Once September hits, Nintendo Switch Online service will go live. This means games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2 and, when it arrives, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will have all of their online multiplayer components gated unless you pay, much like the PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold systems.
The real discussion begins with the free-to-play titles currently on the Switch that make use of or are entirely reliant on the online capabilities of the Switch. Games such as Fortnite require the player to be able to play multiplayer as that’s it’s entire premise. Switch users are speculating that free-to-play titles might not require the paid Nintendo Switch Online subscription though, due to a few omissions on the eShop.
For paid games that include online play, much like Minecraft for example, the eShop features a disclaimer, of sorts, reading:
“To use online services you must have access to a wireless internet connection. Some online services may not be available in all countries. From the full launch of the Nintendo Switch Online membership service in 2018, online play requires a paid membership.”
Free-to-play titles, as of writing, don’t actually feature this disclaimer. While this is by no means equates to a confirmation that you won’t need to pay for the Nintendo Switch Online to play to access the multiplayer components of these games, it could be a nod that Nintendo is going to be a little sensible and player friendly with their online service.
For now, we’ll just be left to speculate, while we wait for clarity on how the Nintendo Switch Online service will work. For now, nothing’s set in stone.