Nintendo Switch Online
Nintendo Switch Online is an online service provided by Nintendo that allows the user to use the Nintendo Switch's online functions for a monthly subscription. It was announced with the release of the console, but the service wasn't properly implemented until September 18, 2018.
It provides two methods of payment: a monthly individual fee which ranges from $3.99 a month to $7.99 per three months to $19.99 per year and a yearly family subscription for $34.99 which allows up to seven people to share the service.
Services It Provides
- Online Play
- Cloud Save
- NES and SNES - Nintendo Switch Online
- Special Offers
- Smartphone App
Why It Sucks
- Nintendo Switch (much like most other Nintendo consoles with online multiplayer) uses peer-to-peer connection, an archaic connection method which doesn't use dedicated servers (which both PS Plus and Xbox Gold's respective online services use), however it depends on the players' connections. In short, players are paying an extra fee for their internet connection.
- Because of this, Nintendo's netcode is subpar compared to what other services provide, which gives less reason to pay for their online service.
- To prove that Nintendo is focusing on the trend of making online not free, it was already free a year and a half before the service was released, and there was literally no difference between the free period and the paid service now, despite a long delay when Nintendo claimed that the service was "not ready yet" and that they were "trying to increase its quality".
- Nintendo's ad for the Switch Online doesn't even give you a good reason on why online isn't free anymore.
- Even though they could of to make the subscription more worth it, Nintendo never put an online mode for most of the Wii U games that were ported.
- Nintendo made the decision of making cloud saves incompatible with part of the Switch catalog to prevent people "cheating their multiplayer scores with it". For this reason, it isn't compatible with games like Splatoon 2 or Dark Souls Remastered, which doesn't make sense since the latter is compatible with Cloud Save in their competitors' systems.
- It is also not compatible with any of the core series Pokémon games to also prevent people from cloning their Pokémon that way. Although Pokémon Home (the method to transfer and store Pokémon from the aforementioned games as well as Bank and Go) which released on February 12th 2020 (February 11th 2020 in North America) is the method to backup their Pokémon in case if they want to start a new playthrough.
- If a player's subscription expires, they lose access to their save data and are given six months to renew their subscription before the data gets permanently wiped. In comparison, Microsoft doesn't force their customers to pay for cloud saves, and unlike Nintendo, both Microsoft and Sony can let you use a flash drive to copy and paste cloud saves.
NES/SNES - Nintendo Switch Online
- It's somewhat inferior to the Virtual Console, which allowed players to buy games from a wider variety of consoles, instead of just few NES and SNES titles, and unlike Virtual Console (where you can play any game you want à la carte without paying for ones you don't want), the service acts as a Netflix of sorts, where they give you a random pre-selected queue of NES and SNES games that is slowly increasing every month through the form of three to four games being drip-fed to the service over time, essentially meaning that you have no choice what games you get to play every month and you have to deal with what they pick for you.
- It uses the same Cloud Save system mentioned earlier (though not really affecting anything, it's just the saves you created).
- The games won't be usable for players spending a week without internet connection, which defeats the purpose of it being on a portable system, a feature which is emphasized in all of the Switch's advertisements.
- You can't remap buttons, which even the Wii U Virtual Console was capable of.
- The size of games library doesn't even come close to the Virtual Console, and only NES and SNES games are available while Virtual Console had games from other Nintendo and even Sega platforms as well as MSX, TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine, Neo Geo, Arcade, and even Commodore 64.
- The NES and SNES games on the service is barely updated with new games.
- Even when the service is updated to add new games, some of the game choices are outright obscure and forgettable. The worst offender was the February 2020 update; it was so bad that the trailer for the additions received more dislikes than likes.
- As a classic mistake, Nintendo made it only to pander nostalgia and show how "cool the 80's and 90’s were".
- The NES-themed Switch controllers and SNES themed ones as well could easily be sold as normal accessories with a discount for subscribers. And while they can be used with other games, the limited amount of buttons results in limited functionality in certain games.
- As of now, the offers are quite lacking, though there might be more in the future.
- There used to be a feature called Nintendo Switch Game Voucher program for NSO users, where you could buy 2 games for $20 less, but it was removed.
- The app is not that useful if you already have something like the Steam built-in chat system or some other app with voice chat.
- This is mainly due to the chat being through the Smartphone and not the controller (though this is somewhat acceptable since the switch controller doesn't have a microphone or speaker) so you might as well use a different voice chat app for playing with your friends since it will be virtually the same, but possibly better quality, depending on the app.
- No way to directly call other users, you have to be in the same server, which sort of defeats the purpose of the app since you would need to use other software if you want your friends in the server.
- As of right now, it is only compatible with 7 games.
- Even in some of Nintendo's own ads, the people use voice chat on other services.
- The price is really cheap compared to their competitors, especially the family membership when shared with at least another person.
- Being able to play NES and SNES games online is somewhat impressive and enjoyable and unlike emulators (if you pirate the roms) it is 100% legal.
- The recently introduced Game Trials program lets you download selected games for free for a limited time.
- Few of the SNES games were Japanese only and are released to the public on this service such as Puyo Puyo 2 and Panel De Pon.
- Additionally, some SNES games that did not get Virtual Console releases are available now such as Star Fox and it's sequel (The latter of which was initially unreleased and was only available on the SNES Classic Edition), Stunt Race FX, and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.
- Sometimes in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online it can work fine, but it still follows the bugs.
- You can get free Nintendo Online exclusive in-game items for games like Splatoon 2 and Animal Crossing New Horizons