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Nintendo Switch Online: NES Offline Play Requirements, Disappearing Cloud Saves and More

Nintendo Switch Online service doesn’t guarantee cloud game backups if membership to the service expires. Nintendo Entertainment System games free with the paid service will require a once a week check-in to play offline. We won’t know the full list of games that will require the service to play online nor which games support cloud saves until the service’s launch next week.

While Thursday’s Nintendo Direct didn’t offer a lot of new information about the paid Nintendo Switch Online service, digging through the official website and multiple support pages did unearth some new, important information.

Save Data Cloud Backup

Nintendo’s paid online service includes the ability to create a backup copy of save data for most Nintendo Switch games. It’s the only way a person can transfer game saves between devices. Nintendo said the save data can be accessed from any Nintendo Switch console by signing in with a user’s Nintendo Account and downloading the data.

Those are created automatically, though Nintendo said that each game does have the ability to allow users to adjust when and if data is saved to the cloud.

Beginning Sept. 18, when the service launches, games that require a Nintendo Switch Online membership for online play will be identified in Nintendo eShop and in the game’s product information on http://www.nintendo.com. Additional online features (such as Nintendo Switch Online app and Save Data Cloud backup compatibility) will also be displayed there. Future games, Nintendo said, will show this information on the back of box.

Nintendo also notes that it can’t “guarantee” that cloud save data will be retained after an “extended period of time” from when a membership is ended and local save data backups remain unsupported on the Switch, though it sounds like that could change in the future.

“While we have nothing additional to announce on this topic, please be assured that we listen carefully to the feedback from our customers,” the company writes on a support page. “We are constantly working on ways to further enhance the experience of using the system

Family Groups

Individual plans for Nintendo Switch Online cost about $20 for the year, but a family plan — which supports up to eight accounts — only runs $35 for a year. Here’s how that plan works.

One member of a family plan has to be set as the administrator and they are the ones who can add other people to the account and it appears anyone can be added to a family, even if they don’t live in the same country. The admin can remove and add family members whenever they want, it appears. Removing a family member, though, instantly removes all of those Nintendo Switch Online benefits to that member, including those backup saves. Also, if the admin decides to close the membership, everyone in the group is out of luck. Nintendo notes that everyone doesn’t have to live in the same household to be a family member, but that a person can only be in one “family” at a time. The administrator also seems to have the ability to transfer admin rights to other members, but only one person can hold them at a time.

Nintendo Entertainment System games

One of the better perks for the online service is access to a library of NES games with added online play. The service includes 20 games at launch, with new games added regularly. But there’s a bit more to the plan than Nintendo has talked about.

The games, for instance, can only be played for seven days offline before needing to check back in on your membership, according to Nintendo. NES games also support online play that either allows two players at once or taking turns in single-player games. Nintendo also notes that “When playing online, you can display a hand-shaped cursor on your friend’s screen. Use it to give hints or point out strategic locations. You can even clap to congratulate them.”

The smartphone app, which also requires a Nintendo Switch Online membership, will allow players to chat during NES gameplay as well.

Finally, Nintendo detailed the what appears to be the full release schedule for NES games in 2018.

At launch players will have access to:

  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Donkey Kong
  • Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Balloon Fight
  • Ice Climber
  • Dr. Mario
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Double Dragon
  • River City Ransom
  • Ghosts’n Goblins
  • Tecmo Bowl
  • Gradius
  • Pro Wrestling
  • Excitebike
  • Yoshi
  • Ice Hockey
  • Baseball

Nintendo also listed upcoming releases for October, November, and December with a promise that the schedule will be updated with games for 2019 once they’ve been selected.

October

  • Solomon’s Key
  • NES Open Tournament Golf
  • Super Dodge Ball

November

  • Metroid
  • Mighty Bomb Jack
  • TwinBee

December

  • Wario’s Woods
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Adventures of Lolo

Online play

The paid service will support online play for games like “Splatoon 2,” “Arms,” “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” “Mario Tennis Aces,” and “Sushi Striker: The Way of Sishido.” This means that the free online play enjoyed by some games will be going away. Nintendo hasn’t released a full list yet of which games, besides those listed here, will require a subscription to play online. The company said it will publish that information on Sept. 18. It did note that “Fortnite” won’t require a subscription to play online and “Arena of Valor” publisher Tencent said its game won’t either.

Deals

Nintendo said that membership will also include deals. So far the company only notes two such deals. One is the ability to purchase a pair of wireless NES controllers. The other said members get download codes for special gear in “Splatoon 2.”

Free trial

The service will come with a seven-day free trial for all Nintendo Account holders once service begins. Nintendo said it plans to discuss more details about the features and pricing of Nintendo Switch Online during a Nintendo Direct on Thursday. The official website for the service notes that it will cost $4 for a month, $8 for three months and $20 for a year. A family membership, which supports up to seven others in a family group, will run for $35 for a year.

Still free

Some online features will also remain free including the Nintendo eShop, Friend registration and management, the sharing of screenshots over social networks, Nintendo Switch Parental Controls, system and software updates, and Nintendo Switch News.

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