In an interview with Time magazine, Nintendo President Kimishima says that the Switch online service will be an important part of the console’s success.
With the March 3 release date for the Nintendo Switch fast approaching, corporation president Kimishima Tatsumi has been actively talking about the upcoming console. Tatsumi has covered a wide variety of topics already, but in a recent interview he said that online play will be a “key” to the new semi-handheld console’s success. The Switch online service will launch in the fall and it will be a paid feature that should cost consumers somewhere between $18 and $27 per year. Switch owners that are subscribed to the service will be able to play with friends online and communicate over voice chat using a dedicated smartphone app.
In the interview with Time, Kimishima said that offering online service for the Nintendo Switch at a price point below that of the competition is a conscious choice Nintendo has made. Rather than squeeze every dollar it possibly can out of its user base, Nintendo is focusing on “getting our content to the consumer at a price point that will make them happy.” Kimishima sees the Switch as a tool in a “battle of content” and says that he and his company will go “above and beyond” to make sure that the online service is a valuable option worth paying for.
Besides online play, subscribers to the Nintendo Switch online service will receive the option to play a free NES or SNES game for a month, with payment only starting after that. However, it should be noted that, as a whole, the new online service is not exactly revolutionary: though it’s likely to be cheaper than the competition when it launches later this year, it also offers fewer options than, for example, the Gold plan for Xbox Live.
Then again, as with most things Switch, it’s still unclear what the online subscription will look like when it launches. During the interview, Kimishima lifted few veils concerning the details of the new hybrid console and mostly reiterated all the possible features that the Japanese corporation is considering. When asked whether the Nintendo Switch will support VR, he repeated his earlier answer that the handheld will be powerful enough, but that his team is unsure whether it can be made “fun.”
It should be noted, however, that this uncertainty over more advanced features is not likely to hamper the success of the new console: the Superbowl commercial for the Nintendo Switch was hugely popular, amassing almost 4 million views in the few days after it aired. Meanwhile, U.S. retailer Target has not been able to meet the demand for Switch pre-orders, not only putting a temporary stop on new ones but also canceling existing ones. It seems that the Nintendo brand can weather any storm in the eyes of its fans.
The Nintendo Switch launches worldwide on March 3, 2017.