on Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus, but for Nintendo. If you like online games likeor Super Smash Bros. You have to pay to play Ultimate. The service costs $ 7.99 for three months or $ 19.99 if you pay a full year in advance.
You can also opt for the $ 34.99 family plan, which is intended for households with a group of people who want their own accounts. Up to eight people can play online for a year.
Online multiplayer is not all you get. Nintendo Switch online service ($ 300 at Best Buy) also gives you access to a library of classic SNES and NES games, support for game data backup in the cloud, access to Nintendo Switch phone app and a few exclusive offers. Let's take a look at the features of the service so you can get every drop in value from your subscription.
If you want to visit a friend's island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons or a team to fight in Pokemon Sword and Shield requires a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. However, one major multiplayer game works without a subscription: Fortnite is playable online, even if you don't have an active online subscription.
Classic Nintendo Games
By subscribing to Switch's online service, you have access to a library of old games, such as Netflix for Nintendo games. These can all be found in the "Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online" and "Super Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online" apps, which you can download from the eShop. In the apps you will find wallpaper spreads of classic video game boxes. Choosing one will immediately drop you into the game.
Like theand retro consoles, you can switch between visual filters in the apps & # 39; menus – a 4: 3 mode, pixel perfect and a fuzzy scanline-filled CRT mode for the true retro experience.
Less retro is the cheeky rewind function– if you want to try something again, you can hold ZL and ZR to jump back a few frames, and it will never be like your mistake
Nintendo has also added an online multiplayer mode, even in games without multiplayer modes – you can control the controller Second player to a friend via the Internet, so you can take turns. You can also try SP versions of some games, which add special features to existing games.
The initial September 2018 roster included 20 NES games, and it gained momentum when Nintendo added two or three a month later. A set of 24 SNES games took it to the top in August 2019, and it has since been periodically added to the libraries of both consoles.
You also lose access to your NES library if your console is not connected to the Internet for more than a week. The console must check in to the service every seven days to ensure that you are still subscribed.  Here are the lists of games available in each app, with SP versions highlighted.
Classic NES games
The Japanese Library
You can access more classic games at no extra cost through the Japanese eShop. Here are the steps for this:
- Create a second Nintendo Account and set "Japan" as the region. You must use an email address other than the one associated with your normal account.
- Create a new profile on your Switch and link it to your Japanese account.
- Download "Family Computer – Nintendo Switch Online" and & # 39; Super Famicom – Nintendo Switch Online & # 39; apps from the Japanese store. Do not worry about the language barrier; you will see the English option "Nintendo Switch Online".
These apps are similar to the NES and SNES apps, in Japanese. They also include the game versions of that country and a few that are not available in the West:
There is also an SP version of NES Open Tournament Golf that is exclusive to Japan. In addition to the language, there are also some regional differences in games. The Japanese version of The Legend of Zelda was released on Famicom Disk System, a console extension for Japan that has never had an NES equivalent. So it has a more complex soundtrack and offers richer music with more audio channels and instruments than the Western release.
The Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 3 is also slightly more difficult. When Tanooki Mario gets damaged, he falls all the way back to little Mario in that version of the game. In the western release, Tanooki Mario falls into Super Mario, so you can get an extra hit before losing a life.
So far, the Japanese Super Famicom library contains nothing that is not in the Western SNES selection, but that will likely change later. For now, you can check out that region's box art (which is generally more beautiful).
The subscription to your main Nintendo Account gives you access to the apps from the Japanese store, so you don't have to pay for a separate subscription. If you can overcome the language barrier – all the text will be in Japanese – it's worth giving these games a try.
Cloud Save Data
For Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, game data is automatically backed up to Nintendo servers if you have an internet connection. If you log into your account on a new console, you can download that data and pick up where you left off. It's an easy, simple way to protect the time you've invested in Nintendo Switch games.
Certain titles are not compatible with this feature to prevent cheating. At first glance, that seems logical – players can't hack their Pokemon Sword and Shield data to get all the starters – but it means that competitive multiplayer games with a single player component aren't protected. If you lose your Switch and want to move forward in Splatoon 2's single player campaign, you're out of luck.
If you cancel, you have six months to re-enroll before your cloud data may be deleted, Nintendo told IGN. That's the same time that Sony PlayStation Plus users give.
Voice Chat and the Nintendo Switch App
Online multiplayer is great, but without the ability to talk to other players, it's a strangely lonely social experience. That's why voice chat is so important. Unfortunately, Nintendo's voice chat solution is a bit strange.
Most game consoles allow you to connect a headset to the console's USB port or audio input and talk to players directly through the game. But for most Nintendo Switch games that support voice chat, the user has to piggyback with a phone via the free Nintendo Switch Online app (available on Android and iOS).
To chat with other players in Splatoon 2, you will need to download the app to your phone, invite your friends to a Skype-like VoIP chat in the game, launch the app and finally connect to your match . You talk to your team on your phone while you play the game on your console.
An update made things a little better in some games. When you start a multiplayer session in the Switch & # 39; s NES library, the phone app will automatically detect your game session and connect you to your friend. Some games even allow you to chat with other players who are not on your friends list: Mario Kart 8 tells you that other users are in voice chat and asks you to open the app.
If you want a traditional console experience, you have to buy a complicated audio splitter to literally pair your Switch to your.
It's not a user-friendly experience, which is why some games got around it – you can chat in Fortnite by plugging a headset into the console and playing.
The app also gives you access to special features in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Splatoon 2.
Nintendo Switch Online members are given access to special offers. These may be discounts, in-game items or products that are not available to non-subscribers.
Before the release of Super Mario Maker 2 in June 2019, Nintendo introduced the Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers promotion, which allows you to download two qualifying Switch games for a fixed price of $ 100, instead of paying $ 120 to pay them to be bought separately. Nintendo regularly updates the list of eligible games; this offer applies to the recently announced Paper Mario: The Origami King.
Free original games are also offered, such as Tetris 99, which came out in February 2019. A physical version has since been available for $ 30, bundled with a 12-month Nintendo Switch Online subscription.
If you subscribe for a year you will get in-game items for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Kirby Clash.
If you want to feel extra retro while playing the console's retro library, Switch-compatible NES and SNES controllers for Nintendo Switch are only available to subscribers. It is $ 60 for aand $ 30 for but they are currently sold out.
You need a Nintendo Account to sign up
Your Nintendo Switch has individual user profiles for each user. The company also has a Nintendo Account to manage your profile and purchase history on the website, console devices and phone apps. To use Nintendo Switch Online you need both.
Make sure to link your profile to the correct account – any Switch profile associated with a Nintendo Account will be permanently locked.
There is a free trial version
If you want to test the goods before you shoot at any money, Nintendo offers a one week free trial. The seven-day trial offers almost all the benefits of the basic service, but you don't get access to special offers, like those retro NES and SNES controllers.
However, if you don't like the service, you must & # 39; I have to manually disable auto-renewal to avoid being charged a monthly fee of $ 3.99 at the end of your trial. If you started the free trial during launch week, you'd better check your bill now – it's probably about the renewal time.
How do I register?
Prepaid subscription cards are available at select stores, but the easiest way to purchase the service is to simply try playing a multiplayer game on your Switch – you go straight to the eShop to complete the sign-up process.
This post will be updated as more features, games and offers are added for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers.