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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Will KoopaTV's Family Group Upgrade to the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - No—at least, not unless something changes. ...And here's why.

Usually, Friday announcements are a sign that an organisation doesn't really have faith in how well-received their announcement will be. In this case, Nintendo made an unanticipated announcement at the back-end of another announcement on a Friday: At the end of their Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct that Nintendo did say was coming all the way back in September (and they also vaguely announced the existence of Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack), Nintendo announced the pricing and release date of Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack. It's available on October 25 for $50 a year for individuals and $80 a year for Family Groups, with the only available subscription term being 12 months. Here's the trailer that you can dislike, in Nintendo Switch Online video tradition:

You get access to a (slowly) growing library of Nintendo 64 titles, SEGA GENESIS titles, and the Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Happy Home Paradise DLC “at no additional cost.” (You can also get it by itself for a one-time purchase of $25.)

KoopaTV's Nintendo Switch Online Family Group currently costs $35 a year. Going from that to $80 a year is a steep increase, and a really unexpected one at that. So I asked around the KoopaTV staff if they wanted this. No one said yes. Therefore, we're not upgrading and we'll keep our basic plan. It's as simple as that. The additions to the service don't match the asking price. Not even close, really. I actually wrote in a comment before the price was announced that if the price jump was as large as $70 a year, we wouldn't go for that. ...$80 was beyond our imagination.

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack Family Membership one year twelve months price
What could be done to make this more appealing?

What would have made the Expansion Pack worth it? Perhaps if it focused on the ONLINE part of Nintendo Switch Online. Paying another $45 to play... otherwise widely available (on the Wii or Wii U or 3DS remakes) Nintendo 64 games that are mostly outclassed by their Switch counterparts doesn't improve the Switch's online functionality, which should be what the “membership option at a higher price tier with upgraded services” that a Nintendo investor was asking about that I actually endorsed would have involved. And I don't even mean that Nintendo creates dedicated servers for NSO+EP payers—that wouldn't solve people's problems of having a trashy Internet connection to begin with.

But the Nintendo Switch is still missing basic online functionality that even the Wii had—namely, communication features. You could send mail to any of your Wii system friends, and the Wii U (and later the 3DS) of course had Miiverse, where you could even make new friends and exchange private messages. Easily if you were on a Wii U, and with some risk if you were on a 3DS due to friend code sharing being forbidden.

If Nintendo Switch Online gave basic access to a Miiverse sequel (say, with some amount of posting restrictions like Miiverse later had), and Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack gave access to a better level of Miiverse service (unrestricted, maybe with exclusive communities or something), that would make the whole package significantly more interesting and worth it. It'd also be an intriguing social experiment on how people would behave when they're paying for access to a forum—and without the deception of something like Era Clear.

As for what this means to you, the reader? Round 40 of the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program ends at the end of October 2021, with the prize being a one-year membership to our Nintendo Switch Online Family Group. When the prize was announced, there wasn't any knowledge of an upcoming Expansion Pack, and this prize will not include the Expansion Pack features unless something happens in-between now and the end of one year from now where all of a sudden we find investing in it to be worth it. I don't think we will reach a point where “Make the prize more appealing to people” will be considered worth it all by itself.

Ludwig will admit in this footer that the Expansion Pack offering GameCube games would be another story, because multiplayer online Kirby Air Ride would be worth $80 by itself without having that experience replicated on current-gen consoles already. Perhaps it would be worth that price even on a subscription basis. How do YOU feel about the Expansion Pack? Are you going to subscribe to it? Or will you try to convince KoopaTV's staff it's worth it in the comments section?

Theoretically, Paper Mario is high enough quality to warrant a subscription just by itself... and it's out on the Nintendo 64 service as of December 2021.
Don't forget that there are Genesis games as part of this! ...Well, no one really cares.


  1. I'm still considering the individual plan, basically for Banjo Kazooie alone. $50 a year sounds high but it's less than 5 bucks a month.

    But yeah, I hadn't realized about the family plan, that got hit a lot worse. I hope Nintendo stops being clueless about online stuff someday...

    1. The only N64 game there that I think is better than what's available today is the first Paper Mario... and that's available for a one-time $10 purchase on the previous system.

      It's not even multiplayer, of course, which makes the whole "Online" part... not true.

  2. Compared to Sony's and Microsoft's services, this price is egregious. Sony's PS Plus is normally $60 per year and offers a decent selection of 3 or 4 games each month. Additionally, it usually goes on sale for $40 in the summer and holiday season. The Xbox Game Pass is $10 a month, but at least it offers a large collection of 100+ games and adds new ones frequently. Lastly, Sega Genesis Classics contains all the Genesis games in the Expansion Pass, and it can be easily obtained for $30 on the other consoles.

    1. If you do break it out on a monthly basis, the $50 a year for the Expansion Pack looks like a "reasonable" $4.16 a month. (Of course, you do pay all of it in one sitting, which makes a monthly payment view really a fantasy.)

      It's less that the price is egregious and more the lack of service (at that price) is egregious.

    2. OK real talk, I wasn't actually aware that monthly payments weren't an option...this might change things, here...

    3. Yeah, monthly payments are an option if you do a monthly plan—and normal NSO has a monthly plan.
      But NSO+EP is yearly only, so...


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