In this series of end-of-year features, we're summing up some of 2019's biggest talking points.
When the Switch was released in 2017, Nintendo made its online services entirely free – positioning the system as the odd one out when compared to the PS4 and Xbox One, both of which require subscription services in order to run online games. However, Nintendo's plan was always to introduce a paid-for service, and that arrived in the form of Nintendo Switch Online – a cheaper option than what Sony and Microsoft offer, but one which arguably has fewer goodies in store for players.
While Nintendo's rivals offer free games to subscribers on a monthly basis, Nintendo had, up until this year, only given players access to a selection of NES titles. Perfectly emulated and supported by save states and a rewind function, these games were fun, but hardly a stunning reward for taking out an online sub. In 2019, Nintendo expanded its offering by adding SNES games – a welcome step, given that many of the console's best titles comfortably eclipse the NES' top efforts.
Access to the likes of Super Metroid, Zelda: Link to the Past, Super Mario World, F-Zero and Super Mario Kart will have tempted many of those Switch owners who had held off taking out a sub, and could well have committed others who were considering ending theirs. However, we hope Nintendo doesn't leave it there; given that the Virtual Console is now a thing of the past, it would be good to see Nintendo Switch Online expand to cover other classic systems, such as the Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, N64 and perhaps even the GameCube.
Of course, games are one thing – Nintendo Switch Online has other functions, with online play and cloud saves being perhaps the most important. Given that Nintendo is now gaining revenue from this service, it would be reasonable to expect the company to invest some cash in adding in more functionality. We'd like to see the cloud save system get some tweaks, especially now the Switch Lite is available; as those swapping between two Switch consoles will attest, the current cloud save setup is far from elegant.
Are you happy with the state of Nintendo Switch Online in 2019? Would you like to see more systems added, or are you keen for better features and functions? Let us know with a comment.
Having just bought my Switch (Lite) I have no desire to subscribe to the online service.
As much as I love the NES and SNES games from my childhood, I already have them owned through virtual console.
However if there were N64 or more impressively GC games, then I might snap at a subscription.
I really hope they improve the service but Nintendo has dragged their feet on online stuff for years so Im not gonna even think about holding my breath.
There are still hackers/cheaters, the connection issues don't seem to be improved, and it's still "paying for P2P," so I don't buy Nintendo's line that "It will make sense" or "It's the only option" or whatever malarkey.
Nintendo fans so entitled. This service costs half as much and gives you access to great nes and snes games that you more than likely wouldnt play anyway. Plus you get laggy internet, no voice chat, a app that you can use your phone with, no online messaging. Take that game pass and gold services.
I just want Gamecube games on the Switch.
Switch Online needs a messaging system. For the love of Mario...
I think it's reasonable value for what you get as it stands, delighted with the SNES titles and looking forward to more. I wouldn't at all be surprised to see more free games in the vein of Tetris in 2020, maybe Mario Tennis ?
Being able to buy the classic games ala carte virtual console style and transferring our previously purchased VC to the switch would be even better. They could at least give the option. No reason to buy an online sub if you don't play online or even have a connection at all. Those who sub would have everything while those who don't can have a self curated game collection.
The games are supposed to be the bonus. Instead they are taking attention away from the fact that the Online 'service' isn't actually providing much of anything.
It's laughably more than a decade behind lacking even basic functionality. Forget adding retro games, how about adding actual functions like being able to message friends and native voice chat.
Got a Switch this Xmas and tried out the 7 day trial and to be honest while the games are fantastic especially the SNES they are games i've played a lot of times now, the only worth really i got from the trial was from Surprise Trade on Pokemon. I do plan on getting Splatoon 2 so i will Sub i suppose but right now it needs to do more, i will say the price though is fantastic especially compared to PS Plus.
Hopefully in the future we will see GB, GBA and N64 games added, Nintendo are sitting on so much amazing stuff so i wish they would give me more options to play them.
As a virtual console service, NSO is made to look silly by the Wii VC. Nintendo has never come close to the same quality of library, but this is sillier than usual. I can't even play Ocarina of Time, which is one I could play on the Wii, Wii U, or 3DS. Or GameCube for that matter.
As an online service, it lacks basic functionality and several key online Nintendo games like Mario Maker and Smash Bros. at times are barely functional because of the inadequacy of the netcode.
