Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima reveals that the Nintendo Switch online service could be much cheaper than expected, costing less than $30 a year in Japan.
Along with all of the Nintendo Switch launch details, one of the biggest things that Nintendo announced during the console’s announcement event was a paid online service for the console. Set to launch in fall 2017, a few months after the console itself will have gone on sale, this online service is required for Switch players to take part in online multiplayer and gifts subscribers with a free game every single month. However, although the service is paid-for, gamers shouldn’t expect it to be that expensive.
As reported in Japanese publication Nikkei (via industry analyst Serkan Toto), Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima has stated that the Nintendo Switch online service will cost between 2,000 and 3,000 yen for the entire year in Japan. At the current exchange rate, that would be between $17.71 and $26.44 (in USD) for an annual subscription. Kimishima said that an annual fee would make it “easier for Nintendo to support online features” though it’s currently unclear whether Nintendo would also offer the option to subscribe monthly.
What’s also unclear is what the price will be in other territories. At under $30, the currently proposed price makes it much cheaper than the subscriptions comparative online services PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold. But as Nintendo looks at potential logistical issues outside of its home country of Japan, the price of Nintendo Switch online in North America, Europe, and other non-Japan regions may well increase.
The worldwide pricing is just one of the questions that Nintendo will need to answer if it is to fully win people over with this service. For example, there is ongoing confusion (and frustration) regarding the free games offered by this service. Nintendo confirmed that the free classic games are only available for a month and Switch online subscribers do not get to keep them forever unless they buy the game once that month is up. This is quite unlike PlayStation Plus, for example, where players get to keep and play the free games until they no longer subscribe to the service.
Fans are also eager to find out how the Nintendo Switch online app works as it also controls matchmaking. While it sounds like an interesting concept, some have called the setup “fiddly” rather than being the “elegant” solution that Nintendo has called it. But Nintendo has a few months before the service launches and a few weeks yet before the console launches so hopefully it will address these concerns and queries soon.
The Nintendo Switch will be available on March 3, 2017.