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Nintendo Online

Now that the Nintendo Network has gone live featuring premium subscriptions, a lot of people are now finding out firsthand what the service has to offer, as well as whether or not it's worth the annual subscription fees. This is something PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold subscribers have been dealing with for years, and now that Nintendo has joined the fray there's a host of features and options that come with the online mode. For gamers who are still unfamiliar with the new Nintendo Network features or don't know what the basics include, here's a rundown of everything you need to know about the Nintendo Switch's premium online service.

As detailed on the Nintendo Switch's online page, the premium service replaces the free Nintendo Network and has several payment tiers in place for you to access the online portion of the Nintendo Switch's online multiplayer.

The pricing starts at $3.99 for a month, $7.99 for three months, or $19.99 for 12 months. If you want a family plan for multiple Switch units, it will run you $34.99 a year. You can also sign-up for a seven day free trial to test out the online multiplayer before paying out of pocket for online access.

With your premium subscription comes access to free NES games that are enabled with both local and online multiplayer support, with the initial launch offering up to 20 NES games you can access for one or two players using a single Joy-Con set.

There's also the inclusion of the cloud save backups that are accessible for those who maintain an active membership with the Nintendo Switch's premium online service. If you allow the service to lapse, however, you will lose access to the cloud saves. Additionally, the cloud saves will also apply to the NES games you play, too.

You'll also need the Nintendo Network mobile app to access voice chat for online games. This is done using a smartphone app that you can acquire from the iTunes App Store or from the Google Play store. The Nintendo online app works with games such as ARMS, Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8: Deluxe and Mario Tennis Aces to name a few. The smartphone app also allows you to gain instant access to your player statistics and performance in games like Splatoon 2, which is useful for those of you who like to keep track of your in-game performance and your win/loss ratios even while you're away from the system.

And, much like the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Gold, there are also special offers on hand for those of you who register for the premium membership, including using the NES-style Joy-Con controllers that can be used to play the NES games on the Switch.

Those with 12-month membership subscriptions also gain access to special in-game gear, such as cosmetics for Splatoon 2 that can be retrieved via a download code after registering for a 12-month membership or a 12-month family membership.

The premium version of the Nintendo Network is currently active right now for Nintendo Switch users.