Nintendo Switch Online Sounds Like a Hassle, Actually

Red tape.

News by Matt Kim, .

Nintendo's online subscription service for the Nintendo Switch is days away from launching and we're finally getting some details about how the service will run. Unfortunately, those details include items that could be inconvenient to some subscribers like the fact that your cloud save data won't be kept if your subscription lapses.

During yesterday's Nintendo Direct, the company revealed some final details about the upcoming Switch Online service before it officially launches on September 18. In the full Q&A page about the service Nintendo highlights that the company is "unable to guarantee" your cloud save data will be stored if your subscription runs out.

More details about the Switch's cloud save.

Nintendo says that save files stored locally on the console can still be played and could be re-uploaded if a subscription is renewed. But similar services like PlayStation's guarantees six months after your subscription ends before cloud save data is offloaded.

In another twist, Switch Online subscribers will have to check in every seven days to keep classic NES games offered as part of Nintendo's online service. This online check differs from PlayStation Plus free games which can be played offline if it's downloaded to your console.

Let's also not forget that Nintendo Switch online still requires a smartphone mobile app to communicate via voice chat. Remember the Splatoon 2 headset? All of this combined and Nintendo's online Switch service seems to require a lot of effort on the player's end to function properly.

During yesterday's Nintendo Direct, the company also announced special NES-style wireless controllers for the Switch that's only available to Nintendo Switch Online members. It's potentially a way to keep the service competitive to other online services by offering exclusive, physical sales.

You can read our impressions of yesterday's Nintendo Direct here, including the promising 2019 line-up for the Nintendo Switch.

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Comments 24

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  • Avatar for Jonnyboy407 #1 Jonnyboy407 2 months ago
    Yeah, that cloud save thing is wierd... Hopefully (like most other subscriptions) it just automatically renews and you don't have to circle a day on a calendar 12 months later.

    The 7 day thing is meh. I can't imagine not connecting to the internet for more than 7 days.

    I figured the NES joy con thing was to prevent excessive scalping and to avoid impluse buyer remorse when the less informed customers buy them in a store only to realize they're useless for Mario and Zelda. Gotta think of the normies...

    But yeah that cloud thing is strange... Let's say there's room for improvement
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #2 NiceGuyNeon 2 months ago
    I thought this would be OK when I first heard about it (mostly because of the cost) but really this just sounds dumb and annoying now. I'm probably not going to pay for it. If I lose my files whatever, this just sounds dumb. If something is online I'll just play it on PC.
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  • Avatar for nilcam #3 nilcam 2 months ago
    I don't really get why people are upset about this. On the one hand, the cloud is for backing up save data. You should not delete save data you want from the console itself. Never have one back up copy.

    As far as checking in every 7 days. I get why they're doing that and I doubt it will affect most players as, if you're paying for online play, shouldn't you be playing online. I'm guessing that the console will check in whenever you connect online. PS+ does this but it's not really said because most supported consoles are not portable and can easily check in. My Switch lives in its dock and I go online daily. Nintendo also delivers updates to my console all the time. I logged on this morning to update Splatoon 2 only to find out it was already done.

    Why are people so desperate to find flaws in this system before it's launched? I mean, I understand being unhappy to pay for something that was free for the past 18 months, but come on. I don't read nearly as many negative comments about PS+ which costs 3 times as much.
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  • Avatar for Fourfoldroot #4 Fourfoldroot 2 months ago
    Getting 6 games with ps plus helps. As does having other ways to back up data so you aren't being forced to renew if you don't want to. Plus it isn't 3 times the cost.
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  • Avatar for SargeSmash #5 SargeSmash 2 months ago
    The NES game thing doesn't bother me, but given how much folks seem to be down for buying retro releases for the system just to have them in portable form (3DS notwithstanding), I would think that a VC would make them more money. I'm not sure, even at the current price point, that I'm getting much value for my $20.
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  • Avatar for nilcam #6 nilcam 2 months ago
    @Fourfoldroot PlayStation Plus is $59.99 per year. Switch Online is $19.99 per year. If we're being accurate, it's more than 3 times the cost. : -)

    Switch Online is starting with 20 free games and will build on that over time. I get that Plus focuses on newer games but there were very few Plus games that interested me.Edited 2 times. Last edited September 2018 by nilcam
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  • Avatar for Fourfoldroot #7 Fourfoldroot 2 months ago
    Its $34.99 for the like for like multi person deal. If the wife and I both wanted to play online... Or families which switch is aimed at... Even if you take the median cost its only twice the price. This is for a much worse service with fewer and much older games we have all played
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  • Avatar for dimasok #8 dimasok 2 months ago
    Yea not paying for this dinosaur infrastructue.
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  • Avatar for nilcam #9 nilcam 2 months ago
    @Fourfoldroot My wife only plays turn-based strategy games so I was comparing the cost for single accounts. My bad.

