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Nintendo finally explains why it’s charging for the Nintendo Switch’s online service

Updated Apr 10th, 2017 12:50PM EDT
Nintendo Switch Games
Image: JUSTIN LANE/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

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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.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.

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