Is the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Worth the Price Increase?

Nintendo recently announced their pricing details for the Expansion to Nintendo Switch Online. Speculations have been made since the September 2021 Nintendo Direct first announced the planned program, and with the pricing details revealed those speculations have changed to debate. We (Edward Varnell and Jack Brough) would like to discuss the value of the Expansion Pack to help you evaluate the value of the program.

(Editor’s note: all prices discussed are in USD.)

Pricing Details for NSO+EP, Sony PS+, and XBOX Live Gold

  • Nintendo Switch Online ($19.99/year for solo and $34.99/year for a family plan of up to eight people)
    • Online Play
    • NES and SNES games
    • Cloud save data
    • Smartphone App
    • Special Offers (Tetris 99 for example)
    • + Expansion Pack ($49.99/year for solo and $79.99/year for a family plan of up to eight people)
      • Nintendo 64 games
      • Sega Genesis games
      • Animal Crossing Happy Home Paradise (can also be purchased for $24.99 as a stand alone paid DLC)
  • PlayStation + ($59.99/year)
    • Online multiplayer
    • PS5 and PS4 games added every month
    • Member discounts on games and DLC
    • Cloud save data
  • XBOX Live Gold ($59.99/year)
    • Online Multiplayer
    • Two free games each month, including XBOX 360 backward compatibility
    • Discounts on games and DLC

Pros by Edward Varnell

I love it and think it’s a fair price. It’s not that expensive, and you’re getting games for 4 consoles and within those games, some could be imported titles like Dezaemon 3D by Athena Co. Ltd and Virtual Pro Wrestling 2.: Odo Keisho (Royal Road Succession) by Asmik Ace Entertainment. With the N64, there’s quality of life enhancements such as 60 frames per second and a higher resolution.  The Sega Genesis will also add its unique library of titles to the service that were in Japan only for the Mega Drive (the name for the Genesis in Japan and Europe). Also, with the Animal Crossing Paid DLC included with this expansion pack, there are more titles that can receive this content through it. If it isn’t time exclusive and its on there forever, this can bring players to the service also. Think of all the The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2 content on there!

Another reason I am for this is that gamers get to experience certain franchises fans love, and  see why these classics are held so dear. For Nintendo, this is a good business move considering a lot of these gamers are out of print and with the continued function of suspended points, the rewind feature, and easier online access, these games can be enjoyed by anyone. With an annual renewal and more titles to release on the service for each console, it will all add up in the long run.

$50.00 for older gamers should seem reasonable. There are missing features that we’ve become accustomed to. Yes. it doesn’t have chat functionality but we . Yes, it needs an internet connection to play them on the go but most are playing digital and physical games on Switch that they purchase. If they connect to an internet source, they can choose a game and have fun with that title. I prefer one time payment over monthly payments for subscription models. I do have Hulu, Netflix, and other entertainment subscriptions that use the monthly payment model. A lot of that adds up over time and they can increase the monthly payments while delivering more content. With this one price, we’re getting that but it won’t raise up once you pay for it    

$50.00 isn’t asking too much for 4 consoles, cloud saves, quality of life improvements, and import titles most of us U.S. gamers haven’t played. It’s all optional and if you feel like it’s not justifiable, you can stick with the current Switch online service. We’re all just receiving this news and as much discussion is happening, I’m personally jumping onboard because of the games I have yet to play and finish. Playing these classics, refreshing my skills, not having to search for hardware and software, playing with other Boss Rush crew members and community, dancing along Streets of Rage 2 as we take down Mr. X and playing all of The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is something that excites me. All this for $50.00 and knowing that more will come down the line. It’s a simple price point and for those who are on the family plan can still chip in and play those games. Yes, the games releases aren’t frequent but with so much releasing on Switch itself and time being a factor, it’s a great price offer to those who want more content and know that the titles they are starting out with is a major force to be reckoned with. 

So in conclusion, I say it’s worth it and whenever you want to upgrade, it’ll be there and maybe with more titles than you expect.

Cons by Jack Brough

The question of value has been on my mind recently regarding Nintendo since the release of the Switch OLED. The pricing details to go along with the Expansion Pack has me questioning how much I will support my favorite gaming company since the increase in price is more than twice the amount as the original. 

You could argue the value of the original Nintendo Switch Online for only being $19.99/year. The NES and SNES games, with much needed added features, were a great addition to the Switch when the service first launched. However, the games that have been released since have been questionable and released at an inconsistent rate. The additions of N64 and Sega Genesis games is an exciting addition, but we are paying $15/system more for games that have been released 25 years ago. In comparison, Sony and Microsoft receive newer games at a set release window. I feel that you receive more for your dollar with Sony and/or Microsoft. Newer games typically sell for $60 to $$70 at launch. There are sales that do occur, but even at 50% off the discount shows its value for a subscriber of $60/year. Previous games on PS+ include Rocket League and Hollow Knight, games that have are highly praised for their advancements in their categories. These types of games help propel the player into avenues that they may not have tried before. Nintendo’s backlog of games is fantastic, but recent releases help keep new and old players engaged.

The online play is also unreliable for many games. Of course many factors play a part in online gaming, but personally I have more errors occur on my Switch compared to my Sony devices. Features that have been a staple from Sony and Microsoft are missing or mishandled through the clumsy Nintendo Switch Online phone app. Poor performances have been occurring for top selling games such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate since the program launched in 2018. Achievements, voice chat, text chat, game sharing, and party chat have been included with Sony and Microsoft for years and with the price increase not improving the online function, Nintendo will still be behind the times.

Lastly, the addition of the Animal Crossing New Horizons $24.99 DLC is a good value for those players that would be looking to purchase the new features. For others that have abandoned their islands this may not be enough to call them back. For those players that are looking to buy Happy Home Paradise, an extra $5 will get you N64 and Genesis is a great value! Unfortunately I feel most people will not be going back to provide Tom Nook with more indentured servant’s work. For those who do not plan to utilize this feature, it becomes a waste of money. This appears to be an attempt by Nintendo to justify the increase of their online service, but it will ultimately fall flat. The install base for Animal Crossing: New Horizons is roughly one in every three Switch owner. I would like to see the amount of daily players the Animal Crossing game receives currently to be able to share those who may benefit from the services’ inclusion. I suspect that the majority of people may be paying for a service that will not be utilized to its fullest extent.

Overall I am undecided on what I will be doing when the Expansion Pack launches at the end of the month. I love Nintendo, but the additions to the dated online service in place do not add up to me at the time. Maybe I will change my mind months after the launch, but the library of games for the new systems will need to be fantastic and surprising. We will see if Nintendo can change my mind.

So what do you think? Is this a good value for your money? Do we expect too much from companies to provide more and more? Let us know in the comments below or join the Boss Rush Discord

Sources: Nintendo, PlayStation, XBOX, image source, NSO problems

2 thoughts on “Is the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Worth the Price Increase?

Leave a Reply