Recently, Nintendo has announced that they have a subscription service in the works. Much like the other major console manufacturers, online play is going to require this subscription. Also like the other programs, this service brings digital games and discounts to subscribers. However, some of its features have a few quirks.
When Nintendo first announced this service, they mentioned that subscribers would have free access to classic titles. The first three titles we know about are Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight, and Dr. Mario. While these may be older titles, the versions available through this service will have the addition of online multiplayer. In a response to Kotaku, they have clarified that users will retain access to their library of games for as long as they keep their subscription.
So far it sounds like more of the same, but their voice chat is quite odd. Rather than operating through the device itself, the service requires the use of a smartphone application. Accessory manufacturer Hori has already revealed a headset which has been getting attention around the internet. In order to get audio from the game along with voice chat coming through the headphones, it uses a special adapter that plugs into both devices. While simply using voice chat does not require such a setup, it seems that hearing all audio while using a headset does.
While the application is part of the paid service, a free, “limited” version will be available in the summer of 2017. In addition to chat, this program manages invites. It also allows users to set times to play with friends.
According to Nintendo’s official site, the service will cost $3.99 for month while a year’s membership is only $19.99 (USD). The prices for other regions have yet to be revealed. Playing online is currently free and will remain so until the new service launches in 2018.