Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack is a bad deal, no matter how you slice it

Asia's Tech News Daily

I think it’s fair to say that Nintendo Switch Online has been, at best, a mixed bag. Its relatively poor online infrastructure is a far cry from the quality we get from PS Plus and Xbox Live, with semi-frequent disconnects and lag spikes occurring in even the most popular Switch titles including Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2. And that’s before talking about its archaic approach to friends lists and in-game chat.

The base monthly subscription cost, thankfully, is appropriately priced, and Nintendo has done its best to balance out its online service’s poor connection quality with a helping of NES and SNES titles, available to play through dedicated apps on the Switch. These are somewhat nice additions, featuring several great titles (many of which support online play), but it’s insignificant compared to the incredible sold-separately Virtual Console offerings of the those halcyon Wii and Wii U days.

Enter Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack, the company’s latest crack at bolstering its online subscription service. This higher tier plan adds N64 and Sega Genesis / Mega Drive games to its roster of retro collections, with 30 titles available on day one between the two of them. The latter addition of Sega games would have seemed impossible back in the console’s heyday. It’s also attracted the attention of Animal Crossing: New Horizons fans, who can access the upcoming Happy Home Paradise DLC as part of the Expansion Pack plan.

It all sounds pretty great, right? Shame about that price tag.

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Expanded service, expanded price

To appreciate just how disappointing Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack’s price point is, we have to look at its base counterpart. A subscription to Nintendo Switch Online costs $19.99 / £17.99 for a whole year. That’s pretty agreeable, rightly costing less than its competitors on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, and throwing in retro titles alongside hugely fun multiplayer exclusives in the form of Tetris 99 and Pac-Man 99 (and Super Mario Bros. 35, may it rest in peace).

For all its extra goodies, Nintendo seems to have severely overestimated how much Switch owners are actually willing to pay for the Expansion Pack service, launching on October 25, 2021. For it, Nintendo hiked up the cost to an eye-watering $49.99 / £34.99 per year. Strangely, UK players are getting a somewhat better deal here, but it’s still double the cost of the base subscription. US Switch owners will be paying roughly 2.5 times as much if they want to opt into the Expansion Pack service. Ouch.

Unsurprisingly, Nintendo fans haven’t taken this one lying down. The official Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack overview video, uploaded to the company’s YouTube channel, has garnered over 89,000 dislikes at the time of writing. And the number of likes? Just 16,000. If I were Nintendo, I’d be embarrassed, to say the least.

A sugar-coated online experience

It’s perhaps most insidious that Nintendo chose not to unveil Expansion Pack’s price point when the feature was initially announced. That was during the September 23, 2021 Nintendo Direct, where fans were delighted to see N64 and Sega Genesis / Mega Drive games finally arrive on Switch. Of course, most of us expected (and were willing) to be paying a little more for this expanded service. The keyword there being “little.”

Instead, Nintendo opted to quietly announce Expansion Pack’s price during another anticipated showcase, that being the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct, detailing free updates and a paid expansion coming to the island life sim on November 5. If we weren’t so intensely relaxed by Animal Crossing’s wholesomeness, we’d surely have been more incensed in the moment. It wasn’t until just after that the reality set in.

But what really stings most here is that the benefits offered by the Expansion Pack are great. Fans have been clamoring to get N64 represented on the Switch since the launch of NSO, and tossing in Genesis / Mega Drive is a wonderful bonus. And we’d like to hope both apps are updated with new titles on the regular, adding even more value to the service.

That’s about where my compliments end, though. Having access to New Horizons’ Happy Home Paradise DLC is nice, but it’s arguably better value to just buy it outright for the asking price of $24.99 / £22.49, which in itself is a little steep, but at least you’ll own it. If, for whatever reason, you need to unsubscribe from Expansion Pack, you’ll most likely lose access to the DLC.

We hope you like Animal Crossing, because it’s one of Expansion Pack’s only redeeming features (Image credit: Nintendo)

Stacking up to the competition

Yes, Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack is still slightly cheaper than the competition. PS Plus weighs in at $59.99 / £49.99 for the year, while Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is much pricier at $15.99 / £10.99 a month.

