As Nintendo prepares to launch its first ever paid online service, fans need to decide whether they want to shell out and stay connected or spare the expense and stick to other platforms for their online needs. Thankfully for those who enjoy playing Fortnite on Switch, it turns out Nintendo won't require the subscription to play certain online games, including but not limited to Fortnite.
When Nintendo officially unveiled the online service this week, the announcement confirmed that just as expected, fans would need to pay a subscription fee to play games like Mario Kart 8, Splatoon 2, and Smash Bros. Ultimate online. What came as a pleasant surprise was Nintendo also confirmed that some online games were exempt from the online service requirement.
"Beginning September 18, 2018, a Nintendo Switch Online service membership is required to participate in co-op and competitive online features for many first- and third-party Nintendo Switch games..." The statement continues, "Some games, such as Fortnite, can be played online without a Nintendo Switch membership."
In comparison, the PS4 also allows online play on Fortnite without a PS Plus subscription, while Xbox on the other hand, does require players to be subscribed to Xbox Live Gold. When asked by CNET for comment on the decision to make Fortnite and other titles exempt from the online service requirement, Nintendo replied vaguely, "Various factors could determine if a game requires the service."
More than likely, Nintendo specifically mentioned Fortnite as an exception to the model due to its immense popularity and presence among adolescent gamers, a demographic less likely to be able to pay for the membership.
Offsetting some of this good news about Nintendo's fast-approaching online service, it was recently revealed that in order to play the included NES games offline, players will need to sign in to the online service once a week and check in.
For those looking to give the online service a try before fully committing, Nintendo is offering a seven-day free trial, in which players will have access to the full list of features before deciding to purchase a membership.
Nintendo Switch Online will go live in Europe on September 18, following in the US on September 19.