Why Nintendo cant stick to their Switch Online pricing Structure

Image from Nintendo

Nintendo recently shared more information about their paid online service for the Nintendo Switch that will be launching in September.

The service will initially be structured around 5 pillars which Nintendo outlined on their website.

Online Play

The service will allow players to play certain games online in either competitive or cooperative modes. Games that will require a subscription to play online include Spaltoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and ARMS.

Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online

Included with the Nintendo Switch Online service will be 20 enhanced classic NES games. These games will be optimised for the Nintendo Switch as well as having online multiplayer modes custom built for each game. 10 of the games included at launch will be

Ice Climber

The Legend of Zelda

Balloon Fight

Soccer

Tennis

Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros.

Dr. Mario

Super Mario Bros. 3

Donkey Kong

More games will be released regularly to the collection.

Save Date Cloud

With a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online you will also be able to back up your consoles save data to the cloud to help protect your game saves.

Smartphone App

The service also provides access to the Nintendo Switch smartphone app to allow you to use voice chat for your Nintendo Switch games as well as other functionality that will vary title to title.

Exclusive offers for members

Finally members of Nintendo Switch Online will receive exclusive offers.

Pricing for Nintendo Switch Online was also revealed and the options are listed as,

1 month $3.99 (£3.49)

3 months $7.99 (£6.99)

12 months £19.99 (£17.99)

Or a 12 month Family Plan where eight Nintendo Switch accounts can use Nintendo Switch Online under one plan.

12 months $34.99 (£31.49)

The hopes for this service are that Nintendo can provide a strong platform for online gaming, something that they have lacked with previous consoles when compared to what is on offer with PlayStation and Xbox. Like their completion they are also offering cloud saves and a selection of games included with the subscription. Unlike PlayStation and Xbox though these games aren’t just games that have been made free to download. They are completely optimised games with new online features built in, a process that cant have been quick or cheap to do.

Based on the current information available to us it also sounds like this library will keep expanding with more and more classic games that have been enhanced with online features. This means that in a year or two there might be dozens of games included in the service not just 20.

This is a great move by Nintendo but it does create the question, how can they offer the Nintendo Switch Online service at such a lost price point, especially when its compared to the competition.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 service, PS Plus, which allows users to play games online, access cloud saves and download a selection of games for free each month is available for

1 month $9.99 (£6.99)

3 months $24.99 (£19.99)

12 months $59.99 (£49.99)

Microsoft’s service for their Xbox One called Xbox Live Gold also offers online gaming, cloud saves and monthly games to download and costs users

1 month $9.99 (£5.99)

3 months $24.99 (14.99)

12 months $59.99 (39.99)

Game pass, a library of old games as well as new Microsoft exclusives, is available for $9.99 (7.99) a month. PS Now which is Sony’s back catalogue of old games that players can stream costs $19.99 (£12.99) for one month and $44.99 for three.

Based on what Nintendo has laid out it looks like they are setting the ground work for the Nintendo Switch Online to combine the services of both their competitors but offer it at a massively discounted price. PS Plus and PS Now for 1 years costs just under $300 (£206) and Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass totals $180 (£136).

With Nintendo charging just $20 (£17.99) for the same time period I find it hard to believe that they can stick to this price point especially once they have added more titles to their classic game library.

With this is mind I think one of three outcomes are likely.

1 – Nintendo’s online capabilities will be severely lacking when compared to PlayStation and Xbox.

2 – As new titles get added to their classic games library they will gradually increase the price or include an optional charge to play games beyond the initial 20.

3 – They will continue to charge this price as well as build the classic game library and massively undercut the competition and make fans very very happy.

Personally I think options 1 or 2 are most likely but we will have to see if Nintendo can surprise us all.

What do you think Nintendo will do with their Nintendo Switch Online service going forward? Let me know in the comments.

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