Nintendo Switch Online service - prices, cloud saves, NES games, and how to play with friends

Here's everything fans need to know about Nintendo Switch Online service, including price tiers, retro NES classic games, cloud saving, online multiplayer, and more.

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Nintendo Switch Online has finally arrived, giving Switch owners a service that goes directly head-to-head with the likes of Sony's PlayStation Plus and the Microft's Xbox Live. As with the the aforementioned service, Nintendo Switch Online will be required to play Switch games over the internet, but it also comes with several extra goodies in the form of classic NES games, cloud save backup, and exclusive goodies.


Nintendo Switch Online service prices and packages

Much like with similar console services, Nintendo Switch Online can be purchased in one-month, three-month, or yearly packages. Unlike other services, however, Nintendo Switch Online also has an extra tier: the family package, which allows access to the online features for up to 8 separate Nintendo Account holders. Here's the breakdown of all Switch Online service tiers and prices according to the offical Nintendo website:

  • One month membership - $3.99 ($3.99/month)
  • Three month membership - $7.99 ($2.66/month)
  • One year membership - $19.99 ($1.67/month)
  • One year Family membership - $34.99 ($2.92/month)

It's clear from these numbers that the one-year memberships present the best bargains — even the $35/year family membership costs less per-month than a single month membership, and as many players have pointed out, sharing the plan with eight friends (because friends are the family you can choose, right?) brings the cost of entry down to just $3.12 *per year.*


Retro NES Classics

Though it's possible that the Nintendo Switch will never get any sort of proper Virtual Console support, Big N has provided an alternative means for players to get their old-school kicks. Nintendo Switch Online will include access to a library of classic NES games, with with 20 games being available to play immediately and plans for more to be added each month. Here are the NES games Nintendo Switch Online subscribers will be able to access immediately with their subscription:

  • Balloon Fight
  • Baseball
  • Donkey Kong
  • Double Dragon
  • Dr. Mario
  • Excitebike
  • Ghosts 'n' Goblins
  • Gradius
  • Ice Climber
  • Ice Hockey
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Pro Wrestling
  • River City Ransom
  • Soccer
  • Tecmo Bowl
  • Tennis
  • Yoshi

In addition to these 20 titles, Nintendo has provided information about future NES classic releases being added to the library. To learn more about those, check out our guide to all NES classics coming to Nintendo Switch Online.


Nintendo Switch Online cloud saves

Most online services for video game consoles provide some sort of access to cloud saving functionality, and the Switch is no different. However, unlike other consoles, the Switch is portable, meaning its far more vulnerable to the potential for missing or lost saves. Fortunately, Nintendo has given the system cloud saving support. Available only to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, cloud saves will ensure that game progress is never fully lost, since save data is backed up to the cloud. Just remember that cloud save data may disappear if the Nintendo Switch Online membership lapses.


Online multiplayer on Nintendo Switch

Last, but absolutely not least, Nintendo Switch Online allows players to enjoy online play with supported multiplayer games. This feature was previously free before the launch of NSO, but now that Nintendo has put their internet-enabled infrastructure together, the feature is now considered a premium option. Naturally, this is no different from competitors, but users who want to play certain games — again, not all games — online will need a current Nintendo Switch Online membership.


Other features and bonuses

Since the service is very much new, it's entirely possible that Nintendo will be changing and/or adding features to Nintendo Switch Online in the coming months and years. Sony and Microsoft have had plenty of time to refine their model, and there's very little doubt that Nintendo will do the same.

With that said, we already know that Nintendo plans to give NSO subscribers a few exclusive goodies, because they've already announced the first: not only will subscribers be eligible to purchase the exclusive the retro-style Nintendo Entertainment System Switch controllers, they'll also be able to download exclusive Splatoon 2 cosmetics starting in October. There's almost certainly going to be more exclusive content down the line, and we're very eager to learn more about other surprises Nintendo might have in store.


Now that you're all caught up with the prices, features, and classic NES titles available to Nintendo Switch Online, be sure to stop by our complete video game release schedule for 2018 to learn more about the excellent Switch games launching this year.

Guides Editor

Kevin Tucker is a core component of Shacknews' powerful guide development team. For questions, concerns, tips, or to share constructive criticism, he can be reached on Twitter @dukeofgnar or through e-mail at kevin.tucker@shacknews.com.