Nintendo's jump to paid online services may have paid off. In a shareholder Q&A, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa says the service has now surpassed 10 million accounts.
Launched last September, Nintendo Switch Online has been Nintendo's method of monetizing its online games, as opposed to the openly free multiplayer servers from consoles like the Wii U. Besides opening up multiplayer access for games like Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it also carries a few extra features like cloud backup for save data, voice chat via a smartphone app, and a rotating stable of NES games.
A big push for Switch Online likely came from the launch of Tetris 99, the surprisingly stellar Tetris battle royale that became a reason to buy into the service by itself. Recent games like Super Mario Maker 2 have included deals for Nintendo Switch Online, and in May, Nintendo launched a game voucher service which lets users buy downloadable games at a discount.
"We recognize that making the Nintendo Switch Online service attractive to users is extremely important, and will continue to make the content of the service even more appealing going forward," says Furukawa.
At this same Q&A, Nintendo leadership responded to questions about modern trends like cloud technology. While Nintendo has made use of this tech in the past, both for Switch Online's cloud saves and in cloud computing through Assassin's Creed Odyssey in Japan, Furukawa didn't see technology like that overtaking gaming in the near future. Shigeru Miyamoto, also present, felt that games not running in the cloud would still have their place in the gaming ecosystem.
"I think that cloud gaming will become more widespread in the future," says Miyamoto. "But I have no doubt that there will continue to be games that are fun because they are running locally and not on the cloud."