Nintendo has confirmed that they have delayed the release of their long-awaited Switch online service to September 2018. Initially set to launch late last year, the service is set to introduce a more robust online infrastructure that comes at a monetary cost to the user.
Currently, Nintendo's online infrastructure offers a bare-boned friends list and online play system with voice chat provided through a smartphone app. Many users have been hoping for the implementation of voice chat functionality and more substantial social features within the console itself; the new online service could potentially bring these advancements.
Priced competitively against Xbox Live and PS Plus’ $60 per year price tag, Nintendo’s online service will cost users $20 per year or $4 per month. While Sony and Microsoft’s services include a selection of recent games that refreshes on a monthly basis, Nintendo will provide one of their classic games each month with updated features including online leaderboards and multiplayer.
Until this point, online play will continue to be free for Switch users which, for now, means that it is the only leading console of this generation to offer online play at no cost.
If the integration of classic Nintendo titles into the online service is any indication of the timeframe we can expect for the release of the Virtual Console, then it may be more than just the Switch's online service launching in September.