Nintendo Switch Online membership explained – family plan, cost and best 12-month deals

With Nintendo’s recent announcement of the Switch OLED – or the price cut to the original model that just took effect in in the UK and Europe – you might be thinking about whether Nintendo Switch Online is worth your time and money.

© Nintendo Nintendo Switch Online membership cost and best 12-month deals. Is a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, whether an individual or family plan, worth it?

If you don’t already have an individual or family membership code, then the Nintendo Switch Online features, from cloud saving to online multiplayer functionality, might prove tempting. We’ve got more for you below, including where to get the best deals on 12-month membership codes as things currently stand.

Nintendo Switch Online membership features – what’s it all about, then?

© The Pokémon Company Pokémon Unite trailer.JPG

Shop Nintendo Switch Online membership

Launched in September 2018, Nintendo Switch Online is the gaming company’s third-generation online subscription service, following in the footsteps of Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and Nintendo Network. It’s the counterpart to the likes of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and PlayStation Plus.

Features of Nintendo Switch Online include online multiplayer access for the vast majority of games (although there are some notable free-to-play exceptions where you can access this function without a Switch Online subscription, including Fortnite Battle Royale).

You can also take advantage of cloud storage for a number of Nintendo titles with Switch Online membership. This means that in the event that your Switch console is lost, damaged or stolen, you can download synced data to a new device.

There are, however, some notable exceptions to cloud storage functionality, including some of Nintendo’s most popular titles such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons (which has its own backup functionality), the Nintendo Switch editions of Minecraft, FIFA 18 and FIFA 19, Splatoon 2, and a number of Pokémon titles.

A list of games excluded from Nintendo Switch Online’s cloud save function can be found here.

You can also use the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app (for Apple iOS and Android OS) to unlock voice chat for selected games, along with special features for the likes of Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros Ultimate. This feature is available to Nintendo account holders aged 13 years and older only.

Nintendo Switch Online subscribers can also access a library of classic NES and Super NES games, if you’re in the mood for some Mario, Kirby or Zelda nostalgia. Check out the full list of available titles here.

Related: Nintendo Switch buyer’s guide – Is a Nintendo Switch worth it?

Finally, you can access exclusive member offers as a Nintendo Switch Online subscriber, including retro-style, full-size SNES and NES controllers (albeit wireless, of course) to use with your Switch console. There is a limit on the number of controllers that you can buy.

You can also purchase digital Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers, which are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. They’re only available in pairs, but you can redeem each voucher separately.

The Game Voucher pack costs £84 in the UK, or €99 in Europe, and you can use them to save on selected titles. While you can’t transfer them to another account, you can redeem them as part of a pre-order purchase – as long as the release date falls before the expiry date of your voucher.

Additionally, you can get exclusive in-game items for the likes of Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Splatoon 2 – and you can download Pac-Man 99 and Tetris 99 to play on your Switch, too.

Nintendo Switch Online family plan vs individual plan

© Nintendo Super Mario Party

Related: Best Nintendo Switch accessories

If you’re in a larger household or family group, it might be more cost-effective for you to take up a Nintendo Switch Online family plan and split the fee between you.

The Family Plan is only available with an annual subscription, but if you create a Family Group (of up to eight unique Nintendo accounts, including children’s accounts), then all of you can benefit from family membership.

Does Nintendo Switch Online have a free trial?

New customers who’ve never had Nintendo Switch Online before – and who have set up a Nintendo account – can indeed take advantage of a 7-day free trial via the Nintendo eShop.

You’ll be able to access “online play, voice chat via the smartphone app, Save Data Cloud and Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online services”. However, you won’t be able to purchase NES or SNES controllers during the trial week.

© Nintendo Splatoon 2

Related: Best Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite deals

If you’d like to continue with the service, you can take up automatic renewal after the trial period. Alternatively, if you decide that Nintendo Switch Online isn’t for you, want a break, or would prefer to shop around to see if you can get a discounted membership code – then “you can terminate automatic renewal during the free trial and will not be charged”, per Nintendo.

To do this, head to the Nintendo eShop on your Switch console and log in. Then, select ‘Nintendo Switch Online’ from the sidebar, go to ‘My Membership Settings’ and there should be an option to ‘Terminate Automatic Renewal’.

Automatic renewal will not be set up for customers under 18, but will be activated if you purchase an Individual or Family subscription. Unless you turn automatic renewal off, your subscription will renew 48 hours before it’s due to run out.

Nintendo Switch Online – Is it worth it?

Competitor services like Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and PlayStation Plus have a higher price point, but Nintendo Switch Online doesn’t have quite as wide a feature set.

However, it does offer a competitively-priced route to online play – as well as the nostalgia factor with those NES and SNES games.

The member-exclusive Game Vouchers are also good value and can lead to strong savings on popular titles (for example, at time of writing, you can redeem a voucher to buy The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, saving you £17.99 on its £59.99 RRP).

Nintendo Switch Online membership code cost – and best 12-month deals

© SOPA Images – Getty Images gettyimages-997731620

Nintendo Switch Online individual membership costs £3.49 (or €3.99) per month in the UK and Europe respectively. A 90-day membership is better value, priced at £6.99, or €7.99 in Europe.

However, the best value overall is for a 12-month individual membership code, which usually costs £17.99, or €19.99 in Europe.

That said, at time of writing, CDKeys is offering over 20% off the price of a Nintendo Switch Online 12-month membership code in the UK – you can purchase one there for £13.99. It is also offering a slight discount on the 90-day individual membership, and promises “instant delivery” of the digital codes on purchase.

Additionally, CDKeys lists individual memberships for customers in the US, Australia and New Zealand, and family plan memberships for US customers.

© Nintendo Nintendo Switch Online – 12 Month (365-Day) Membership Code

ShopTo is also offering a discount on Nintendo Switch Online 12-month membership codes, pricing them at £14.85 and promising “instant delivery”. It also offers a competitive price for 90-day memberships, at £5.85.

Nintendo Switch Online family plans are only available for 12 months, priced at £31.49 in the UK and €34.99 in Europe.

However, CDKeys is offering a considerable price cut, pricing a 12-month Nintendo Switch Online family membership at £22.49, while ShopTo prices a 12-month family membership at £24.85. Both sites have their own loyalty points schemes, too, which might sway your decision if you’re a regular customer or intend to buy from either brand again in the future.

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