But when push comes to shove I'll buy it anyway so I can play Smash Bros. and Mario Kart and Mario Maker.
I like the cloud saves. Having hundred of hours of Zelda, Skyrim, The Witcher and other games backed up is a sigh of relief. The NES and SNES games are great. That being said, native voice chat is a no-brainer and I don't understand why it wasn't implemented from the beginning. The online is laggy in some games and could use a boost and thirdly, Nintendo should really consider some type of Gamepass for at least their first-party games. I don't expect brand new titles or anything but 6 month to a year old titles would be a nice boost. I would gladly pay a higher fee for monthly access to a couple of big budget games. As for now, at $20 the value for a year of Nintendo Switch Online is pretty fair. In the future, I hope to see more though.
Good Post. I really hope staff from Nintendo read these sorts of comments and take on board what their fans want.
I do have Nintendo switch online but it kind of came free with Super Mario maker (or as good as).
The Snes games are great but I think it'll take a little more than that to get me to renew again.
@GameOtaku its a shame people who have vc games cant transfer them to switch
Did Nintendo Online take a step forward?
Must of missed it.
Seriously though, I still don't think it is worth its price to me. Power to those who think it is worth it though.
Would gladly pay 60€ a year if we actually got games from this century like, I don’t know, it doesn’t have to be Super Mario Odyssey but things like Captain Toad or Tropical Freeze would make it so much more appealing.
It'll be a few months before I cave and get a NSO sub. I have no need to back up games currently (not a lot of save data yet), don't play online much, and...while the retro games are nice, I currently have other ways to play them through the VC on older consoles.
A voice chat service is a must IMO. I understand why Nintendo, as a company who generally tries to target all ages, would be reluctant to implement it freely. Why not lock access to it behind parental controls?
I also really wish there was another way to have save data backups besides locking them behind a sub. I really don't think it's a bad idea for them to implement a local backup option. Heck, even the 3DS had this.
For the price, it's not a terrible service. But it could offer so much more and definitely needs improvement.
The solution is easy. Nintendo have more than enough money to sort it out. But they are greedy so won't upgrade the online service. Even with lots of fans complaining. The switch is powerful enough to emulate up to gamecube. Its funny, because the wii and wii u offered more classic games. So nintendo can do it, but wont. They seem tobe holding the Switch and online service back, but for no reason.
It kind of annoys me seeing articles like these and I see that they almost always never talk about things which I feel are the most important reasons for any paid online service. First of all, if you are paying for it, it is perfectly reasonable to expect a decent online service! Not the kind of laggy crap you find in even huge AAA console-selling great games like Smash Ultimate. Secondly, the whole point of online gaming is actually engaging with people you meet online. How do you do that when there is no way to actually communicate with people you meet online?? And then to make matters worse, the only thing that seemed like a consolation which is the Online Game Invites, but no Nintendo games support it. But somehow every time you see articles like these or interviews with top Nintendo personalities, you never see them bring up these fundamental issues. To me, it's really annoying.
"Perfectly emulated" for NES and SNES is highly debatable, especially regarding input lag. No way for me to play Dr Mario like it should be.
It it still acceptable though to play many games online with friends for the price of NSO.
Simply put, NSO is offering an antique service for reasonable money. I barely play any of the free games. I had way more online fun with my PS3 back in the day. The only benefit that I appreciate is cloud saves, otherwise it's meh.
I didn't resubscribe this year. The online is terrible. Getting a PS4 really opened my eyes to this.
Tetris 99 is worth the $1.66 a month in and of itself. Everything else is a bonus, as far as I’m concerned.
Definitely would love some Ocarina of Time and/or Windwaker to minimize the pain of waiting for BotW 2....
@charlieonholiday Storage space(and the fact GC games were disk based) make me suspect it's very unlikely to see a "Gamecube Online Service" app since the size it would take on storage would bloat up massively even at just something like 4 games unless it had it's own separate "download and install" menu and thus only "installs" the games you actually download.
N64 being on less heavy cartridges however feels like it's still within the realm of possibilities however. Ditto the GB/GBC/GBA era. I don't know for anything DS-grade however(especially with the dual screen setup which could -sort- of function on WiiU thanks to the gamepad but is a whole other deal on single-screen Switch).
