New details on Nintendo Switch Online, the subscription you’ll likely need to play Animal Crossing online

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Nintendo has released new expanded details on the upcoming paid Nintendo Switch online service set to launch later this year in September.

The main highlights of this week’s news are the promise of cloud save backups and an ongoing library of classic NES titles ready to play online with friends anytime. Nintendo reiterated the core online play feature as part of the subscription as well confirming again that free online play is on the way out later this year.

Introducing cloud backups of game save files is certain to be a welcome change for Nintendo Switch owners, although it’s a shame that it must come packaged with the paid service. But for those paying, it will sure be a nice peace of mind to know that your precious Animal Crossing town is safe on Nintendo’s servers in the event of your system being stolen, lost, or broken.

A library of twenty classic NES games will be available on the service at launch in September too, even using online play with your friends added in. Those games include Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, Dr. Mario, and Donkey Kong, with the full list of titles forthcoming later. Subscribers will be able to play these games all they want at anytime with more games added on an ongoing basis.

While we won’t know with absolute certainty anytime soon, it’s likely that this new paid online subscription will be required to play the inevitable Animal Crossing game for Nintendo Switch online. Nintendo does outline possible exceptions in this announcement but largely sets the expectation of most online games needing the subscription service, stating as follows:

Nintendo Switch games such Splatoon™ 2, ARMS™, Mario Kart™ 8 Deluxe, Mario Tennis™ Aces, and Sushi Striker™: The Way of Sushido, will require a Nintendo Switch Online membership, but other games will vary.

Pricing for the North American market is set at $19.99 USD / $24.99 CAD for a full year on a single account, with other options open for monthly and quarterly payments. A family plan priced at $34.99 USD / $44.99 CAD will also be available for up to 8 accounts in a family group.

In contrast to competing services for online play on Playstation and Xbox systems, Nintendo’s pricing is severely reduced and quite competitive. However the prospect of needing to fork out a subscription fee on a regular basis just to hang out with your buddy’s Animal Crossing town and trade some items online can be quite the downer. It’s bound to hurt especially if you have zero interest in playing other Nintendo titles online.