However, the latter makes certain that its premium service is worth the cost, bundling the incredible Xbox Game Pass subscription service with both Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Cloud Gaming which allows you to play Game Pass titles on a device of your choice, including Android phones and tablets.

Throw in the fact that all first party Microsoft Game Studios titles land on Game Pass on day one, and you have a service on Xbox consoles that justifies its relatively higher cost. Nintendo Switch Online, when you really break it down, is just giving us games we’ve played countless times before, many of which people who’ve held onto their Wii and Wii U consoles already own.

Perhaps the price point of NSO’s Expansion Pack service would also sting a bit less if the quality of online play was at least passable. But as it stands, Switch is far and away the least stable in terms of connection quality when it comes to the big three console makers. Even with the base subscription’s low cost, I’ve often thought to myself, “why am I paying for this?” when being ejected from a Splatoon 2 match for the third time that day for absolutely no reason.

Here’s hoping Splatoon 3 will be a lot more stable (Image credit: Nintendo)

How can Nintendo fix this, and should it?

Given the overwhelmingly negative response to Expansion Pack’s lofty price point, I think it’s fair to say that Nintendo should reconsider its value proposition. I think there’s two different ways the company could go about this.

First, Nintendo could sweeten the deal by offering even more enticing perks. N64 and Genesis / Mega Drive are nice additions, but what we’re all really waiting for is outliers like the Gamecube and Sega Dreamcast.

Those would be groundbreaking extras, especially as physical copies of games on those consoles can be notoriously expensive, and would be something the competition couldn’t hope to achieve. This is obviously more of a pipe dream response, though, and something Nintendo is unlikely to achieve whether it wants to or not.

The second, more realistic option would be to simply drop Expansion Pack’s price, and not even by that much. I think $39.99 / £29.99 is a more palatable price point, and honestly that’s about as much as I’d personally be willing to pay, unless Nintendo does genuinely plan to greatly expand the service beyond what’s currently been announced.

And while I’ll likely be buying Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Happy Home Paradise DLC separately, offering it as part of Expansion Pack’s bundled content is a novel idea. I’d be interested to see Nintendo make this a trend: offer substantial DLC packs as part of the Expansion Pack roster of extras. Realistically, I can see this happening for Splatoon 3, if that game is to feature paid content akin to Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion.

(Image credit: Future)

Mixed messaging

If Nintendo is playing the long game with the Expansion Pack service, then, it absolutely should have communicated this better. As it stands, the subscription cost is overpriced, with nothing in the way of genuine improvements to the service overall, such as connection strength and other basic quality of life features enjoyed by the competition, such as creating party and game invites.

Expansion Pack has the potential to grow, eventually, into a very worthwhile subscription. But right now, I simply can’t justify the extra cost for a bunch of (still great!) retro games I’ve played before and access to a DLC expansion that I’m going to be buying anyway.

Hopefully, Nintendo has taken on board the criticisms levied towards the initial Expansion Pack service. The problems lie in both price and content, and when the company is missing the mark on both, then it should be doing everything in its power to remedy the situation by offering a higher tier subscription service that’s worth the cost.

  • Nintendo Switch Online N64 games: a brief introduction to every Expansion Pack game
Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

DNA storage gathers momentum as US university discloses exciting new proof-of-concept

Scientists at the Center for Synthetic Biology from the Northwestern University, Illinois, have managed to produce a so-called proof of principle demonstration on DNA storage encoding three bits of information ... Read more »

NFT in Hong Kong: Bored Ape Yacht Club owners seek merchandise deals, art exhibitions for cartoon primates

When 27-year-old Raye Chung from Hong Kong bought herself a non-fungible token (NFT) from the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) project in July, she had little inkling that this portrait ... Read more »

How to watch Haney vs Diaz Jr and live stream boxing free and from anywhere

WBC lightweight champion of the world Devin Haney (26-0) is undefeated but also unloved despite his obvious talents, his detractors adamant that he’s never faced a genuine test. But there’s ... Read more »

