Last year Nintendo announced that it would be unveiling a premium service for the Nintendo Switch. Most assumed that it would get underway in early 2018, which is when the original release window was scheduled for the new premium version of the Nintendo Network. Early 2018 arrived and the service did not start. We then learned that it was delayed from the early 2018 launch and pushed all the way back to a fall 2018 launch. Details on the Nintendo Network's premium services have been kept under wraps by the Big N just up until the spring, when we learned more about the pricing and family plans. Just recently we've now learned when the premium network will roll out and it's a lot closer than you probably thought.
Yes, as revealed in the tweet from the official Nintendo of America Twitter account, the Nintendo Network will go premium for the Nintendo Switch starting in the second-half of September. So, at some point after September 15th you can expect the premium feature to kick in.
The premium service will provide gamers with access to online multiplayer play in games like Mario Kart 8: Deluxe and ARMS, along with popular titles like Splatoon 2. This may have some drastic effects on Splatoon 2 given that the game is mostly multiplayer centric, unless you purchase the DLC that contains the single-player campaign mode. If gamers are unwilling to pay for the multiplayer, then the game basically becomes a dud.
There have been rumors that free-to-play games won't be affected by the premium network service, and that those of you who decide to dabble in titles like Battlerite or Epic Games' hugely popular Battle Royale game, Fortnite, may still be able to do so without paying to access those games through the Nintendo Network. Of course, expect Nintendo roll out more details on this feature in a future Nintendo Direct or at least through another update.
Additionally, the service will also open up the ability to utilize saved data through the Cloud backup. This is equivalent to the Cloud save features present with the PlayStation Network, and the Xbox Live Gold features. It's also present as a free built-in feature for Steam users, which is where it first got its start.
Of course, paying to play online is something a lot of gamers just don't quite like, but Nintendo is trying to sweeten the deal with options like the free NES titles being bundled in each month. Not only will you gain access to the NES titles, but the games will be emulated with online play enabled. Basically, you'll be able to play a lot of classic NES games with friends online.
Nintendo also has the pricing all figured out, with the cheapest option being available for $3.99 per month, while the three month subscription will cost you $7.99, and a 12 month subscription will run you $19.99. If you have a large family and multiple Switch units, you can also purchase a family plan for multiple users for just $34.99.
Select retailers such as Best Buy and GameStop will also sell pre-paid Nintendo Switch cards that you can purchase and redeem to access the premium online service.