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While you won’t have to pay to play games online with the Nintendo Switch when the system launches March 3, that fee is coming later this year. But Nintendo is now suggesting it won’t charge as much as some of its competitors.

Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima told Japanese business newspaper Nikkei that the Nintendo Switch Online service will have an annual fee somewhere between 2,000-to-3,000 yen. That’s equivalent to around $18 to $27 per year for access to online multiplayer, monthly downloadable Nintendo Entertainment System and Super NES games, and a smartphone app to manage your friends, parties, and more. If Kimishima sticks to that price range, it’s likely that gamers in the United States will have to pay around $30 per year, which is half the price of Microsoft’s and Sony’s services that cost $60 per year.

Beyond the price, Kimishima also implied that the premium service means that Nintendo will have the resources to deliver a quality online experience. That is something the company has struggled with on its previous consoles.

“With paid [services], we will be able to fully commit to customers,” said Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima.


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But, of course, charging a subscription fee for online multiplayer is primarily about revenues. Microsoft and Sony both generate a lot of cash from their Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus members, respectively, and Nintendo wants to get in on that action to help its profitability. And while Nintendo may not charge as much as the competition, that extra income should help its bottom line.

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