Nintendo is joining the ranks of PlayStation and Xbox in that it will finally start charging for its online services with its Switch console, but its option will be far more affordable.
In an interview with Nikkei, a Japanese publication, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said online services for the Switch will cost between 2,000 and 3,000 Yen, or between $17 and $26.
If we assume the high end of that range, its less than half of what Microsoft and Sony charge for Xbox Live and PlayStation Network at $60 per year. Those services are substantial though, and include online multiplayer, free current-gen game downloads for the length of the subscription and discounts in their online stores. Nintendo is offering online multiplayer, but chat is via a phone app rather than the console itself, and its free monthly NES or SNES game download expires at the end of the month.
We'll find out more when the Switch releases on March 3. The service will launch as a free trial, and then transition into its permanent paid model in the fall.
Nintendo's previous online offerings have been free, but completely bare-bones, including a lack of voice chat and the need to trade complicated "Friend Codes" instead of screen names to play together online. The Switch's online service sounds leagues ahead of Nintendo's current offerings, but we'll have to see how it stacks up to pricier competitors.