Nintendo’s first attempt at a paid online service is close to hitting a major milestone. Nintendo Switch Online now has 9.8 million subscribers, just 2oo,000 or so short of 10 million.
While Sony and Microsoft have had them for years, Nintendo is relatively new to paid online services. Prior to Nintendo Switch Online’s launch in September of 2018, the Kyoto based company had never deployed one.
As of March 31, Nintendo has sold a total of 34.74 million Switches. This means that more than 25% of all Switch owners have subscribed to the service. More importantly, the 9.8 million figure only counts paid subscribers—the report excludes players that are on free trial accounts. In other words, Nintendo is earning money from these 9.8 million subscribers.
Just how much money this is making Nintendo is harder to judge. Subscribing to the service costs about $20 per year. However, the subscriber count includes those availing of the discounted family membership option. So, it’s not just a simply matter of multiplying the subscription fee by the number of subscribers.
Similar to the online services on other consoles, Nintendo Switch Online allows players to access online multiplayer with their games. Other features include the now ubiquitous cloud back ups for saved games, as well voice chat. The latter, interestingly enough, requires players to run an app on their smart phones.
The service also gives free access to a number of classic NES titles. This has essentially replaced the Virtual Console from previous Nintendo systems. For added authenticity, Nintendo has also released wireless NES style Switch controllers for these.
More recently, the service also received its first exclusive free title: Tetris 99. This battle royale-inspired take on the classic block puzzler helps showcase the services multiplayer capability. The game has 99 players fighting each other in Tetris, each doing their best to clear lines and stay alive.