Want to challenge your friends to an online multiplayer battle on PS4 or Xbox One? You’ll have to pay. On earlier Nintendo consoles, however, the Japanese gaming company has always made its online services available for free. It was a great perk for gamers, but Nintendo announced back in January when the Switch was unveiled that the free ride was coming to an end. If Nintendo Switch users want to play against their friends online once the new service launches this fall, they’ll have to pay to play.
The change is disappointing, sure, but it’s tough to fault Nintendo when charging for online services is clearly the industry standard. Did Nintendo change its mind and decide to start changing players solely because rival companies like Sony and Microsoft do? We now finally have an answer.
Japanese gaming site Famitsu published a length interview with Nintendo executives Shinya Takahashi and Yoshiaki Koizumi a while back, and now Everything Nintendo has managed to transcribe it into English. It’s a great read for any and all Nintendo fans looking for insights into the development of the new Nintendo Switch console, and it also offers some indications of things to come.
One of the most interesting revelations from the interview focuses on why Nintendo decided to change its policy with the Switch and begin charging users for online services like multiplayer gaming.
“We decided to charge for the service because we are concerned with customer satisfaction,” Takahashi said. “We’ll be maintaining the online service and providing new services that we haven’t had up until now, and there are costs associated with those. We’d also like to maintain a stable playing experience and provide proper support. We are working to prepare all of the features until the service begins in the fall of 2017, and details on the service will be available at a later time.”
In a nutshell, Nintendo plans to really up its game when it debuts the new online services associated with the Nintendo Switch this fall… and all those new features are going to cost money to develop and maintain. It’s hardly a surprise, as we mentioned, but many players are dying for online features so they’ll probably be happy to pony up the cash.
The Nintendo Switch’s online services will launch this fall, and hopefully it’s a bit easier to actually buy a Switch console by then. In the meantime, your only choice is to pay a premium for the Nintendo Switch on Amazon.