|Launch date||September 18, 2018|
|Members||Over 26 million (as of September 2020)|
Nintendo Switch Online (colloquially known as NSO) is a suite of features on the Nintendo Switch video game console requiring purchase of a subscription. Nintendo Switch Online features include online multiplayer, cloud saving, voice chat, access to a library of Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) games, as well as other promotions and offers. Following a period where some of its features were available to all users at no charge, the subscription service officially launched on September 18, 2018.
The Nintendo Switch was formally announced in January 2017, with its release on March 3, 2017. Nintendo stated in its pre-release announcements that the system would eventually require purchase of a paid "online service", but that they would be available to all users at no charge until the service launched. Features announced included a companion smartphone app, as well as access to a free Nintendo Entertainment System game per-month. The service was initially planned for late 2017. By June 2017, Nintendo pushed back the service's release until 2018, but did establish the pricing plans for the service, with an average annual price of US$20, depending on region. Then-Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé explained that the delays were to ensure that the service was "world-class", and had enough of its announced functionality available on-launch to justify its cost. Nintendo aimed for a lower price point in comparison to PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold, as the service does not include the same range of features as these subscription services provide. Then-Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima stated that the price point was a subject of importance in designing the Switch's online services, and that regardless of what competitors were doing, "it's a matter of getting our content to the consumer at a price point that would make them happy, and then we're willing to look at what else we can do going forward."
The Nintendo Switch Online service was launched on September 18, 2018. A Nintendo Direct two days before the release detailed the full set of features that would be part of the Online service, including a larger and persistent library of NES games for subscribers (with 20 available on launch, and more to be added on an ongoing basis), as well as cloud save support. The initial launch covered 43 markets, with more markets expected to follow later.
In September 2018, Nintendo Switch consoles imported to China started experiencing connectivity issues there, due to the Nintendo Switch Online service using Google's servers, which are blocked in China.
By December 31, 2018, approximately three months after its launch, the service had gained more than eight million subscribers. Nintendo reported in late-April 2019 that the service had 9.8 million subscribers. The service reached over 10 million subscribers by July 2019, and over 15 million by January 2020. The service had reached over 26 million members by September 2020.
The Nintendo Switch Online Smartphone App is a Console Companion application developed and published by Nintendo for use along side the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Online services. Released on July 21, 2017 on iOS and Android (operating system) the app features voice chat and a slew of "Game-Specific Services." Currently the app supports Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, Mario Tennis Aces, Nintendo Entertainment System (Nintendo Switch Online), Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and most recently Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Nintendo Switch Online is required to access online multiplayer on the majority of titles. Some free-to-play multiplayer games, such as Fortnite Battle Royale and Warframe, are exempt from this requirement, and can be played online freely without a subscription.
Cloud storage allows save data for many games to be synchronized online, so it can be recovered if the user must move their Nintendo Account to a different Switch console or if they use multiple consoles. The feature is not supported for some games including those with certain forms of online functionality such as item trading and competitive rankings, citing concerns surrounding the possibility of abuse that could "unfairly affect" gameplay.
Users will lose access to their cloud saves should they allow their subscription to lapse, though there is a grace period of six months to renew the subscription and recover them before they are purged.
According to the list below, there are currently 52 games which do not support cloud save functionality.
|Asphalt 9: Legends|
|Bass Pro Shops: The Strike - Championship Edition|
|Blade II - The Return of Evil|
|Cabela's: The Hunt - Championship Edition|
|Color Zen Kids|
|Daemon X Machina|
|Dark Souls: Remastered|
|Dawn of the Breakers|
|Dead by Daylight|
|Eternal Card Game|
|Fortnite Battle Royale|
|Gems of War|
|Jumanji: The Video Game|
|The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game|
|Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition|
|Miniature - The Story Puzzle|
|Modern Combat Blackout|
|NBA 2K Playgrounds 2|
|New Super Lucky's Tale|
|No Time to Relax|
|Pixel Devil and the Broken Cartridge|
|Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!|
|Pokémon Sword and Shield|
|The Raven Remastered|
|Robbie Swifthand and the Orb of Mysteries|
|Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission|
|Taimumari: Complete Edition|
|The Town of Light|
|Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions|
|Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution|
Users can voice chat through the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app on smartphones. Voice chat functionality is not available natively through the Switch console; Fils-Aimé justified the decision by explaining that "Nintendo's approach is to do things differently. We have a much different suite of experiences than our competitors offer, and we do that in a different way. This creates a sort of yin and yang for our consumers. They're excited about cloud saves and legacy content but wish we might deliver voice chat a different way, for example."