3 Ways to Eliminate Data Biases at Your Company

AI and machine learning are becoming synonymous with business success. Everywhere you look, companies are utilizing data to reach new heights. In spite of its benefits, though, utilizing data analysis ... Read more »

Strictly first as Rose and Giovanni perform ‘heart-stopping' dive lift

Strictly viewers were left stunned by Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice’s “heart-stopping” dive lift. In Saturday’s episode (4 December), the EastEnders star performed an American smooth alongside her professional partner ... Read more »

Review: The Lectric XP 2.0 fat-tire folding ebike is a huge bargain

While I personally tend to gravitate toward lighter ebikes with stealthy motor systems, these tend to have weaker motors and drive up the price. Sometimes you just want a powerful ... Read more »

'I did it for my kids': Woman loses over 8 st in 10 months

Claire Harris is proud of her impressive revenge body since shedding 8st 10lbs after her husband left her. (Caters) A woman has revealed her pride at her impressive weight loss, ... Read more »

Lenovo may have solved the WFH problem for good

Working from home can be tedious especially in a cramped apartment which is why Lenovo has announced the launch of a new initiative that will allow employees to work from ... Read more »

Saudi Arabia Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton takes dramatic pole as Max Verstappen crashes out at final corner

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images) Lewis Hamilton will start the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix on pole after a dramatic qualifying session in Jeddah. The Mercedes driver went fastest on his final ... Read more »

‘Just sitting there dead': study finds mass tree losses in NSW after severe drought

The drought and heatwaves that seared eastern Australia in the lead-up to the 2019-20 black summer bushfires killed as much as 60% of the trees in some areas that escaped ... Read more »

NHS could roll out all-in-one test for Covid, flu and RSV to ease winter pressures

test – NARONG SANGNAK/Shutterstock The UK is in talks to roll out an all-in-one test that can detect Covid, flu and RSV to help alleviate winter pressures facing the NHS. ... Read more »

Best white PC cases 2021: top chassis for your gaming computer

Choosing the best white PC case over the usual black is really a matter of preference. However, while it all boils down to taste, there are a few benefits to ... Read more »

‘Mr Loophole' calls for mobile phone ban at the wheel, despite defending clients for same offence

Nick Freeman poses for a photo in front of his Ferrari Portofino – Jon Super Motorists should be banned from using hands-free phones at the wheel, according to the lawyer ... Read more »

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson commissioned data on masks but didn't release it after it showed they were effective: report

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson delivers the State of the State address in Jefferson City in January 2021.AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's office asked the state health department ... Read more »

Lewis Hamilton to face no further action for yellow flag incident at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

(AFP via Getty Images) Lewis Hamilton will face no further action after he was cleared of failing to ignore double yellow flags during practice at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. ... Read more »

Pestering women in the street to be outlawed

A new offence of public sexual harassment seems more likely, with the Law Commission likely to recommend it – Ian West/PA Wire Pestering women in the street or in pubs ... Read more »

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE leaks again, this time in its official cases

It’s been a busy week for those trying to keep tabs on the various leaks and rumors around the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, and we’ve got some more imagery to ... Read more »

Covid will pose threat to UK for next five years, experts warn

Coronavirus could be a serious issue for years to come (AFP via Getty Images) Covid will be a threat to the UK for at least the next five years, scientific ... Read more »

Shop Sur La Table's holiday sale and snag a top-rated Dutch oven for 74% off

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. If you’re planning on cooking for all your gatherings this holiday ... Read more »

How space is being used to track South Africa's critically endangered ecosystem

Conservationists in South Africa have developed a new app that will help them to monitor South Africa’s unique renosterveld landscapes using satellite images to detect when farmers are illegally encroaching ... Read more »

Baby whose 'body is turning to stone' in race against time to fund miracle cure

Lexi Robins who suffers from super-rare condition Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP). (SWNS) A couple are facing a desperate “race against time” to fund a miracle cure for their baby girl ... Read more »

New tools on Google for finding a doctor: Talking Tech podcast

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current ... Read more »

