N64 and Sega Genesis games are coming to Nintendo Switch Online, but they’re locked behind an additional, anti-consumer subscription plan.
In its most recent Direct presentation, Nintendo announced select N64 and Sega Genesis/Mega Drive games will soon be coming to Nintendo Switch Online. The caveat, however, is that they require another subscription. The Switch Nintendo 64 and Genesis titles are only available to those who opt into the new NSO + Expansion Pack plan, launching in late October. Nintendo has not revealed the pricing for this new service, but it will presumably tack on an additional fee. Charging extra to access Nintendo’s latest round of decades-old ports is entirely anti-consumer, especially when the standard NSO subscription offers so little.
The standard Nintendo Switch Online subscription does already come with a wealth of retro games. Members can play a variety NES and Super Nintendo games, with the added benefit of emulation features like save states, all for no additional charge. However, access to these titles is one of the few benefits of subscribing to NSO, a service that is woefully behind other online networks in the industry.
Nintendo Switch Online currently costs $20 per year, if all 12 months are purchased at once. This is actually fairly cheap; both PlayStation and Xbox charge $60 – three times NSO’s price – for a year’s premium online subscription. But compared to the other subscriptions, NSO is almost useless. It’s required to play Switch games online, but the system still uses archaic Friend Codes instead of letting users create designated usernames. It also doesn’t offer any subscriber-only deals on premium Nintendo games, which are notorious for staying at full price years after launch. Nintendo Switch Online doesn’t even offer any sort of party chat system, requiring Switch owners to have the NSO smart phone app to talk with friends or teammates.
Nintendo Switch Online Is Barely Worth Its Current Price
According to Nintendo, there are “100+ classic NES and Super NES games” available via Nintendo Switch Online. The Expansion Pack plan will bring just nine N64 games and 14 Sega Genesis games to the Switch, though more are expected at a later time. Many fans are excited to see these join the collection, but simply adding them to the existing NSO plan would have been only a step towards offering something actually worth the price.
Instead of offering Switch N64 and Genesis games as a means of improving its already lackluster online service, Nintendo is taking the greedy route, adding an even more exclusive subscription on top of its supposedly premium membership. The Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack plan may not add more than an $10 to $15 extra to the yearly price of NSO, but even this would be far too much.
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