<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Nintendo has finally pulled back the veil on the upcoming online service for the Switch. Like PSN and XBL, this service will give users access to neat features if they choose to pay for the subscription. Unlike those rival subscriptions, however, Nintendo’s option is far more affordable. As a result, Switch Online is a competitive slamdunk.</span>
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Before we get into Switch Online, let’s take a short look at how online networks have become so big in the console realm.
This new service is going to function very similarly to that of XBL and PSN, where users can pay for the premium membership to access features like an enhanced classic game collection, special discounts, and online multiplayer. Some have responded negatively to this announcement, insisting that Nintendo should not be going down this path. Well, considering that this all started with Xbox almost 20 years ago, it’s kind of hypocritical to jump on Nintendo’s back for doing it. The question is, why exactly is the company doing it?
Nintendo has taken a big step forward with the Switch. Unlike the Wii and Wii U, Nintendo decided to get the input of the development community to make the experience as simple and smooth as possible. Nintendo also decided to partner up with Nvidia, an industry leader. With the company’s expertise, they were able to create a very impressive piece of hardware—the world’s first hybrid console. The Switch isn’t some fun experiment, it’s a real contender.
The Nintendo Network gave the company some solid experience with running a large online ecosystem. As a result, it was much better prepared this time around and can move ahead further with Switch Online. Although, when you compare it to PC services like Steam, it kind of makes all three of these networks look bad. I can understand paying to access special features like free games and discounts, but paying for online multiplayer on top of your Internet bill just seems wrong. And that’s where Switch Online really takes the cake.
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<h3 style=”text-align: center;”><span style=”color: #ff0000;”><em>While it definitely bites that all three companies are charging for online, Nintendo’s pricing is hard to get mad at. </em></span></h3>
The whole reason why all three companies are charging for these services is because online functionality is very expensive. It takes a lot of resources to run servers of any kind, but that load is doubled when it comes to gaming as users need to be connected as quickly as possible with the least amount of latency. With that being the case, why is Nintendo’s option so much cheaper?
Some have come to the conclusion that the only reason it’s so cheap is because the experience is going to be incredibly basic compared to XBL and PSN. So, it would have been suicidal if Nintendo decided to pick a price closer to, or even the same as those services. The thing is—we don’t know exactly how the service is going to be yet. There will be a soft launch in the coming weeks, allowing Switch users to try an early version of the service before its 2018 launch. Only at that time will we get a solid idea of exactly what Nintendo intends to offer.
Nintendo picked an absolutely perfect price-point. With the highest option being a mere $20 annually, almost every Switch owner should be able to afford it. The only reason a person shouldn’t have the subscription is if their Internet service is poor. That annual free translates to a $1.66 a month, a relatively trivial sum. Compare that to the annual $60 ($5 per month) that PSN and XBL charge for, and it’s easy to see how competitive this pricing is. In all honesty, Sony and Microsoft should take a page out of Nintendo’s book in this regard. Other subscription services like Netflix and Spotify are incredibly popular because their pricing is considered to be fair. Switch Online definitely falls into this category.
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<h3 style=”text-align: center;”><span style=”color: #ff0000;”><em>Nintendo’s prices almost make Sony and Microsoft look a tad greedy.</em></span></h3>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Microsoft introduced the console world to a premium online service when it launched Xbox Live on the original Xbox back in 2002. Since then, it’s become a huge force in the industry, and a growing pillar for the Xbox brand. Sony followed suit with the PlayStation Network in 2006. It, too, has grown to become a pillar for Sony and a </span><a href=”http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-04-28-sonys-psn-is-making-more-money-than-all-of-nintendo”><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>huge source</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> of revenue for the company. With basically the entire world relying more and more on the Internet as the years go on, it’s no wonder why Nintendo is now making a push to also gain a solid position in this medium.</span>
Like XBL and PSN, the Switch Online service will no doubt only get better as time goes on. If the Switch continues selling like hotcakes, then the community is going to grow at a very rapid pace. User feedback should no doubt influence the direction that the service goes in, and should ultimately make it as robust as the others. Don’t put Nintendo down for getting into this business; commend it for taking the steps and pushing to modernize.
I always see people putting the company down for being a step behind the rest of the industry and constantly sticking to archaic hardware and ideas. Well, this is Nintendo bringing itself more in-line with the modern age. So, let’s support its efforts and push its service to be on-par with the others. This will ultimately make the Switch not just a better platform, but it just might also get third-party developers to really start taking the Nintendo community into serious consideration.
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<h3 style=”text-align: center;”><span style=”color: #ff0000;”><em>Third-party companies love taking advantage of powerful networks.
Switch Online just may convince them to take Nintendo more seriously. </em></span></h3>