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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Nintendo Switch Online — Features NES and Cloud Saves

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Oh, and family groups... but that'll get its own dedicated article later. STAY TUNED.

Though I failed to specifically mention it, Nintendo mentioned a week ago in their financial Q&A that they would be providing more details on Nintendo Switch Online in early May. Well, it's early May. Here they are.

There is a features table that we took a screenshot of back when Nintendo Switch Online was announced in January 2017. (Wait, what? That was over a year ago!) It's pretty interesting to compare that table to this new one:

Nintendo Switch Online paid service table of benefits updated Save Data Cloud backup
This table is dated May 10, 2018.

Besides the fact that they now find it necessary to say that everyone will get system and software updates for free, there's a new feature. But, first, keep in mind that some of the features got renamed from January 2017 to June 2017. They used to have “Monthly Game Download” and then renamed it to “Classic Game Selection”. They have now settled on “NES - Nintendo Switch Online”, and the specificity of that name change (classic games to specifically NES) implies something about the scope of the free games you'll get.

I didn't understand what the appeal for the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition (or the NES: NES CE) was. But I sort of understand the purpose of these online-enabled NES games. Part of it is to guarantee that people who are paying for Nintendo Switch Online have something in common to play with all of their friends. So when your terrible friend says, “Want to play Ice Climber with me?” you can't respond, “Nah, I don't have Ice Climber.” (You should instead respond, “No, why would I ever play Ice Climber when I can use this time playing Splatoon 2?”)

They also now have “Save Data Cloud backup”, but details on that are pending a later date. For now, we just know exactly what it sounds like — you can save your data in an external location other than your own console, and it'll be tied to your Nintendo Account. This being a backup and not the only place you can save your stuff will avoid the problem of the game company controlling your access to your own data, and also mitigate dangerous hard drive crashes. Of course, you need to keep paying.

The payment methods are made clear — you will pay for Nintendo Switch Online through your already-existing Nintendo eShop account balance. That means that the Nintendo eShop codes that you can skillfully win through the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program can be used to keep up a Nintendo Switch Online subscription! If you win two $10 Nintendo eShop codes a year through KoopaTV, then you're all set.

...But then there are the mysterious new family memberships and family groups. What are these? We'll give you the full details next week, because you can create them starting May 15, 2018! Keep your eyes on KoopaTV for the write-up of that. (It'll also be a hyperlink at the bottom of this article when it's available.)

What is my opinion on the Nintendo Switch Online offering? Is it worth $20? Well... Nintendo is doing a subscription no-no, which is to offer your offering for free for years, and then decide, “We're going to make this thing you're used to paying for free suddenly cost money!” If you do that, you're supposed to offer additional value. Cloud saves and online NES games are rather worthless trinkets, not value-adding benefits. 

Nintendo is doing this for money (since it was mentioned as part of their strategy for the year in their financial earnings release), and they know they can probably get away with it. I just said that what they're doing is a customer relations bad practice and they aren't adding value. ...Yet I'm still going to pay for a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. I'm a sucker. But the alternative isn't palatable.

Are you a sucker like Ludwig? What value do you see in Nintendo Switch Online, if any? Are you curious about what KoopaTV will say about the family membership? ...Do you actually have any interest in playing NES games online? Would you prefer games from other Nintendo consoles instead, or do you think that those will be announced as future table rows in the Nintendo Switch Online features table in later years?

Here is the dedicated article for the family groups/family memberships. It goes into deep analysis, and informs you how these work.
Nintendo Switch Online has released, and it's a bad deal. Here's what you can do to change Nintendo's product.


  1. I wonder what the special offers will entail. Maybe if you purchase a yearly subscription, you will receive 100 MyNintendo Gold coins to spend on games that you already own. While that does sound enticing, I'm only buying a subscription for the cloud-based backups and to continue playing Splatoon 2 and future games online.

    1. Nintendo's special offers are historically small discounts on games with small purchase prices, so I don't feel like that's worth paying attention to.

      (Oh, cool, maybe you'll get a dollar back.)

  2. I feel for owners of games like Splatoon 2, this is a necessity. Other than that, I'm thankful for a family membership because I don't want to pay $40 for me and my sister's subscription.

    1. The subscription pretty much is mandatory for Splatoon 2 and will be driven by Splatoon 2 fans... and then Super Smash Bros. for Switch.

      You could consider this, on top of the Octo Expansion, to be an additional Splatoon revenue stream.

    2. As of now, I see Splatoon 2 as Nintendo's most profitable game, because of the sponsored Splatfests alone. With even more content in the form of the Octo Expansion and now, Nintendo Switch Online, a dedicated Splatoon player could easily drop $80 alone just to play next year.

      I hope the Online service offers servers, like in Rocket League instead of leaving it to just peer-to-peer.

      You know, this ties in well to the new anti-consumerism practice being done by Nintendo, but hey! At least we have the GameCube Controller adapter.

    3. Weeelll we don't know how much money exchanges hands for the sponsored Splatfests.

      MK8 Deluxe might be the most profitable because the development resources and marketing were rather minimal, and look, it goes out and outsells the original.

      Kimishima claimed some amount of money was used to set up Nintendo Switch Online — how much and what it went to, we don't know. Servers? Development into getting those NES games ready for online?

      Obviously, they're investing in some kind of server (or Amazon's servers) for the cloud saves. Servers for online play? We dunno.


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