It’s just a day or so away before three months pass since the day the #Nintendo Switch became available to the world. Sales have been quite good and demand rather high that the Japanese video game maker has pushed to increase production of Switch units in a long prep for the 2017 holidays. There’s no question that the hybrid console-portable system and its growing library of game titles have been a worthy purchase for those who could afford it early.

However at present, the Switch, despite having online capabilities, does not yet have the same feature that its rival systems the Sony PlayStation 4 and the #Xbox One have: a dedicated online service.

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But fret not; Nintendo has announced that it will be coming next year, and with a tentative service price to boot.

Switch Online

An announcement was made by Nintendo on their official website, that by 2018 their paid online subscription service, named #Switch Online, will begin operation. Also confirmed was the pricing scheme, a feed to be paid annually. Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima first proposed something between 2,000 to 3,000 yen a year in Japan. Converted for the US, it will be somewhere around $17-26. This fee covers membership for Switch players to avail online multiplayer for playing games.

Nintendo of America went even further by breaking down the fee into different duration. A monthly subscription would amount to $3.99, three months will be worth $7.99, and a whole year payment of $19.99 is all that is needed to access Switch Online.

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That’s not all. Multiplayer capability aside, Switch Online will also boast e-Shop deals so that paying members can purchase new Nintendo Switch game titles at reduced prices through their digital downloading platform. In a way, Switch Online is just like the other online services offered by Sony and Microsoft on their consoles.

Cheap but lacking?

Well, almost the same. At the maximum $20 annual fee, the Switch Online platform is coming off as being remarkably inexpensive next to the other consoles’ versions. To compare, the Microsoft Xbox Live Gold and the PlayStation Plus online services for the Xbox One and PS4 both have a $59.99 price tag. But then again, judging from console history, it always does seem to indicate that Nintendo console online services have continually lagged behind that of Sony and Microsoft’s.

One thing that Nintendo’s Switch Online will try to innovate for this platform is the planned release of a complementary smartphone app that works alongside the online service. From the app, Switch Online members can invite friends to organize game sessions and even engage with friend chat while in the middle of multiplayer grinds. Another perk is the planned availability access to past console game titles in the great Nintendo library, all the way back to the NES.