The good part about the Switch is that playing online is relatively easy, you just turn it on and play once you set up the Wi-Fi connection. It will also automatically search out additional connections within an area, allowing you to play games without any hassle. This kind of ease of access is one of the things that makes the Switch so easy and fun to use. Hopefully, Nintendo can retain that level of ease of access when the premium service goes live this September.
In conjunction with the Nintendo Network overhaul is also the points program, which will allow players to earn Gold Points from purchases and DLC add-ons made from the Nintendo eShop. When enough Gold Points are accumulated, they can then be used to purchase other games, DLC, or even subscriptions. So it sounds like those of you who purchase regularly from the Nintendo eShop can then use those Gold Points earnings to stay subscribed to the Nintendo Network.
We'll find out exactly how it all works when details on the premium service for the Nintendo Switch are revealed this May.