We find ourselves once again on the eve of another Nintendo Direct, speculating on what announcements will be made. As with every Nintendo Direct, people are hoping for some Animal Crossing news or some new information about Metroid Prime 4. Theories aside, the one thing we can safely assume will be there is information detailing Nintendo’s online service which is set to launch on September 18th.
At the moment we have some information currently available to us provided by Nintendo themselves, but there are still a lot of questions left unanswered. Most people will want to know about the rotating library of classic games you’ll get access to as a member. Things like multiplayer features that will be added into certain games are confirmed, with Super Mario Bros. 3 being the first example of how it will work.
I also assume that the added online functionality will result in officially sanctioned Nintendo leaderboards for their classic titles, which if done well, could be Nintendo acknowledging and supporting the competitive scenes that have cropped up around their games which would be a really nice change of pace for them.
But aside from that, there’s very little else to look forward to here. Sure you’ll get access to cloud saves (which is absurdly behind a paywall and doesn’t support all games), but there seems to be very little else being offered here. On top of that, if one of the big draws is the library of retro games to play, I’m curious to see how Nintendo will handle that when you’re not connected to any internet source. They seem to be so terrified of piracy and the internet in general, that I’m not entirely certain they’ll allow you to play any of these games offline.
For only $20 for a year the service is surprisingly reasonable, but I’m just not confident in Nintendo’s ability to provide a compelling reason for me to participate. Personally, I have no interest in playing any of their current games online, and there are plenty of ways for someone to play Super Mario Bros. 3 without paying $20 a year for it.
Maybe tomorrow Nintendo will come out with some really interesting things that make me want to engage with their service. I really hope they nail this thing, because asking people to pay for a thing they were getting for free since the launch of the Switch is going to be a big ask, regardless of the price.