First, the good news: Nintendo will finally begin offering a way for Nintendo Switch owners to back up their currently vulnerable game save data starting in September. Now, the bad news: that feature will only be offered to players who spend $20 a year for Nintendo’s first-ever paid online subscription service.
“Nintendo Switch Online,” which the company has been teasing for well over a year, will include an unexpected “Save Data Cloud Backup” feature, the company announced Monday evening. A Nintendo PR e-mail promises the feature will be “great for people who want to retrieve their data if they lose, break or purchase an additional Nintendo Switch system.” But it also warns that cloud saves will only be available “for most games,” with no details of which ones will be left out. More details of how cloud saves will work will be available at a later date.
The subscription service will be required to play any Nintendo Switch games’ online modes from September onward. Games like Splatoon 2 and ARMS can currently be played online for free; that will change once Switch Online launches later this year.
Online accounts will be portable across Switch systems, provided you log on to the secondary console with your centralized Nintendo Account. But if you want to use your online subscription across multiple player profiles on a single Switch system, you’ll have to upgrade to a family membership for $35 a year. Shorter individual subscriptions will also be available at $4 per month or $8 for three months.
As previously promised, Switch Online subscribers will also get unlimited access to emulated versions of 20 NES games at launch, with more “added regularly” after that. Classic games that were originally designed for two players will be playable with friends online, while single-player modes can be shared through online-spectator and “pass the controller” features.
The first 10 of those NES games to be confirmed for inclusion at launch are:
- Balloon Fight
- Donkey Kong
- Dr. Mario
- Ice Climber
- The Legend of Zelda
- Mario Bros.
- Super Mario Bros.
- Super Mario Bros. 3
Rather than offer an integrated voice chat solution, Nintendo is still sticking with its bizarre and unwieldy smartphone app to enable voice chat between friends for the Switch Online service.
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