Nintendo’s wonder of a game system, the Switch, continues to impress the general gaming community after being on the market for four months. Aside from new titles – original games or ports from other consoles – coming into its library, Nintendo has begun taking steps to fully implement it's complementing online infrastructure for the Switch.

While the Japanese game company has projected that full online service for the hybrid portable/console system will not be until next year, certain features look ready to be activated before 2017 is out. One of these features is an app for mobile devices that will run internet functions for the Switch.

It will come online by the end of the week, but the app itself is available on major app stores right now.

Online hub on smartphones

The official word from Nintendo is that their Switch Online mobile app is now ready for download on both the iOS App Store for iPhones and Google Play for Android. Once in your mobile devices, the Nintendo Switch Online will facilitate the main game system’s internet functionality. Online invites to games, voice chat and any other myriad features from any future game title with online support will be routed through this app, which in the fashion of other similar platforms will have a lobby section and games list.

Nintendo’s Switch Online app first appeared on app store listings in Australia this week, before showing up in one more area after another, including North America.

Some early bird Switch owners have already made their downloads, but since the service doesn’t actually go online until Friday, July 21, logging in their Nintendo accounts on Switch Online simply gets them an error screen greeting. The system message accompanying these error screens would have it that the app servers are currently undergoing maintenance which, from a certain point of view, they are.

Sample game support

Also releasing on July 21 with the Nintendo Switch Online app is the game title “Splatoon 2”, the eagerly-awaited third-person shooter sequel of the original from the Wii U. This first-party game title is a textbook case of what the Switch Online app can do for the hybrid system’s growing community of gamers.

Aside from the hub services, “Splatoon 2” will be able to operate its own leaderboard ranking and information services through Switch Online. Add to the fact that the app will also work in concert with other social media and messaging services on smartphones, getting Switch-owning friends together for a quick game or two has never been easier for Nintendo’s latest console. Switch Online is free for the rest of 2017, with a $19.99 annual fee coming in starting from 2018.