    I never had an NES so I've only played a few of these games. I was an Atari kid who then warped to SNES. That makes these NES games with online a value for me.
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  • Avatar for JupiterJesus #10 JupiterJesus 2 months ago
    @nilcam Ah, the "I don't care about these flaws and you shouldn't care about them either" defense, used by people all around to world to convince everyone that such and such "really isn't that bad guys".

    Everything mentioned in the article is something that is done better by the competition and has been for years. Whether it bothers you personally or not, the way Nintendo is implementing is worse than it could be and SHOULD be. It DOES bother us, whether you agree or like it. We expect more than this, and people are annoyed. Why shouldn't people see a product, decide it is inferior and unnecessary and choose not to pay for it? They can even complain about, just like you're complaining about them complaining (and I'm complaining about your complaining about their complaining).

    Worst case, Nintendo ignores the complaining and some people wasted a few minutes of their time, and best case Nintendo actually DOES something about their piss-poor implementation. Not likely though - Nintendo doesn't listen to anyone but Nintendo. But what exactly do you get by going online and praising them? What is accomplished? Worst case, angry people write overly long, obnoxious screeds like this one about what you wrote. Best case... Nintendo sees all of your online history and hires you as a paid brand ambassador? What's the end game of defending a company's honor and products?

    Why are people so desperate to paper over the flaws and praise this system before it's launched? I mean, I understand liking Nintendo's games and wanting to play them online, but come on. I don't read nearly as many positive comments about PS+ which is ten times better while only costing 3 times as much.
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  • Avatar for Jonnyboy407 #11 Jonnyboy407 2 months ago
    @nilcam there's some odd choices, but nothing that should ruin anyone's day. Getting mad won't change anything.

    Like the Beatles said, life goes on
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  • Avatar for docexe #12 docexe 2 months ago
    I think the price is fair for what’s being offered. Similar services from Microsoft and Sony are simply superior, but the subscription is more expensive. In that sense I’m not too mad about having to pay for it. That being said, it can’t be denied that there are some pretty big hassles with the service (and yes, they do merit criticism), but I don’t think those are the problems that are being highlighted in this article.

    So you can only play the NES games offline for 7 days? Well, considering you only got them by subscribing to a service whose primary purpose is to let you play online in the first place, I don’t think having to check up online regularly will be a big deal for most people. It would only be a problem if you were, I don’t know, planning on vacationing on some remote location with no internet access for more than a week and for whatever reason you wanted to play those NES games, but let’s be real: How many people would actually be in such position?

    They not keeping your cloud data if your subscription lapses is a bigger issue, but as I understand it, the data is still stored locally, so provided nothing catastrophic happens to your Switch before you renew the subscription, it shouldn’t be a major problem backing it up again.

    If anything, the two real major hassles that I see with the service are:

    1) In order to use voice chat you need to use that stupid mobile app. Like, WHY?! I mean, games like Fornite let you use voice chat without any issue other than connecting the mic, so tying it to the app is pointless. Even Nintendo’s typical excuse of “wanting to protect the younglings from the horrors of the Internet” doesn’t fly considering the parental control app let’s you restrict voice chat privileges on individual children accounts. So, WHY?! Why handle this vital function of online play in such a ridiculously cumbersome way? Ironically, the app would probably provide a nice aggregate bonus for games like Splatoon if they hadn’t decided to tie voice chat to it.

    2) The cloud storage is not compatible with all games and you just don’t have any other method to back-up data. Nintendo claims is to prevent cheating in online multiplayer games, but I think it’s really that they are just being stupidly draconian about piracy (AGAIN!!! ¬_¬). Of course, if it’s truth, then it speaks really badly about the security of their network infrastructure, given that Sony and Microsoft do provide cloud storage for online multiplayer games. Then again, I suppose is plausible given this is Nintendo we are talking about. When it comes to online gaming, the phrase “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory since 2001” really applies to them.Edited September 2018 by docexe
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #13 MetManMas 2 months ago
    I don't mind paying $20 a year when I get a Switch 'cuz that is a steal for online play, but after like three Virtual Consoles I can't really get too excited about getting spoonfed the same old usual NES games anymore...or SNES, or Nintendo 64.

