A few days ago the world was finally able to welcome Nintendo Switch Online, albeit with a bit of controversy. While not initially being something that I had even planned to talk about, I decided to give an honest shot anyways. Being mostly familiar with Playstation Network and Xbox Live, I’ve tried to make my best assessments and comparisons if possible while trying not to be overly critical of anything. I am a huge fan of the Nintendo Switch itself and any opinions or criticism I’ve given towards Nintendo Switch’s Online should not be taken as an attack towards the console itself. It’s a great system with a fantastic library of games that I have nothing but positive remarks about in general.
Now getting into some detail starting with the pricing plans, Nintendo Switch Online seems to come in with a far cheaper subscription than both Playstation Network and Xbox Live. Both Sony and Microsoft charge $59.99 a year for their services while Nintendo’s pricing is at $19.99 for a year. While Nintendo’s service itself seems to offer a lot less than both its competitors, the pricing is obviously the most enticing part of the Switch’s Online. Other offers including 30 days for $3.99 and 90 days for $7.99, as well as a family plan allowing for up to 8 separate accounts for $34.99 a year. Whichever plan anyone decides to go for, the price does not seem too bad.
Moving onto the service itself, there weren’t really any major differences I was able to spot outside of the ability to upload save data to the cloud via options. These saves apparently stay backed up for up to 180 days, if unsubscribed. There still seems to be no way of sending friends messages via the Switch’s friends list menu and I believe it’s expected to use features like voice chat through a smartphone app. Outside of that, I feel like not having the option to send a short message through the friends list menu is a sorely missed feature and I’m a little confused as to why something like this still hasn’t been added.
In terms of the classic Nintendo games offered, that of which are accessed through the Nintendo Switch Online application, there were a varied selection of titles I was able to choose from with an option of having one to two players as well as the ability of joining another friend’s online session. Since I had no friends available at the time to play any of the games with, I instead spent a few hours playing River City Ransom, Yoshi, Dr. Mario and Super Mario Bros. 3 offline. While I wouldn’t necessarily say I had a bad experience with any of these games, I just didn’t really find anything currently available to be too enthralling outside of Super Mario Bros 3. Admittedly, I was familiar with only a select few of the available titles to begin with. However even so, I could see others getting more enjoyment out of this library than I did. Other than that, I found there to be nothing wrong with the current selection, at least for nostalgia purposes, aside from the classic Nintendo games and not being content with that alone. For the sake of actually trying to play the Switch Online, I ended up downloading Blazblue Cross Tag Battle but was unfortunately met with an Error Code when trying to access the online network mode. So while I wasn’t able to actually try out the online, I feel as though it’s probably just the same as playing anything else online, albeit locked behind a subscription fee now.
In closing, while it’s not a service that I would personally see myself subscribing to in the long-term, I do feel that there are people out there who would look at Nintendo Switch Online’s low price of $19.99 and see it as being just not that big of a deal even with features that I feel are truly lacking compared to what Nintendo’s competitor’s offer . While I love the Switch and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the games I’ve played on it so far, I just don’t see myself subscribing to the online for more than a few months at a time per year unless I ever find myself want to play something with friends. It just doesn’t feel like there is enough available for me on a personal level and I’ll probably just stick with Playstation Network or Xbox Live for the time being. As for the future who knows, Nintendo could give the Switch Online much-needed quality of life updates and I might change my mind. Until then, I’ll be passing on this one.