The Nintendo Switch Online service may not offer as many features as Xbox Live or PlayStation Network, but there is at least one area where Nintendo has an advantage over the competition. All three paid online services offer free games, and that's where Nintendo dominates.
Here are the reasons why Nintendo Switch Online's selection of free games dominates what's offered by Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus, and why it's likely to continue to do so in the future.
Nintendo's Huge Library of Classic Games
The biggest advantage Nintendo Switch Online has over the competition is Nintendo's vast library of classic games. So far, we've only seen NES and SNES games on the Switch, but Nintendo could theoretically add more in the future. It would be great to see Nintendo 64 games added to the Switch Online service, not to mention GameCube games (which would be very fitting since there are literally GameCube controllers available for the Switch), and perhaps even Wii games if Nintendo got especially ambitious.
It also helps that Nintendo's library of classic games consist of some of the highest-rated and most beloved video games in history. Whereas Xbox and PlayStation have to rely on games from the last couple of generations and some of the selections often irritate fans, no one is going to scoff at the chance to revisit classics like Super Mario World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
Besides Nintendo's library of classic games that are available on the service, there are other games exclusive to Switch Online subscribers as well. The most notable Switch Online exclusive is Tetris 99, which takes the falling block puzzle franchise and turns it into a battle royale. Tetris 99 earned strong reviews when it first launched, and it has maintained an active online community through frequent updates and special events. If Tetris 99 is an indication of what Switch Online subscribers can expect, then the future of the service looks very bright.
Increased Value Over Time
Nintendo Switch Online's value is increasing over time. Originally, Switch Online just offered a selection of NES games on top of letting Switch owners play games online. The service has since added more NES games, released tweaked versions of ones that were already available, and has added 20 SNES games as well. Since Nintendo owns the vast majority of the games that are available through Switch Online, it's unlikely to remove them from the service, whereas free games on PS Plus and Xbox Live Gold are rotated monthly.
Switch Online is Cheap
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages that Switch Online offers compared to PS Plus and Xbox Live Gold is its price. For just $20 a year, Switch Online subscribers gain access to all of its NES and SNES games, which they can play instantly with a variety of enhancements. The $20 subscription also lets Switch Online users play games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online, and it grants them access to the excellent Tetris 99 as well. PS Plus and Xbox Live Gold cost $60 annually, or subscribers can end up paying more for the services per year if they opt to pay monthly instead. Better yet, there have been numerous promotions that let Switch Online subscribers get a year of the service for free, like the recent Amazon Prime deal, for instance.
Still Room for Improvement
While Switch Online arguably provides a better value than PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold, there are still some areas where it could improve. Switch Online doesn't have party chat, instead forcing players to use an app on their phone to communicate with their friends. Switch Online cloud saves also don't apply to every game on the service for weird reasons, and so it would be nice to see cloud saves expanded to every game.
If Switch Online is able to add more games to the service in addition to other features while maintaining its low price, then it would have no problem dominating PS Plus and Xbox Live Gold. As it stands, it still arguably offers the best value out of the three services, with players having access to dozens of high quality NES and SNES games for just $20 annually, on top of Switch Online's other perks.