Online play will remain free until some point in 2018 (later than the previously announced Fall 2017 window), at which time Nintendo will offering memberships in the following intervals and price points:
- 1 month - $4
- 3 months - $8
- 12 months - $20
By comparison, Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus cost $60/year.
Nintendo also shared a slide that shows the breakdown between paid and free memberships as it relates to features and content. You'll need a membership for online gameplay and online lobby and voice chat (through a smartphone app), while you also have to pay to get some eShop deals. Non-subscribers can still access the eShop, of course, and register/manage friends, share screenshots on social media, and access the Switch parent controls app.
Additionally, Nintendo confirmed that subscribers will be able to download classic games at no extra cost, including Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight, and Dr. Mario. Right now, Nintendo is calling this "Classic Game Selection," though this may not be the final name.
When it announced the online membership program in January, Nintendo said subscribers would get a free NES or SNES game (possibly with online multiplayer added) each month. However, unlike the PlayStation Plus and Games With Gold freebies, free access to that game is only available for a single month, apparently.
As for voice chat, this will happen through a "dedicated smart device app" that connects to the Switch. It not only lets you chat with friends online (in supported game), but also invite friends to play and set "play appointments." A "limited" version of the app will be available this summer.
What do you make of Switch's online membership program? Let us know in the comments below!