Past Nintendo consoles (including the Wii, Wii U, and the Nintendo 3DS family) with online functionality had offered games from Nintendo's older console libraries through the Virtual Console. But they would not use this for the Nintendo Switch. Instead, Switch Online subscribers can access Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) apps, both which feature a persistent and expanding library of classic titles from the systems. Access to the games are available as long as the user has an active subscription, and a user must connect to the internet at least once a week to continue to access the titles while offline. Games with multiplayer modes support both local and online play; online play functionality is a first for NES and SNES games.
Certain NES games released on the service beginning in October 2018 also have an alternative version labeled "SP" ("Extra" in some regions) which either starts the player near the end of the game or starts the game with the maximum amount of items and lives. Most of the games released in both the Americas and PAL territories are the original NTSC-U versions, including their North American naming and 60 Hz support. The Western NES variant of the software is available in South Korea, while the Japanese Family Computer variant is available in Hong Kong.
During its first year, the Online service provided a new batch of NES games on a monthly basis. However, with the addition of SNES titles in September 2019, Nintendo stated that new NES and SNES games would no longer be made available on a regular schedule though would continue to expand both libraries over time.
The service is home to several titles that were not available on the Virtual Console including Crystalis, Journey to Silius, Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics and Star Fox 2. Some games saw their first re-release in any form since their original debut such as Pro Wrestling,Vice: Project Doom, and Stunt Race FX. The service also marks the first ever North American release of the SNES games Pop'n TwinBee, Smash Tennis, and Mario's Super Picross.
With the launch of the Nintendo Switch Online service on September 19, 2018, NES games were made available with 20 titles available at launch. Subscribers can access them through a dedicated app. As of September 23, 2020, games available include:
|September 19, 2018||Balloon Fight||Nintendo|
|Double Dragon||Arc System Works|
|The Legend of Zelda[A]||Nintendo|
|River City Ransom||Arc System Works|
|Super Mario Bros.||Nintendo|
|Super Mario Bros. 3||Nintendo|
|Tecmo Bowl||Koei Tecmo|
|October 10, 2018||The Legend of Zelda SP||Nintendo|
|NES Open Tournament Golf||Nintendo|
|Solomon's Key||Koei Tecmo|
|Super Dodge Ball||Arc System Works|
|November 14, 2018||Gradius SP (Stage 5)||Konami|
|Mighty Bomb Jack||Koei Tecmo|
|NES Open Tournament Golf SP||Nintendo|
|December 12, 2018||Adventures of Lolo||HAL Laboratory|
|Adventures of Lolo 2||HAL Laboratory|
|Dr. Mario SP||Nintendo|
|Metroid SP (Ridley battle)||Nintendo|
|Ninja Gaiden||Koei Tecmo|
|January 16, 2019||Blaster Master||Sunsoft|
|Ghosts'n Goblins SP||Capcom|
|Joy Mech Fight||Nintendo|
|Ninja Gaiden SP||Koei Tecmo|
|Zelda II: The Adventure of Link[A]||Nintendo|
|February 13, 2019||Blaster Master SP||Sunsoft|
|Metroid SP (Mother Brain battle)||Nintendo|
|Super Mario Bros. 2[B]||Nintendo|
|Tsuppari Oozumou||Koei Tecmo|
|March 13, 2019||Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light||Nintendo|
|Kirby's Adventure SP||Nintendo|
|Yie Ar Kung-Fu||Konami|
|Zelda II: The Adventure of Link SP||Nintendo|
|April 10, 2019||Kid Icarus SP||Nintendo|
|Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels[C][D]||Nintendo|
|May 15, 2019||Clu Clu Land||Nintendo|
|Clu Clu Land: Welcome to New Cluclu Land[E]||Nintendo|
|Donkey Kong Jr.||Nintendo|
|Star Soldier SP||Konami|
