The Nintendo Switch Online release time has been confirmed for today, September 18th, at 11PM ET / 8PM PT. The question is, is the new paid service worth it?

Of course, you may be asking, doesn’t Nintendo Switch already have an online service? Well, yes. Indeed it does. And until now, that service has allowed Switch owners to play games online for free.

But Nintendo has fulfilled the promise that no one wanted them to keep, and playing your favorite Switch games online will now cost money.

Fortunately, with the new cost of Nintendo Switch Online come a few bonus perks. Let’s check them out and see how they compare to Nintendo’s competitors.

How Much Is Nintendo Switch Online?

Nintendo’s online service is offered at a few different price points.

If you purchase the service on a month-to-month basis, it will cost you $3.99 per month. You can sign up for this plan directly through Nintendo’s eShop.

If you’re pretty certain you want access to Nintendo’s online features and you’re hoping to save a few dollars, you can get three months for $7.99. That’s basically one month free.

Alternatively, you can get a year-long subscription for just $19.99. 

These three-month and one-year subscriptions can be purchased from retailers like Amazon, Best Buy and GameStop and then redeemed through the Nintendo eShop.

There is one final subscription plan available exclusively through the Nintendo eShop for those who want to share a Nintendo Online membership across multiple consoles. For $34.99, up to eight Nintendo accounts can enjoy the online service for one year.

In order to access Nintendo Switch Online after it’s September 18th launch, be sure to update your Switch console to version 6.0.0. 

Bear in mind, however, that beginning with this update, you will no longer be able to unlink your Nintendo account from your Switch. So make sure you’re logged in to the correct account.

What Does Nintendo Switch Online Do?

Nintendo’s online service on the Switch used to be good for one basic thing: playing games online with other people.

Now that the service costs money, you will of course still be able to play your favorite online multiplayer games. But Nintendo is also introducing a much-wanted new feature: cloud saves!

With Nintendo Switch Online, Switch owners can back up their game saves to the cloud, so if anything catastrophic happens to your Switch while you’re on the go, you will be able to pick up right where you left off on a new device.

Additionally, Nintendo is offering subscribers access to a growing library of classic NES games, available to play on the Switch for as long as you keep an active membership.

Finally, Switch Online members will be able to chat with friends using the Switch Online app, available for iOS and Android devices.

So, It Costs Money And It Has New Features. But Is Nintendo Switch Online Worth It?

The answer to this of course comes down to personal needs and preferences. But one thing Nintendo’s online service definitely has going for it is its price.

Xbox One and PS4 owners are accustom to paying subscription fees to play their games online. 

The cost of Xbox Live Gold and Playstation Plus are each the same and range from $9.99 for one month to $59.99 for one year.

Clearly, the $20 annual fee of Nintendo Switch Online is significantly cheaper than either of its competitors.

That said, the Nintendo Switch is a much newer console than the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. Its catalog of games has not had as much time to develop. This means that Xbox Live Gold and PS+ grant players access to a larger selection of online content overall.

Xbox Live Gold and PS+ also offer members exclusive discounts on games, as well as access to free current-generation games to play each month.

So, when looked at side-by-side it doesn’t really look like the features of Nintendo Switch Online compare with Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus’s at all.

But, when considering the number of online games that are exclusive to the Nintendo Switch, such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2, $20 a year is a hard deal to beat.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Is the cost of Nintendo Switch Online worth it to you? Are you planning on subscribing, or have you already? 

Let us know down in the comments, and don’t forget to share the news!