Nintendo confirms the free games it’s offering alongside its monthly online membership will only be available to play for free during that month, and not forever.

These days, gamers are pretty familiar with the online membership requirements to play video games with their friends on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Until now, Nintendo has never required a fee for playing online, but with the introduction of the Nintendo Switch, the gaming giant is adding its own monthly online service.

Part of this service will be a free monthly virtual “classic” game download for Nintendo Switch, similar to Games with Gold on Xbox and PlayStation Plus’s monthly game giveaways. However, as Wired was able to confirm, Nintendo’s service comes with a catch: games are only free during that month, and not forever.

Gamers are naturally disappointed and confused by the offering, especially considering the format of the competition. Gamers who download the free monthly games on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 get to keep and play those games as long as their membership is active.

Sheesh, even my explanation was unclear. Sorry.

After a month, you can no longer PLAY the monthly Switch online classic unless you buy it.— Regular Chris Kohler (@kobunheat) January 13, 2017

Granted, Nintendo’s site says specifically that the games will be “free for a month,” but many gamers understood that to mean the games would be available to download for free during the month, not that they could only be played for free that month. Once the month ends, Nintendo Switch owners will need to purchase the titles to continue playing them.

This situation is of little surprise to seasoned Nintendo fans, though, considering Nintendo’s history with its Virtual Console offerings. Wii U owners were discouraged to learn they had to repurchase Wii Virtual Console games for the Wii U, and the same happened to 3DS owners. Understandably, many gamers have taken to online forums and social media to voice their concerns about this current situation with the free games, though many also recognize Nintendo’s pattern with its virtual games.

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There’s no word yet on how much Nintendo’s monthly online membership will cost or which games will be offered for free. The good news is gamers should be able to play through full games during the month the games are free, so while losing some Nintendo Switch games will be frustrating, many players should be able to complete titles delivered during that month.

It will be interesting to see Nintendo’s response to the backlash about its free virtual game restrictions on Nintendo Switch, and if the gaming giant reverses course on its decision. Based on Nintendo’s history, it’s not likely, but that won’t stop gamers from hoping for the change.

What do you think about Nintendo’s policy about its free monthly virtual game offerings?

Nintendo Switch launches on March 3, 2017.

tags: Nintendo, Switch

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