Nintendo has been slowly releasing details about the paid version of the Switch Online Service since June last year. We already know the service launches in September and will cost $19.99 a year, $7.99 for three months, or $3.99 a month. But overnight, fresh details have been released with a new feature announced that's sure to make subscribing a must.
That new feature is save data cloud backups. Right now, save data is confined to the system memory of your Switch console. It wasn't Nintendo's best decision because it means if your Switch breaks, all your save data is lost. Nintendo is clearly aiming to fix the problem by allowing save data to be backed up to the cloud. That way, the data is tied to your Nintendo account and not the hardware.
Another interesting addition is the option of a Family membership. Rather than paying $19.99 a year for an individual membership, you can opt to pay $34.99 for the Family membership. By doing so, up to eight Nintendo Account holders can access the Switch Online service from different systems. That will be very useful if there is more than one Switch in the house.
When the online service launches in September, Nintendo will make 20 classic NES games available to play. The full list of games isn't known yet, but Nintendo confirmed it will include Balloon Fight, Dr. Mario, Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong, Ice Climber, The Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros., Soccer, Super Mario Bros., and Tennis. The other 10 games will be announced closer to launch and more games will be added regularly after September.
For now, online play remains free, but that will change to requiring a subscription come September. There will also be the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app, which Nintendo says will "enhance the online experience for compatible games through voice chat and other features." Special offers are also promised regularly for members.