Nintendo recently announced its plans to launch an online subscription service for its new Switch console this fall. The service will allow Nintendo Switch players to enjoy multiplayer gaming online and a smartphone app that connects to the Switch system so players can connect with their friends. A free, limited version of the app will be available this summer. The Switch app will allow players to invite friends to play online, set play dates and chat with friends during online play in compatible games.
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Nintendo’s new Switch console will launch in the U.S. and select other countries on March 3 for $300, reports GameSpot. GameSpot also listed some of the confirmed games for Nintendo Switch, including Breath of the Wild, Just Dance 2017 and Dragon Quest XI.
In addition, subscribers will have the opportunity to play one Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) or Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Super NES) game for free each month. Nintendo did not say what these games might be. Venture Beat reports that these games are only available for one month, so anyone who wants to keep the free game after a month will have to buy it. Subscribers will also be eligible for discounts on select digital games and content.
According to Nintendo’s website, the service will be free for Nintendo account holders starting in March. Nintendo is encouraging Nintendo Switch users to create online accounts now. Once the paid online service launches in the fall, players will have to subscribe to play online. This new service will not impact WiiU or Nintendo 3D systems or online play, said Nintendo. The company did not disclose pricing.
This new offering will put Nintendo on a level playing field with Sony’s PlayStation Plus and Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold subscriptions, both of which cost $59.99 for a year. According to VentureBeat, the key difference is that both of these subscription services offer free games to subscribers, and they are available to the subscriber as long as their subscription is active.
The subscription model has made it possible for companies like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft to compete on more than just product and retail pricing. They can now compete in other ways, including subscription pricing and features. While Nintendo did not disclose its price for Switch, we believe its subscription price will be similar to pricing for PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold so that it’s competitive.
We agree with Venture Beat on the features though. If Nintendo wants Switch to be competitive, it needs to reconsider how it will handle free games. Hopefully, Nintendo will learn some valuable lessons during the trial period and ask users for feedback before solidifying their subscription package this fall. By taking a more user-friendly stance, Nintendo could improve subscriber retention.