Is Nintendo Switch online free to play?

When the Nintendo Switch launched back in March 2017, its Nintendo Online Play functionality was a key selling point.

Having fallen behind its rivals Sony and Microsoft with the disappointing launch of the Wii-U in 2012, Nintendo knew that they had to compete on all fronts to try and regain their position in the video games market.

Part of this greater competition lay in improving its online multiplayer offering to try and keep up with those services enjoyed by PlayStation 4 or Xbox gamers.


However, unlike the services offered by those consoles, the Online Play function seemed to come at no additional charge. Those excited Nintendo fans who picked up a Switch as soon as it came out may have been delighted to discover that they could enjoy games such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2 in an online multiplayer mode without paying a penny.

That is, until a recent development.

Is Nintendo Switch Online Play free?

The short answer is: it used to be free, but this is no longer the case.

As of the Nintendo 6.0.0 system update, the console’s online functionality became a paid subscription-based service. This came into effect on September 18.

It had always been Nintendo’s intention to introduce a paid subscription for online gaming, but their initial target of 2017 was revised to 2018 in order to allow their developers more time to fully perfect the digital environment.

According to Nintendo’s President Tatsumi Kimishima, the pricing of the Online Play subscription was a careful consideration for the company’s chief decision makers: prioritising value for their customers.

A free seven-day trial is still available through the Nintendo eShop. After which, gamers have the choice of paying £3.49 for a one-month subscription, £6.99 for a three-month subscription and £17.99 for the year.

A Family Membership is also on offer which costs £31.49 and covers eight different accounts for 12 months.