Nintendo switches launch date for paid online service to 2018

After months of speculation, Japanese gaming giant Nintendo has finally shed some more light on its upcoming subscription-based online service for the Nintendo Switch via a post on the company's official website.

Initially expected to arrive shortly after the Switch's retail release, the launch of Nintendo's new paid online gaming service has been pushed back to sometime in 2018. In the meantime, Switch owners will continue to be able to compete against friends and play co-op online for free, so long as they hold a Nintendo Account. 

Thankfully, players won't have to wait until next year to chat online and set play appointments, with Nintendo announcing that a limited free version of its online service smart device app will arrive sometime in Summer 2017 (that's Winter 2017 for those of us residing below the equator). 

Along with this news, Nintendo has also announced the subscription service's pricing. Customers can choose to pay $3.99 (around £3.10/AU$5.40) for a 1-month membership, $7.99 (around £6.20/AU$10.80) for a 3-month membership and $19.99 (around £15.50/AU$27) for a 12-month membership.

Though it had been speculated that Nintendo would launch a Virtual Console alongside its paid online service, the information divulged today puts that in doubt. 

We've known for a while that a subscription to the service would include access to a classic Nintendo game each month, though it's now been confirmed that these will be part of a compilation in which the selected games will receive added online play. 

So far, the NES titles Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight and Dr. Mario have been announced as part of the compilation. No mention was made regarding the rumored launch of a traditional Virtual Console for Switch, which is expected to include titles from previous Nintendo consoles, including SNES, Nintendo 64, Wii and, for the first time, GameCube

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