    If Nintendo really wants me to care about their new streaming service they need to get ahold of some new material. Officially localize some Japanese only games (You know, like half of the Fire Emblem series), get ahold of some more games that haven't been rereleased, make Square Enix give half a fuck about rereleasing their output in countries besides Japan again.

    Yeah, it'd probably cost more, but I wouldn't mind that.
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  • Avatar for SkywardShadow #14 SkywardShadow 2 months ago

    35 a year so my son and I can both play games online from one console is ridiculous, so every extra flaw just rankles all the more.
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  • Avatar for nilcam #15 nilcam 2 months ago
    @JupiterJesus I'm not defending it; just trying to understand why so many people are upset. I had honestly not considered the $35 option as I stated. Sony did a much better job of rolling out PS+ by making it optional first to get people used to the idea. Nintendo screwed up by giving it away for free for 18 months and then starting to charge. I paid $60 per year to play Guilty Gear online when I had a PS4 and that is a steep price for one game.
    @Jonnyboy407 I'm not mad at all. I didn't mean to come across that way.
    @SkywardShadow I can see that being annoying.
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  • Avatar for ojinnvoltz #16 ojinnvoltz 2 months ago
    @nilcam People aren't desperately finding flaws, they're in plain sight. People don't complain about PS+ because you can chat to friends and can party up without having to go outside the console, it gives you free games that range from AAA to indie that aren't 30 years old, and you can freely back up your saves. Nintendo Online may be a third of the price, but it offers less than a third of the value.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #17 VotesForCows 2 months ago
    @SkywardShadow That's the biggest BS part of it. Same damn console and I need two accounts or a family account. That is such crap from Nintendo. Honestly, if Splatoon wasn't one of the best games I've ever played I'd be done with them.
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  • Avatar for bigbadboaz #18 bigbadboaz 2 months ago anyone surprised? Nintendo has done a lot of things with the Switch that make it worthwhile, but this online reveal is just another in the continuing line of we don't get the internet and we're damn well not going to listen to customer feedback-type decisions they've been making since the freakin' Wii. This particular aspect of the Switch will NOT be worthwhile.

    Hell, the NES Classic remains a much better way to play NES titles in light of the controller reveal. Far better pricing and no restrictions that simply don't belong with the NES experience.
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  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #19 LBD_Nytetrayn 2 months ago
    @VotesForCows Is this not the case normally? Offering a family plan is like the one way this whole thing outdoes Xbox Live and PS Plus, unless there's an umbrella for family members with those accounts I've been missing out on all this time.
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  • Avatar for nilcam #20 nilcam 2 months ago
    @bigbadboaz It's not like you need those controllers. I'll be using either my standard controllers or 8bitdo controller which are much more comfortable than the original NES controllers.
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  • Avatar for urbanman2004 #21 urbanman2004 2 months ago
    You couldn't pay me to use their excuse for a Frankenstein makeshift jerry-rig of an online service
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  • Avatar for bigbadboaz #22 bigbadboaz 2 months ago
    @nilcam So? The controllers are obviously being introduced because they provide something - in this case an accurate/nostalgic experience. "You don't need them" is not a defense against criticism.

    Again, in light of the NES Classic already existing - they're only shining a light on their own missteps by offering a better alternative within THEIR OWN PRODUCT LINE. C'mon, man - that's just laughable.
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  • Avatar for Fourfoldroot #23 Fourfoldroot 2 months ago
    On ps, and I presume xbox, any number of accounts can play using plus as long as one person with plus has set that console as primary. So, in effect, all ps accounts are family accounts. If, however, multiple accounts in Ninty "family" plan can play a cross multiple systems then this is a different type of good. It would be more accurately called a "friends" plan though I guess.
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  • Avatar for nilcam #24 nilcam A month ago
    @bigbadboaz They're not introducing them for any reason other than to make money. It's up to you to decide if they're worth i it for you. I don't like NES controlled and can play the games with controllers I already own. I don't know wher why you think I'm trying to deman defend these controllers; I'm just pointing out that they're unnecessary. It's nothing to get upset about.
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  • Avatar for nilcam #25 nilcam A month ago
    Deleted September 2018 by nilcam
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  • Avatar for nilcam #26 nilcam A month ago
    Deleted September 2018 by nilcam
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