Today is a big day for the Switch, with Nintendo launching not only a new major software update for the console but also officially flicking that big red ‘on’ switch for the Nintendo Switch Online service, including making 20 classic NES games available to play right now. So what does that all mean for Switch owners? Let’s take a look:
Nintendo Switch Online
Ever felt like you were really enjoying playing your Nintendo Switch games online but would be just that little bit happier if you were paying for the privilege? Well fret no longer, the paid Nintendo Switch Online service is finally here! Seriously though, it’s not at all as bad as that. After having given players a good 18 months of free online pay, the big N have now implemented many of the features they’ve been promising players and as such are officially charging for it as of today. Here’s what being a paying subscriber gets you:
Online Play: Is what it is. You wanna play (most) multiplayer games online with your friends? You’re gonna have to subscribe, mate. Although, like with PlayStation, certain free-to-play games such as Fortnite are still completely free to play online.
Nintendo Entertainment System: If you ever wondered why the Switch doesn’t have a Virtual Console service like the 3DS/Wii U/Wii, this is why. Rather than charge per-game for legacy Nintendo Software, your shiny new Nintendo Switch Online subscription includes access to a whole range of classic NES games. Of course you’ll need an active internet connection to verify that you are signed up before you’ll be allowed to play anything, although once logged in you can play offline for up to a week. Right now there are 20 games to choose from, but more are on the way, and who knows maybe we’ll see further additions later on from other Nintendo platforms?
Cloud Saves: Here’s another big one. Until now it’s been very difficult (and in some instances, impossible) to move saved game files to or from a Switch console. It’s been possible to transfer system data wholesale from one console to the next if say, you decide to replace one, but if your Switch was ever lost or stolen you’d be out of luck. Now, paying customers have access to an online backup for their saves, giving them a handy fail safe if the worst should happen. Much noise has been made about Nintendo’s disclaimer that cloud saves will be deleted if your subscription lapses but don’t freak out, they’ll still be sitting safely on your console and if you do happen to lose your Switch – make sure you’re paid up!
Smartphone app: The Nintendo Switch app for smart devices has been around a while, but it’s now folded into the Nintendo Switch Online service and allows for important stuff like voice chat and parental controls.
Exclusive offers: Nintendo Switch Online members will have access to a range of exclusive member offers, too. Right now, subscribing for 12 months will get you some exclusive in-game gear for Splatoon 2, and all members will have the opportunity to buy some cool wireless NES controllers made just for playing those classic games on Switch!
All of these features don’t come free of course, but the Nintendo Switch Online subscription is actually reasonably priced:
$29.95AUD a year is a pretty good deal considering that PlayStation and Xbox charge around $80 per annum for their service. The Family Group offer is a pretty compelling one too, letting you link up to eight accounts and paying just $54.95 a year for everyone included. There’s also a free 7-day trial for anyone who signs up now!
You wish you were having as much fun as these people
Firmware Update 6.0.0
Alongside the launch of Nintendo Switch Online is a new major system update for the Switch console itself (can you believe we’re up to version 6.0.0 already?). Most of it just enables what’s new in the online service, but there are a couple extra things like new user icons to choose from and the ability to upload up to four screenshots at once when sharing them to social media.
Most importantly though, it’s now possible to log into your Nintendo account on someone else’s console and play your own digital games! This works much like other platforms, where you’ll set one console as your ‘primary’ machine and play your games online and offline, but you’ll also be able to access your game library on ‘non-primary’ machines provided you’re signed in and have an active internet connection.
Oh, and as of this update you won’t be able to unlink your Nintendo account from your user profile so make sure you’re happy with your current setup before updating! Full patch notes are below:
Improvements Included in Version 6.0.0 (Distributed 9/18/2018)
Nintendo Switch Online* features and functionality have been added, including:
- Save Data Cloud Backup
- User your internet connection to back up game save data for compatible games
- Some games are not compatible with Save Data Cloud
- To back up save data or download a previous backup, head to System Settings > Data Management > Save Data Cloud Backup
*Nintendo Switch Online membership (sold separately) and Nintendo Account required for online play. Not available in all countries. Internet access required for online features. Save Data Cloud backup available in compatible games. Terms apply. To learn more, click here.
Added the following system functionality
- Upload up to four Album screenshots at once on supported social network services
- Only one captured video can be uploaded at once
- Select from six new Captain Toad icons for your user
- To edit your user icon, head to your My Page on the top left of the Home Menu > Profile
- Play your digital software and content on non-primary consoles by linking your Nintendo Account
- The term “active console” has been renamed “primary console” in Nintendo eShops
- Playing software in multiple consoles has certain restrictions
- Display of Nintendo Switch News articles will be limited to match the restricted software parental controls setting selections
- Please note that the restriction will only apply to News articles distributed after the release of version 6.0.0.
- Change the layout of the USB keyboard to the desired language
- To change the language, head to the System Settings > System > USB Keyboard
Removed the following system functionality
- After installing the system update, it will no longer be possible to unlink your Nintendo Account from your Nintendo Switch user
General system stability improvements to enhance the user’s experience, including:
- Compatibility improvements have been made for a controller licensed by Nintendo