Five million iOS and Android users have downloaded the Nintendo Switch Online companion app, according to mobile research firm Sensor Tower. This makes up about 25 percent of the console’s install base.
The app launched in July, but Switch’s paid online service just started on September 18. The $20 subscription gives players access to online multiplayer, cloud saving, and a digital collection of classic Nintendo Entertainment System games. But you can’t group up with friends or chat with them through the Switch. You need the companion mobile app to do that (or you could use other services, like Skype or Discord). Nintendo is the only console maker that requires its owners to use an outside app for such online activities.
The launch week of the service increased installs of the app by 76 percent compared to the previous week. Most downloads are coming from U.S. and Japan. About 60 percent are downloading on Android devices, while the other 40 percent are using iOS.
Downloads of the app do not correspond directly with paid subscriptions of the Switch Online service. You can download the app for free, whether or not you’re paying for Switch Online.