Nintendo revealed more concrete details about its Switch Online Service on Thursday, focusing on a handful of benefits to the upcoming paid subscription. Some of the benefits, like online multiplayer, have previously been offered for free. So the service is effectively putting parts of major titles like Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 behind a paywall.
The online service will also launch with numerous Nintendo Entertainment System titles, including Mario Bros., Excitebike, Dr. Mario, Balloon Fight and other NES classics. As mentioned earlier in the year, several of these titles will include new online functionality. And beyond the launch lineup, Nintendo promised a “growing library of online games.”
The Nintendo Switch app will remain the primary means of communicating with other players during online play. Nintendo also teased special offers for subscribers, including a pair of wireless Switch controllers, and can dock with the Switch to charge.
Other special offers are coming, but Nintendo would only say it’ll have “more to announce in the future.”
Nintendo locked in its pricing for the online service, which will cost $19.99 for a yearlong subscription, with family memberships available for a reduced rate.
The online service, which launches Sept. 18, has been long subject to speculation from fans wondering how it’ll stack up to Sony’s Playstation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live. Both of those are required to play most games online and offer free monthly games, but cost $59.99 for yearly subscriptions.
The Switch will be the first Nintendo console to require a paid subscription to access online multiplayer, and its first console to offer cloud saves, which Nintendo says will backup up your games to the cloud automatically (to that). Switch owners will be able to sign up for a seven-day free trial for the service before its limits go into full effect.
Nintendo’s announcement had previously been planned for last week, beforein Hokkaido, Japan.
You can watch the Nintendo Switch Online segment of the presentation below.