Image credit: Nintendo
The Nintendo Switch is undeniably a hit, and it's all the more remarkable for achieving that success without a subscription-based online service such as Xbox Live on the Xbox One and PlayStation Network on the PlayStation 4.
Nintendo does, in fact, eventually plan to launch such a service called Nintendo Switch Online, but according to a page on the official Switch site for Italy (opens in new tab), we could be waiting until the autumn of 2018 for it.
Now, before you get your feathers all ruffled, it's possible that the page was all just a mistake. Not long after WCCFTech (opens in new tab) spotted the date Autumn 2018 date, Nintendo updated the page with a vague "2018" date. Which, of course, means we could see it next month or we could see it in December.
On the other hand, it's possible someone included the info a little sooner than Nintendo executives would have preferred. A later launch date would make some sense as we've heard almost nothing about the service since Nintendo first tried it out with the release of Splatoon 2. We've reached out to Nintendo for clarification and will update this article if we receive a response.
Reluctant to switch
Nintendo Switch Online is worth looking forward to, even when considering that its main purpose of letting you play cooperatively or competitively online is currently available for free while Nintendo figures things out.
Eventually you'll be able to use the Nintendo Switch Online app (which already exists in limited form on iOS (opens in new tab) and Android (opens in new tab)) to set up play appointments with friends and, a little awkwardly, chat with them during matches through the app.
Beyond that, you'll also be able to play free versions of classic Nintendo games like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Dr. Mario with extra online features, which presumably means online cooperative and competitive play.
As a bonus, the service isn't even that expensive compared to its competitors, as a single month will cost only $3.99 (around £3.10/AU$5.40) while a year will cost you just $19.99 (around £15.50/AU$27). As a downside, it doesn't come with online save data backups, which is probably the most requested feature for the Switch.
Another delay would be far from surprising at this point, especially considering that the service was supported to launch not long after the console's March release and then was pushed back to "2018" in June.
At this point, though, it's worth wondering if Nintendo is so impressed by the Switch's sales that they're wary of chasing off potential buyers with subscription requirements. Only time will tell.
- Don't miss our round-up of the best Nintendo Switch games