The QuakeCon 2019 keynote had a special surprise: re-release versions of the original Doom from 1993, as well as Doom 2 and 3, came to consoles including the Nintendo Switch today. But as users downloaded and started to play some classic Doom, they ran into a stumbling block: a Bethesda.net login screen.
Players started sharing on social feeds that these games require a Bethesda.net account to play, though the extent wasn't immediately clear. Through our own investigation into Doom (1993) as well as others', we can confirm you do need a Bethesda.net account to play these games, but you don't need a constant internet connection after the first login.
When we booted up Doom (1993), we were greeted by a login screen. When we tried to cancel out of it, a text window informed us that "a Bethesda.net account is required to play this title." We turned off all internet access to the Switch and repeated the process, and were again greeted by the screen.
However, once we logged in, we were able to start playing just fine. After playing a ways into the level, we closed the software and turned off the internet again, and jumped back on. This time, we were greeted by a different screen: "Unable to access online features without a connection to Nintendo Online." After hitting okay, we were dumped into the main menu the same as before, and could start playing Doom without any internet connection.
So while you do need a Bethesda.net account to make the initial launch, you don't necessarily need a constant internet connection or access to Bethesda.net to play after that. We went to check the eShop listings for all three Doom games, and in the fine print, both Doom (1993) and Doom 2 say "Bethesda.net account required." For Doom 3, it says "Bethesda.net account required to access certain features and/or content."
While this might be a sticking point for folks who don't want to sign up for another service, it ultimately seems like a small nuisance. If either game required a constant internet connection, that'd be a different story—I need my portable Doom to be untethered by the bounds of Wi-Fi. Considering these are digital games anyways, that just means you should ensure you boot up Doom and login once before you head out on your next road trip. (Also note: we only tested this ourselves on the Switch, but it seems to apply to all versions, as a quick glance at the Google Play Store and PlayStation Store indicate.)
That wasn't the only Doom announcement today, as the Doom Eternal devs took to the keynote stage at QuakeCon 2019 to show off some new demon action. Several of these baddies, including the big boy Mancubus, will be playable in the game's Battlemode multiplayer. Basically, there's a lot of Doom to go around today.