Since these games are NOT streamed, the app literally is a package deal kind of thing where downloading it means you've basically downloaded -all- of the games on your console as far as I can tell.
@FoxMcCloud I hear you but they certainly feel unlikely to happen in an Online Service fashion unless they are individual download if they come to that... by which point they might as well just remake them(again).
Since so far NES and SNES apps are, well, apps of their own, that means that ALL games on them is a whole package deal that is downloaded in it's entirety when the app is downloaded, and automatically added to via updates where you automatically download the newer games added instead of choosing which one to install or not.
To add GC games to the forumla would mean, well, going with a different formula altogether due to their much greater file sizes I suspect.
@thesilverbrick so true. I was thinking.... what about a Dr. Mario, Wario's Woods or Yoshi's Cookie 99? Or something in that direction.
I’m completely satisfied with the service
@m8e3point1415 NES was definitely "meh" for me I'll admit , though the fact I still regularly play Smash Bros and now Pokemon(I half-suspect Pokemon Home will be rolled into the Online Service subscription for Switch players once it releases. perhaps a separate purchase only for people who exclusively play Pokemon Go on their phones) mean I still have a use.
The NES app only began to get interesting to me as a fan of RPGs with them -finally- adding the likes of Crystalis to it. Otherwise it was a lot of games, but almost exclusively ones from genres I have little interest into in NES era stuff.
The SNES app, even if it meant the end of monthly updates(which... tbh i don't miss that much with how much was clearly "filler grade" on the NES app), was a much much better fit for me at least thankfully. The platformers are actually the era I care for at all from the genre, there was finally RPG representation right off the box(first with Breath of Fire 1, and now with BoF2 recently added too) ontop of some adventure games like ALttP and their ilks like Super Metroid which I've begun playing for the first time through that release.
I'm less fond of the Star Fox games, but that's mostly because of how badly THAT early 3D tech has aged in today's day and age ^^;
@Ludovsky Damn, you've got a point there.... It wouldn't be a big problem for n64, but GC? But stil..... Ocarina of Time?
@Ludovsky @Don @Krazzar The GC also has analog shoulder buttons. So the Joy-cons and pro controller won’t work with many GC games.
GBA games should be a no-brainer. The Switch Lite is already like a giant GBA.
@Ludovsky GameCube games are between 1.5gb and 3gb large, if I remember correctly, they were on mini-disks after all. That's not a huge amount of data. Being on disks didn't hamper efforts to rip the data for emulation one bit. Nintendo probably has masters on even older media than mini-disks.
Nintendo isn't working on porting N64 and GC games to the Switch because they don't have to and it doesn't make them money. That means I'm stuck playing those games on N64, GameCube, Wii, PC, and my phone.
For a subscription model to work, you need to continue to add content. T99 is great (supported with many updates), but it won’t always be enough. New games and content need to be added. Just like Netflix, Prime, and Hulu continue to add content (and hopefully Disney+).
I’ve got all the S/NES games on my minis already so I’m pretty much only using it for Pokémon Sword atm.
If they can integrate Home and Bank well, that’d be great...
@FoxMcCloud Ooh, I could totally picture Ocarina of Time and Makora's Mask.
Though having played OoT on WiiU again recently... that 3D and framerate didn't age super well either, especially on a larger screen ^^;
Though perhaps it might fare better in handheld mode. But then again by that point... why rereleases the original when there's still the very recent 3DS remakes that they could make a likely much better received port instead?
But that would mean something akin to a brand new release and thus outside of the spirit of a "N64 app".
Honestly I think the reason we shouldn't expect one too soon might indeed be that ultimately a lot of the games that'd be worth it have either already been remade(and thus might be better served by a further polished new remake/etc) or in IP hell(like Goldeneye which would be a mess just to get the rights from).
Which feels like it'd lead the app to be primarily populated by mostly side-titles and little known third parties releases in a way that would ultimately most likely make it into another NES App worth of mainly "filler" titles with little "must-have" releases that would warrant downloading the app at all.
The SNES app worked in comparison I suspect exactly because they focused on quality and diversity of genre rather than quantity. However, again said, with N64 both aspects might potentially be hard for them to group together in a satisfying collection that'd make the app worth it.
