Nintendo is only a month away from implementing its Nintendo Switch Online subscription, which means current games with online functionalities will require the paid service. However, there could be a chance several titles’ online features will still be accessible for free.
As pointed out by user ggx2ac on ResetERA, Nintendo’s pages for several free-to-play games currently available on Switch, such as Epic Games’ Fortnite, don’t include a note about the upcoming need for the online service subscription.
For example, part of the fine print pulled from the Mario Tennis Aces page reads: “Nintendo Account required. Online features will be free until the Nintendo Switch Online Service launches in 2018.” The same passage can be found on several other titles’ pages, including Splatoon 2, Minecraft, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and more.
As for the free-to-play games, that fine print is not listed. This could mean that Nintendo will allow players to continue enjoying the online features of the titles that are free to download. It wouldn’t be too farfetched if it turned out to be true, as PlayStation currently offers a selection of free-to-play games that don’t require a PS Plus membership. On the other hand, Xbox hasn’t jumped on the freebie train yet.
However, there is one exception to Nintendo’s possible new rule. The page for the free-to-play game Dawn Breakers is the only game that lists a requirement for the Switch online membership. It’s possible that publisher CyberStep and Nintendo have a deal to keep the requirement for a paid online service, or Nintendo could just be slow to update its official game pages. Players should know more about the future of the Switch’s free-to-play games by the time the online service launches, but for now, Fortnite fans that play on Nintendo’s hybrid console have reason to rejoice.
Once the online subscription arrives, players will have access to the online features of some of the platform’s best games, the ability to back up save data to a cloud, and a selection of NES games with online play. The pricing will range from $3.99 for one month to $19.99 for a year.