Nintendo Switch Online Early Reviews: Gamers Not Impressed by Its Debut

Is $20 per year too much for Nintendo's online gaming service?

by Josie Rhodes Cook

Gamers don’t seem impressed with the Nintendo Switch Online, a subscription-based service for the company’s popular Switch console, according to early reviews posted after the service debuted on Thursday. As a few common complaints arose on social media, anyone researching whether to join the service may want to take into account how these issues are resolved by Nintendo before it goes live.

This is the first time Nintendo is charging its customers to play games online, and that $20-per-year price tag hasn’t exactly gone over well. Even if Nintendo Switch Online costs a lot less than similar services for PlayStation and Xbox One, it’s still a big step up from free.

Unsurprisingly, Nintendo fans aren’t happy about the change, and they make a lot of valid points about the services many limitations, all while griping about that price. People don’t want to pay for a service they feel like they should get for free. Who could have guessed it?

Here are just some of the many critiques gamers have with this week’s debut of Nintendo Switch Online.

The Nintendo Switch Online paywall is not going over well

As previously mentioned, people are really not pleased that they have to pay for Nintendo Switch Online. In the comments of the IGN video review above, replies on the topic of the costs range from “I have games 100x better on my phone. For free” to “Ew nintendo online. Online should be free. “

It’s true that creating a paywall, no matter how inexpensive it may seem in comparison to similar gaming platforms, could make the service inaccessible for younger gamers or disadvantaged ones with an extremely strict budget.

As one Reddit user put it:

“I can already hear the grumbling and screeching from angry parents whose kids are crying because they all of a sudden can’t play online. They will point out that their kid has played for free all this time, and they don’t see why they suddenly have to pay for it. Plus there is all the money they had already spent on the console and the games. And they’re not wrong.”

The Nintendo Switch website lists a yearly, individual membership price of $19.99. However, for any parents out there who are concerned about being charged for the service, there is a Family Membership available for up to eight Nintendo Account holders for $34.99 for 12 months. Split between eight friends that’s under $5 per year each.

But still: not free. So people are unhappy.

The long wait for Nintendo Switch online makes the launch even worse

Gamers are also displeased that it took so long for Nintendo to develop Nintendo Switch Online, only for it to come out and seem like a mediocre effort.

“They worked 18 months on this thing,” one YouTube comment on that same *IGN video reads. “Its something a student could have programmed in a few weeks. “

Reddit users seemed to agree. One redditor, Mr_Aufziehvogel, commented on a thread about the launch sarcastically: “They only had 18 months to prepare this launch, give them some time!”

Communication is lacking in Nintendo Switch Online

While there is voice chat on the Nintendo Switch Online, it’s only available through a separate smartphone app — and not for all games. Otherwise, the main way to communicate with other players during games is with a hand icon that you can use to direct a player or clap for them during gameplay. Yes, really. That’s pretty much it.

Nintendo Switch Online is friends only

Reddit hates Nintendo Switch Online


It appears that, for now at least, you can only engage in online gameplay on Nintendo Switch Online with friends. It’s possible that Nintendo is worried about letting random gamers communicate with each other without monitoring online, what with the risk of possible abuse or harassment. But it’s still a bummer for gamers who are used to connecting with new users from all over the world while they play on other platforms like PS4 and Xbox One.

Other technical issues plaguing Nintendo Switch Online

Gamers had a lot of technical concerns with Nintendo Switch Online upon its debut. On YouTube and Reddit, fans worried about the service having “no dedicated servers,” which could become a major issue as players sign up en-masse.

“I know servers won’t solve everything,” one Reddit user commented, “but it would definitely help alleviate some of the problems.”

Gamers were also upset that, although cloud saves are available through Nintendo Switch Online, that feature isn’t available for all games.

On another technical note, people on Reddit pointed out that there’s currently no button remapping option for Nintendo Switch Online gameplay.

“No ability to remap buttons, not even using Y for anything, no ability to turn off the UI button text, having to exit a game to change the screen filter, really not acceptable,” whaaa123 commented on Reddit.

There’s a chance some of these issues will be ironed out in the near future, as Nintendo works on fixing kinks and gets feedback from early adopters. But for now, Nintendo Switch Online’s half-baked launch seems to be making a lot of gamers very unhappy.

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