Sony PlayStation 5, PlayStation 5 Digital Edition pre-orders go live on December 6 at 12 noon

Looking to buy a PS5 in India, then you just might be in luck. The Sony PlayStation 5 will be back on shelves in India on December 6 at 12:00 ... Read more »

Where have the non-franchise blockbusters gone? To Netflix and Amazon, of course

It’s become fashionable of late for lauded A-list directors to express their dislike for superhero movies. The most profile was Ridley Scott, who said, among other things, that “their scripts ... Read more »

Buy now, pay later is a disaster waiting to happen this Christmas

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) is growing increasingly popular among UK shoppers, but many are oblivious to the dangers of the new payment practice, a report from Barclays suggests. The ... Read more »

Is Nvidia GeForce Now RTX 3080 really the next generation of cloud gaming?

For over a year now, trying to get hold of a new graphics card has been a bit of a nightmare, thanks to the combination of a global pandemic and ... Read more »

Bomb squad called to ER after a patient turned up with a WWII artillery shell lodged in his rectum, police say

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in Gloucester, England.Google A man presented at an emergency room in Gloucester, England, with a “munition in his rectum,” police say. Doctors removed the World War II ... Read more »

Wolves vs Liverpool live stream: how to watch Premier League from anywhere

Back in spitting distance of league leaders Chelsea, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds head to Molineux this afternoon as they look to add to their run of three consecutive wins. Read on ... Read more »

Year in review: What the latest tech says about 2021 – and what it may tell us about 2022

New form factors, gadgets with a focus on family and more tech aimed to get our noses out of our smartphones – while still capturing life’s memorable moments. These are ... Read more »

The Huawei Mate V could arrive with a foldable heat pipe

There hasn’t exactly been a flood of leaks around the Huawei Mate V – supposedly a clamshell foldable that’s on the verge of launching – but we’ve heard some rumors ... Read more »

The Google Pixel Watch will be exactly what Wear OS needs

According to people familiar with the matter, Google is bringing out a Pixel Watch next year – a flagship device showing off Wear OS in the same way that the ... Read more »

From NFTs to Apple and the metaverse: Here's what you can expect in 2022

Just when we thought it was safe to get back into the real world, new COVID variants emerge to brush us back – continuing to transform all aspects of our ... Read more »

The Tech Weekender: Top news in the world of technology this week

Earlier this week, Twitter co-founder and chief executive officer Jack Dorsey stepped down from his position. Dorsey founded Twitter nearly 15 years ago on March 21, 2006. Dorsey said in ... Read more »

Nvidia RTX 2060 12GB won't have Founders Edition, sparking price concerns

Nvidia’s refresh of the RTX 2060 with 12GB of RAM (and pepped-up specs elsewhere) won’t have a Founders Edition, after a rather confusing apparent reversal of course when Team Green ... Read more »

More users can now install Android TV apps through their smartphone

Google has started rolling out functionality that enables users to install apps on their Android-enabled smart TVs through their phones.Now, users can finally install an app on their Android TV ... Read more »

6G will see convergence of terrestrial and satellite communication networks: DoT Secretary

The 6G broadband technology will ring in convergence of the currently used terrestrial and satellite communication networks for the first time and also change the way people interact with machines ... Read more »

West Ham vs Chelsea live stream: how to watch Premier League from anywhere

It’s east versus west as Thomas Tuchel’s Blues make the short trip to Stratford looking to maintain their place at the top of the table. Read on to find out ... Read more »

Black holes: what we think we know, we don't

It took , but . Schwarzschild’s solution describes the gravity of an isolated, spherical and unchanging object — the enigmatic black hole — but it was not understood for many ... Read more »

5G spectrum sale, network rollouts in Q2 next year: Ashwini Vaishnaw

Communications and IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw Thursday said that by the second quarter of next year, the auction process of next generation or 5G airwaves and network rollouts would start ... Read more »

WhatsApp web users get new stickers feature with beta update

Last month, WhatsApp rolled out a feature for the web users that allows them to create stickers from photos. As per a report by WABetaInfo, the platform is now releasing ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic