The Switch Online service isn't needed for system updates or buying games online or anything - just online play, the NES games, and save game backups. At launch, previously announced games "Balloon Fight", "Dr. Mario" and "Super Mario Bros". 3, alongside Donkey Kong, Ice Climber, The Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros., Soccer, Super Mario Bros. and Tennis.
There will be 20 NES games available at launch, with more added in the future. The next ten titles will be introduced down the road, and there's a good possibility other consoles will be revisited.
The perks for Nintendo Switch Online will include NES - Nintendo Switch Online, which includes classic NES games with online capability. Finally, Nintendo mentions that those who subscribe to the service will receive special deals and offers for being a member, finally giving players Switch goods to look forward to. Every classic NES game will support voice chat via the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app.
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Nintendo Switch Online App*: The Nintendo Switch Online smartphone application can be used to enhance the online experience for compatible games through voice chat and other features.
Another feature that should intrigue Switch owners is Save Data Cloud Backup, which offers cloud saves for various Nintendo Switch games. It sounds like they will indeed have a Virtual Console-esque type of thing but it is being called Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online. No details yet on whether we will get titles from other Nintendo consoles as well. However, we'll have to wait and see how it handles the game when lots of players are on the screen at once, which is typical of a battle royale game. In addition to those individual prices, those looking to cover multiple players with online can also pick the Family Membership which lasts 12 months for $34.99 and will give access to 7 people of the main subscriber's choosing.
If I don't purchase a Nintendo Switch Online membership plan, will my Nintendo Switch system have any online features?