Nintendo's online services for the Nintendo Switch have been confirmed to cost $20 a year. During the console's reveal, Nintendo stated that its online services will require a fee just like Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus, and those fees will start to kick in at some point in 2018.
According to the announcement, $20 will cover the entire year, but players will also be able to pay $4 for a single month or $8 for a three-month package. Playing games online will continue to be totally free until that point.
Voice chat will also only be available through a smartphone app that will be released this summer. This too will require a subscription fee, but a free version with fewer features will also be available. The actual Switch console itself does not support voice chat.
Our new dedicated smart device app will connect to Nintendo Switch and let you invite friends to play online, set play appointments, and chat with friends during online matches in compatible games─all from your smart device. A free, limited version of this app will be available for download in summer 2017.
Overall, it's not a bad price. $20 a year won't break the bank, so I think I'll give it a try before casting any judgment.
But what about the classics?
The question of Virtual Console still remains on the forefront of retro enthusiasts, and Nintendo still says that it "has nothing to announce on this topic." However, the previous "free classic game a month" plan through Nintendo's online services, Dr. Mario, has been changed to access to a library of classic titles with added online gameplay. Nintendo confirmed that Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight and Dr. Mario will be the first games available for this system.
Nintendo Switch Online subscribers will have ongoing access to a library of classic games with added online play. Users can play as many of the games as they want, as often as they like, as long as they have an active subscription.
It almost sounds like Nintendo is taking the Netflix route with this decision. I'm not too big of a fan since I have lots of classic games trapped on my Wii U, but it's something.