When Nintendo revealed the Nintendo Switch, it also announced that there would be a subscription fee for the Nintendo Switch online services similar to that of the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Gold. Starting in August 2017, if you want to play online with the Nintendo Switch you will need to subscribe to their online service. However, Nintendo is lagging behind Sony and Microsoft in terms of their offering even though they have ideal templates to build on.
Also like Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo will off a monthly game you can play with your subscription again, similar to the offering of other platform holders, until you look closely.
On the Nintendo site, the description reads
Monthly game download
Subscribers will get to download and play a Nintendo Entertainment System™ (NES) or Super Nintendo Entertainment System™ (Super NES) game (with newly-added online play) for free for a month.
Unlike Sony and Microsoft where the game you download is yours for the life of your subscription, or in the case of Microsoft and Xbox 360 games which are backwards compatible on Xbox One you get to keep forever, Nintendo is allowing you to play the game for that month. At the end of the month, the game goes away and if you want to continue playing, you need to buy the game.
Nintendo isn’t even offering current generation games, instead, you’ll be offered games from the Virtual Console where NES and SNES games will be on offer.
Nintendo has had years of seeing how the other consoles do it and could have easily used it as a template for their own Nintendo Switch online service, instead they have chosen to totally miss the mark. The only redeeming feature will be if Nintendo offers the service at a fraction of the cost of Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus subscriptions but it is unlikely. Due to the fact it is Nintendo, they won’t be held to the same standards as the other two because they are Nintendo, look at the pitiful game launch lineup as an example. Sony and Microsoft would never get away with a lineup like that.
The Nintendo Switch launches on the 3rd March 2017 and is available for pre-order now. Although, as it is Nintendo they have dropped the ball on making sure they have enough units to meet demand. Or they could be artificially generating demand by not making enough available which Nintendo appears to have done in the past with the NES Classic Edition and previous consoles.