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Nintendo reveals long-awaited Switch Online launch date, features, and pricing

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May 8, 2018, 1:04 PM EDT (Updated)

More than a year after the console launched, Nintendo Switch users are finally getting the online features they've been waiting for. The console is already a smash, and finally fleshing out the online features is the next major step.

Nintendo announced this week that it will launch Switch Online, a new subscription service for Switch players including new features and classic games, this September, adding to a gaming experience that's already been immensely successful for the world's most famous video game company.

In addition to online play, the Switch Online membership will also include Save Data Cloud Backup, a much-requested feature that will allow players to save their data online. Though details about how that particular feature will work are scarce at this point, it's a big addition for frequent Switch gamers.

The service will also include access to several classic Nintendo Entertainment System games — including The Legend of ZeldaDonkey Kong, and Super Mario Bros. — for online play, with more to be added "regularly." Switch Online will also include a new smartphone app that will add even more features, including voice chat with friends during online play and an "Online Lounge" where you can send and receive messages and friend requests. 

So, what will it cost? Individual memberships are priced at $3.99 per month if you purchase one month at a time, or $19.99 for a full year. Nintendo will also offer a Family Membership for groups of up to eight Nintendo Account holders for $34.99 per year. 

The Switch Online news comes just weeks after Nintendo announced that the Switch has driven massive profit gains for the company in the year or so since its launch, with the number of units sold absolutely dwarfing sales figures for the Wii U console. Between that and the increase in game sales driven by the Switch's success, Nintendo is clearly aiming to do everything it can to keep this wave of consumers happy, and Switch Online is a big step in that direction.

For more information, including an FAQ about the Switch Online service, head over to Nintendo's official website.