It might still happen(some titles like Mario 64 could still make a solid foundation to work from, and just perhaps they could still end up releasing the original Ocarina and Majorah Zelda games, perhaps even original Smash Bros for nostalgia sake even if I suspect the latest releases might just make the OG version feel negatively dated by compariso).
But I do feel it's unlikely to a degree due to the need to get a decent starting collection size AND enough quality title in it to attract people's eyes?
Plus there's the issue(that the current selection of the NES app reflect) that the N64 as a console was much less diverse in term of represented genres. It's got good shooters but those were primarily third parties(who might simply release a HD rerelease of their own rather than give away the rights to nintendo for this collection) and some other action genres, but RPGs for example were almost entirely inexistant on N64 unlike it's SNES predecessor.
So an N64 app for example is one that is almost assured to be bereft of interesting titles for RPG fans, for example.
To a degree it's why I wonder if GB/GBC/GBA apps are more likely. Heck, thinking about it and the inclusion of Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow/Gold/Silver/Crystal on 3DS' eshop and their support for Pokemon Bank.... if Nintendo REALLY wanted to pull off an utter power move it would be to include all these GB-to-GBA era Pokemon games on a gameboy app and have them get integrated support with Pokemon Home(since after all a big deal of the NES/SNES app is their nontraditional support of online multiplayer unlike previous virtual console releases).
I don't predict it will happen, but this possibility alone make me feel they could see more potential in "Online Service" apps for titles of their previous handhelds(which had both very diverse environments in term of covered titles and genres, with many quality titles) than N64 neccessarily being the assured next classic console collection app.
I subscribed first year with a family plan.
Re-subscribed in someone else’s family plan for 5 pounds for the year. Nearly 0.42p per month. It’s a bargain
The retro games are ok but that’s not really the point, they really need to move to a game pass subscription model and stop living in the past.
@Fandabidozi Honestly I suspect they will(integrate Home in the Online Service. I can't say for Bank).
In fact the precedent of the "classic" Gen 1 and Gen 2 titles with Bank support as 3DS "virtual console" eshop releases make me wonder if that might not be a surprise they have waiting for us later in 2020-2021.
Because honestly it could be a real power move of them if the future classic console apps were, instead of an hypothetical N64 one, apps for the GB/GBC/GBA era and somehow included classic Pokemon games on them with Pokemon Home support built-in(which would feel like a stretch... but how much of a stretch is it when the NES/SNES app already supports online multiplayer now I wonder?).
(and the bemused cynic in me can't help but to think a GBA-era rerelease of Ruby and Saphire would be a perfect way for Game Freak to further bury the corpse of Mega-Evolutions as something that ever existed outside of XY's Kalos region but that's getting ahead of everything when this is pure speculation/musing still).
@Ludovsky I would not like to see a simple port for OoT. I realize my memories are far better than it actualy was .... But a updated port of the 3ds version in 1080p would be great! Better textures, framerate and quality of life updates.... I would LOVE that!
Honestly I don't see what all the complaining is about. For the price it works well enough for me. All I really use it for is cloud backups since I use both the original and Swich Lite, as well as the occasional online game. The SNES and NES apps are fine but I never considered that a real draw. It isn't anything compared to Xbox Game Pass but then again that is completely different deal.
Gamecube games should indeed be on the eshop...but a bunch of gamecube games with online for a $20 subscription? Thats never gonna happen.
@EVIL-C I can't ever see that sitting easily with Nintendo's family first philosophy.
Must've been a super tiny step.
@PBandSmelly Pretty much. The Switch's storage limit alone make A "GC online app" almost impossible. They'd have to produce a completely different structure again to distribute them
@FoxMcCloud that could be cool but would likely be beyond the scope of an Online service subscription.
As brand new, individual purchases, traditional releases sure. But unlikely to be shuffled into any app, likely on file sizes alone.
I would like the ability to message a friend. That is all that is missing to me.
It really would be awesome if they could add trophies. And allow the people who don't want them to shut them off. But let it be an option for people like me. Come on.
@Ludovsky True, my imagination ran wild....
@sixrings considering every single one of these services is highly anti-consumer, I'm not really sure what your argument here is. Regardless of the quality of the service, everyone lost the right to complain when gamers let us all down in 2002 with Xbox Live. That's the problem, not the quality of one anti-consumer service when compared to another. And Gamepass? If you support that on any level you should have your gaming privileges revoked. It's 2002 again, this time don't fail.