|June 12, 2019||City Connection||City Connection|
|Double Dragon II: The Revenge||Arc System Works|
|July 17, 2019||Donkey Kong 3||Nintendo|
|Mighty Bomb Jack SP||Koei Tecmo|
|August 21, 2019||Downtown Nekketsu K?shinkyoku: Soreyuke Daiund?kai||Arc System Works|
|Gradius SP (Second loop)||Konami|
|Kung Fu Heroes||Culture Brain Excel|
|Vice: Project Doom||Sega||[F]|
|December 12, 2019||Crystalis||SNK||[G]|
|Journey to Silius||Sunsoft||[H]|
|February 19, 2020||Atlantis no Nazo||Sunsoft|
|Eliminator Boat Duel||Piko Interactive|
|Shadow of the Ninja||Natsume|
|April 20, 2020||Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light SP||Nintendo|
|Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light SP 2||Nintendo|
|May 20, 2020||Rygar||Koei Tecmo|
|July 15, 2020||The Immortal||Piko Interactive|
|September 23, 2020||S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team||Natsume|
Announced in a Nintendo Direct on September 4, 2019, SNES games were added to the service worldwide with 20 titles on September 5, 2019. They are available in a separate app from NES games. As of September 23, 2020 , games available include:
|September 5, 2019||Brawl Brothers||City Connection|
|Breath of Fire||Capcom|
|Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics||G-Mode|
|Kirby's Dream Course||Nintendo|
|Kirby's Dream Land 3||Nintendo|
|The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past||Nintendo|
|Smash Tennis||Bandai Namco||[a]|
|Stunt Race FX||Nintendo|
|Super E.D.F. Earth Defense Force||City Connection|
|Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts||Capcom|
|Super Mario Kart||Nintendo|
|Super Mario World||Nintendo|
|Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island||Nintendo|
|Super Puyo Puyo 2||Sega|
|Super Soccer||Spike Chunsoft|
|December 12, 2019||Breath of Fire II||Capcom||[d]|
|Kirby Super Star||Nintendo|
|Star Fox 2||Nintendo|
|February 19, 2020||Pop'n TwinBee||Konami|
|May 20, 2020||Operation Logic Bomb||City Connection|
|Panel de Pon||Nintendo||[f]|
|July 15, 2020||Donkey Kong Country||Nintendo|
|Natsume Championship Wrestling||Natsume|
|Shin Megami Tensei||Atlus|
|September 3, 2020||Super Mario All-Stars||Nintendo|
|September 23, 2020||Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest||Nintendo|
|Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem||Nintendo|
|Mario's Super Picross||Nintendo|
|The Peace Keepers||City Connection|
Switch Online subscribers are also granted access to special offers and promotions from Nintendo; on launch, those who purchased a 12-month subscription or family plan received special in-game items for Splatoon 2, and Nintendo opened exclusive pre-orders for special wireless controllers based on the NES controller, specifically intended for use with the aforementioned NES app. Similarly, a special wireless SNES-based controller designed to work with the Switch was made available to purchase exclusively to Online subscribers shortly after the service added support for SNES titles.
Coinciding with the anticipated release of Super Mario Maker 2, a price-reduction promotion was announced during the game's Nintendo Direct that was available exclusively to Nintendo Switch Online members. The promotion introduced "Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers", which allows purchasers to download two qualifying Nintendo Switch games for a set price of $99.99 MSRP, compared to a $120 sum of buying both games separately.
Nintendo has also offered free original games for those with an Online subscription. Tetris 99 was released as a free to play title for subscribers in February 2019, though has subsequently offered paid downloadable content and retail versions of the game for non-subscribers.Super Mario Bros. 35 will be released in October 2020, and will be available only until March 2021.