Nintendo explains why Switch’s online service is not free

It won't be expensive, but still: why?

After many years resisting the temptation to charge players for the online service, something competitors have already established as a standard, Nintendo has decided to let the days of free online play behind with the Switch. So, as part of the full system reveal back in January, we learned that as of Fall 2017, we would get charged for an Online Service.

Whilst we don’t know how much exactly it will cost (Tatsumi Kimishima revealed it would be less than $30/year), Nintendo already confirmed some features included in the subscription:

  • Online gameplay
  • Online Lobby & Voice Chat app: invite friends to play online, set play appointments, and chat with friends during online matches in compatible games. A free, limited version of this app will be available in summer 2017.
  • Monthly game download: download and play a NES/SNES game with newly-added online play for free during a month.
  • Exclusive deals: discounts on select digital games and content.

Now, why did Nintendo choose to baffle their previous principles and ask players to pay for the Nintendo Switch Online Service? In an interview with Famitsu, Nintendo developers Shinya Takahashi and Yoshiaki Koizumi where asked this question. Their answer is below and you can read the full interview here.

You also plan to start charging for the online service come fall. It’s only natural in this current age, but can you tell us again why you chose to charge for it, and what sort of services it will entail?

Takahashi: We decided to charge for the service because we are concerned with customer satisfaction. We’ll be maintaining the online service and providing new services that we haven’t had up until now, and there are costs associated with those. We’d also like to maintain a stable playing experience and provide proper support. We are working to prepare all of the features until the service begins in the fall of 2017, and details on the service will be available at a later time.

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