Our sub lapsed in October and I haven't really been compelled to renew. Really hope they make some strides in 2020.
I just want to play Skies of Arcadia Legends again.
@Alztru You bring up a great point. I think they avoid asking the more difficult questions in order to maintain access to those who work for a particular company in the future.
There needs to be an option to buy some of those games. It is nice to know that you can own, even if it is digital. Right now I am not tempted until I have an option to buy each game. The Switch online seems to be better as a NEO GEO system.
The Switch has a lame paid for online service that offers just 10% of what the Wii U provided for free, which was built by EA.
I don’t think they’d do a GameCube one due to how big the size would eventually get. Hopefully they find a way to not fill up our microSDs.
@Nintyfan You don’t know anything about Game Pass if you think it’s anti-consumer.
Only renewed cos Ninty finally added some more games.
Got a family pack but struggling to get my kids access as they're too young for Nintendo accounts. Have set up a family plan but the switch won't recognize them.
Typical Nintendo seemingly overcomplicating things.
I think 20usd a year is a bit rich to unlock the internet that I bought off my internet service provider. The ancient games are not a draw for me, especially because you have to connect to the internet to verify your account in order to play sometimes, destroying the portability. This makes it the most inconvenient and expensive way to emulate a rom. I am totally fine with the absence of voice-chat or the use of a smartphone app. It is obvious to me that this protects children and parents because only kids with a smartphone can use it, and if they have a phone, their parents don't mind them talking to people. It also protects Nintendo from tabloid tales in the press about how children can become victims of harassment, stalking, bullying or hate crimes because of such a feature.
@MysteryCupofJoe - it's true, switch has quite a good Neo-Geo virtual console. Think the reason we can't have to virtual console on switch boils down to the fact that most people have bought the games they want and they are tied to an account on Wii, Wii U or 3DS. It hard to justify selling them again- so they chose to rent them!
It’s so funny people keep saying “if it offered N64 or GC games instead of NES & SNES” LOL, screw that. Get on PSN & XBL level and offer use current gen games. Might as well shoot for the moon if you’re going to make requests.
@Moistnado You know how if you had the WII VC games then you would get a discount on the WII U VC games? If they offer that on the Switch then a lot of people will be on board (even those that bought the games twice). Either that or give us a SEGA Classics-like collection. Games that go from the NES/SNES era to the GBA/DS era.
The thing is, I think it's perfectly fine for 20 dollars a year. I think they need to raise the price and dump a whole load of new features that is more in line with what almost everyone has been asking for.
-More retro support - N64, Gamecube, Game Boy and GBA.
-Built in messaging and voice chat
-Party support in and outside of games
-More free online games like Tetris 99
But you can tie your accounts together!
I hope Nintendo does add more features soon.
@Electric-Dreams Yeah, I can't either. I'm just expressing my #1 most wanted feature for NSO. I'm a paying Adult; (Nintendo) stop treating me like a 4 year old.
Tetris and SNES game’s are certainly a step forward but not a big one. They need to make much bigger steps forward to impress with this ‘service’.
@DannyBoi It might be powerful enough to emulate up to Gamecube / Wii... but how well, and which titles. Those two consoles are notorious for having emulation requirements vary incredibly across their library. For example, the Metroid Prime games only recently became playable on even the highest tier computers due to the issues with how GC/Wii games compile shaders on the fly unlike modern hardware. Dolphin has taken decades to solve many of the challenges involved with emulating those two systems, and they still have work to do. While some games work fine with a vanilla emulator(Most of the Mario platformers notably), stuff like Twilight Princess, Xenoblade, Prime, F-Zero GX has quirks that can easily kill emulators without specifically designing features to optimize them, etc. I'd imagine some games can certainly run on Switch, but not the full library of GC/Wii games you'd want.
When it comes to legacy content support, nothing can beat the Wii's eShop channel. A shame Nintendo never actually improved in this area
Nintendo probably won't add N64, GameCube, etc. titles on the service as they can remaster those and release each of those for $20-$40. GB/GBC and GBA might be possible though.
