Not so great, Mario!

This is Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online
These are the harsh features of Nintendo’s new “Switch Online” service (Photo: Nintendo)

Unlike Sony with “PlayStation Plus” and Microsoft with “Xbox Live Gold”, Nintendo has not yet offered a paid online service for the Switch. Games like “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” or “Splatoon 2” could be played online – but this service was free since the launch of the Switch in March 2017. However, Nintendo has always made it clear that this free offer will end in the foreseeable future. And now the time has come: September 19 launched “Switch Online”. Thus, the Japanese now demand money for services that were previously free. And beyond that, the service has not had much to offer. An unlucky start.

This is how Switch Online works

At least the entry is easy, as the LEAD test has shown. It takes less than five minutes to download and install the switch update to version 6.0.0. After that you can find the new option “Nintendo Switch Online” in the eShop of the console. There you can subscribe to the service – and also with a free 7-day test. After confirming the subscription by the user, the online features are immediately available.

That’s what Switch Online offers

NES tennis
NES tennis from 1984 – more than a few minutes makes the 2018 no fun anymore (Photo: Nintendo)

The previously free multiplayer games (where Nintendo still does not use modern server technology) are only part of the new service. The problem: At least, “Switch Online” does not offer much more exciting possibilities. One of the components is the new game library “Nintendo Entertainment System”, with which the Japanese bring retro hits of their first success console NES from 1983 on the Switch. 20 games like “Donkey Kong”, “The Legend of Zelda”, “Dr. Mario” or various “Super Mario Bros.” – Oldies are available for start, more are to come.


However, Nintendo has recently recycled this HD drilled title with its NES Classic retro console. And with all the charm: It’s fun to rummage through the old hits for a few minutes. But who still wants to struggle with the pixelated “NES Tennis” of 1984, when with the current “Mario Tennis Aces” a spectacular tennis game is many times more fun? Who wants “Super Mario Bros.” in 2018? gamble, if the switch also the stunning current “Super Mario Odyssey” is installed? More modern games up to the GameCube or the Wii would be much more attractive. I hope Nintendo is still here. In addition, the Japanese announce “exclusive offers” for members – and keep up to date, which are.

Mario Tennis Aces
A win with 6: 0, 6: 0, 6: 0! By the way, for comparison, the current “Mario Tennis Aces” on the Switch looks like (Photo: Nintendo)

These are the other functions

In addition to online games and NES oldies, “Switch Online” also enables the storage of game data in the cloud. This preserves data when, for example, a switch console is lost or defective. However, this option does not even work with all games, “FIFA 19” or “Splatoon 2”, for example, are left out. In addition, this feature is only a stopgap, because Nintendo has created no reasonable way to store game data externally and move to another switch. In addition, the new online service offers the opportunity to chat with other players via a smartphone app. Compared to the PlayStation 4, which works directly on the controller and a headset, this is far too complicated. And another point of criticism: To keep the NES games on the switch, the player has to go online at least once a week. If you have no internet on holiday in the long term, you can not go on gambling.

That costs Switch Online

Mario Kart
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – now online races are chargeable (Photo: Nintendo)

The only small consolation for Nintendo fans: Compared to Sony and Microsoft, both of which ask 59.99 euros per year for their online services, “Switch Online” is at least significantly cheaper. The annual subscription at Nintendo costs 19.99 euros. If you only want to book a month, you pay 3.99 euros. Family access for up to eight accounts costs € 34.99 per year. Oh yes, there is another consolation: In order to be able to continue to play the over-game “Fortnite Battle Royale” online, no subscription is required. This will continue to work for free.

That’s how the users react

The YouTube video, in which Nintendo presents the service, has triggered a veritable shitstorm. The latest numbers from the launch of “Switch Online”: 7,722 thumbs up, 32,837 thumbs down – and more than 13,000 mostly negative comments. Examples: “This is the first time I have disliked a Nintendo video” or “The games cost $ 59.99 and more – so why do I have to pay for playing online?”. And: “Well, 80 percent dislikes, that’s the beginning of the end, and with the switch they were on such a good way, greed does not pay off.”

That’s the conclusion of LEAD

With the mischievous launch of “Switch Online,” Nintendo once again demonstrates that while it can design superior games and consoles, the online world has still not understood.

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