Free Nintendo Switch online play ends September 2018

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Change is coming, Nintendo Switch owners. While you’ve been happily heading online with your consoles since launch for some free multiplayer sessions, those days are numbered. Nintendo has now dated the launch of its paid-for online service.

The Mario house announced that its paid-for online subscription service will be launching in September 2018 and it’s expected that the subscription offering will bring with it the end of free online play for Switch owners.

Nintendo’s subscription service, its answer to Sony’s PlayStation Plus and Microsoft’s Xbox Live, will cost $3.99 a month (around £2.80 / AU$5), or $19.99 annually (£14 / AU$25).

Retro return

Thankfully, the fee will bring with it some new features, beyond the online play access that Switch owners currently enjoy free of charge.

Perhaps the most highly anticipated is the introduction of a rotating catalogue of classic retro Nintendo games to play each month, set to be included as part of the subscription. It’s not yet clear however which era of Nintendo’s history, let alone what specific titles, will feature, nor what if any limitations there will be in terms of access, but previous rumors have suggested that GameCube games could be set to appear on the Switch’s Virtual Console – so fingers crossed.

Back catalogue titles will also be updated with new features including leaderboards and the addition of online multiplayer where not previously available.

If Nintendo does enforce a blanket paid-for multiplayer policy it’ll be a loss for those that have so far enjoyed the simplicity of Nintendo’s service. But with the Labo line on the way, and sales still going strong, it’s hard to imagine it denting the momentum Nintendo has built with the Switch so far.