But as many point out, they could potentially charge more to provide a more competitive service in terms of the actual online play. Also, the only special offers NA users have got till now are Tetris 99 and discounted vouchers for a couple of months. They need to do something about that.
@MysteryCupofJoe I'd be happy with both of those options. Although Nintendo might get a few court cases on their hands for giving people half price access to something they already paid for. Would be better than the current situation though, I'd pay again just to get certain games on my switch.
Wouldn't mind Wii games. Missed out on the wii era.
@GameOtaku true, and yet- they don't let you own your back catalogue of purchased legacy content on switch.
How did it take a step forward?
I would call adding SNES library the smallest step possible. Not forward. More of a sidestep.
I'm not hating, I just want Nintendo to catch up to 2013.
I think the GameBoy games were the biggest digital sellers on 3DS so we should expect them soon hopefully.
I love Mega Evolution 😃
@Gwynbleidd those people are busy telling people in the other thread that if they took care of their stuff they would never have gotten joy con drift
not much of a step forward if you ask me
“ Regardless of the quality of the service, everyone lost the right to complain when gamers let us all down in 2002 with Xbox Live.”
This makes no sense. How did ‘everyone’ lose any right to complain because of what ‘gamers’ did or didn’t do in 2002. Define ‘gamers’. Who are ‘gamers?’ What about people who didn’t sign up in 2002? What about people who weren’t old enough? How does what someone did in 2002 relate to a different persons opinion of a different product in 2019?
No sorry, this makes no sense whatsoever.
“That's the problem, not the quality of one anti-consumer service when compared to another”
Actually the quality of the services is completely relevant. Even if you regard them as anti-consumer it’s still possible for one anti-consumer service to be worse (or more ‘anti-Consumer’).
“And Gamepass? If you support that on any level you should have your gaming privileges revoked”
Given that many consumers and publishers are happy with the model, this doesn’t make sense either. Thankfully, ‘gaming privileges’ are not yours to distribute.
You’re right! It seems they actually are the same person. Wow.
😁 Don’t give them any ideas
Am I happy with Nintendo Switch Online? Allow me to answer that with a question. Why would I be happy with paying for what was previously free on Wii U, Wii, 3DS, and DS?
While I'm a Nintendo fan, I'm also a PC gamer, so I hold the dislike to paying to play online multiplayer in games I buy opinion very strongly. Right now, I'm only paying for it to play with friends online.
Will admit, the NES and SNES Netflix-style service is nice, however it can be its own paid service that doesn't touch online multiplayer.
Sorry, if I sound rather negative. Paying to play online in games I already bought is the only thing I don't like about Switch to be honest.
Yeah I don't agree it was a step forward, besides the introduction of SNES titles (which at the same time they decided to announce that there would not be a schedule of when to even expect games anymore which almost discounts the whole time). They need to work on the infrastructure, there is so much more they could do they should reinvest the money going into it to help make it better. Only reason I have it is due to the prime deal, and don't plan to renew without some stuff being ironed out and definitely would like to see more of a return to a schedule of games (it's not like there isn't a library out there to use).
@GameOtaku that would have been lovely. with nintendo having an account system now it would have been nice to expand the virtual console service rather than scrap it. The wii was great in terms of its legacy support, however without an account system everything including funds were tied to the system itself so it wasnt exactly future proofed.
But now you can tie your 3ds and Wiiu accounts to switch so going forward that shouldn't be a problem. I'd love to see a unified VC program with the rentals for those subscribe but at least you'd have the option to own games. Heaven forbid they restart the classic games again on switch 2 or whatever.
Switch Online, while interesting becomes bored fast, as it feels like a selected memory-walk through the 80's and 90's. Hopefully, BIG changes ahead when they take it down for Jan. 2020 version upgrade that is not "stability." Did they fire the team and hire no one else for the Nintendo phone app....?
That's because their online has been free for ages then they decided to charge for it, now rather than see it as a bonus they got it for free for so long, and now even though there is a charge, it's a pretty fair one considering what you get, the entitled brigade will still moan their heads off.
@johnvboy when I pay for online my number one priority is things like no lag, native voice chat, messaging, and friend invites. All of those things are highly questionable on switch. Instead of addressing those issues Nintendo seemingly hands us NES and SNES games to distract us from the fact that the online gaming sucks.
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