When Nintendo Switch was originally revealed, it was noted that the system would eventually require an online subscription to play games online. While said service has been delayed multiple times - Nintendo has finally given us some more concrete details for how the service will work, and how much it will cost, when it launches on September 18.
The service is called Nintendo Switch Online and there are 5 main points Nintendo has decided to highlight; Online Play, Nintendo Entertainment System titles for Nintendo Switch Online, Cloud-based Save Data backup, access to the Nintendo Switch Online phone app, and some as of yet undisclosed other "Special Offers" that will remain exclusive to subscribers.
Online Play is rather self-explanatory. Players will be required to purchase the subscription to play their games online, much like how things currently are on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Notably, Nintendo lists in the FAQ that the subscription is only guaranteed to be required for 1st party titles; whether or not a game will require the subscription for online play is up to the publisher.
The previously announced updated NES games service for subscribers has been further detailed with today's information. The service will start with 20 games, with titles such are the original Mario Bros and Legend of Zelda leading the pack. Much as originally announced, players will be able to play the games online, though with today's announcement we have learned that players will also be able to share their screen or even let others take control of the game while playing online. The Nintendo Switch Online phone app will also support voice chat for players while using this service. While the subscription is active, all of the games will be playable - and Nintendo has pledged to add even more titles to the service for the future.
Cloud saves are about what you'd expect. Nintendo hasn't detailed what, if any, limitations the system will come with yet. Both Sony and Microsoft have a limited amount of storage for user save data, so it will be interesting to see Nintendo's approach to that problem. Nintendo states that more details about this service will be revealed before the paid service's launch. As was previously announced, the Nintendo Switch Online phone app will eventually require the paid subscription service, and it will still be used for voice chat on the Switch.
Besides all of that, Nintendo claims that there will be other perks for purchasing a subscription that will be revealed at a later date.
Pricing for the subscription is broken down into a few tiers; for 1 user, the subscription will cost $4 for 1 month, $8 for 3 months, and $20 for a year. Subscriptions are not shared across an entire device, so Nintendo is also offering a "family plan" for $35 that will cover up to 8 users in a Nintendo Switch. Family groups can be created starting on May 15 and will allow up to 8 Nintendo Switch accounts linked at any given time. One interesting thing to note here is that the subscription is truly tied to the account here; Nintendo mentions that if you log in with your Nintendo Account on a different system, the subscription will be active.
Inevitably there's more that Nintendo has to share about their upcoming online service, but at least we've finally got some concrete plans for the subscription as we lead into next month's E3. Nintendo's paid online service launches this September.