Nintendo's first foray into a paid online gaming service received two major shake-ups on Thursday: a delay and a content upgrade.
A Nintendo announcement clarified that Nintendo Switch Online's original paid launch window of "fall 2017" has been bumped to a vague "2018" window. The service will cost as little as Nintendo had hinted to in February: $20 per year, or you can dip your toes in by paying $4 per month. (That's well below the $60/year rate for PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold.) UK prices had not been confirmed as of press time.
In good news, that means Nintendo won't charge for online Switch gaming for at least a few more months. (The paid service will eventually be required to access newer games' online multiplayer modes, though Nintendo still hasn't clarified whether older, pre-service games will be affected.) In bad news, the original plan was for the service to launch as a fully working free trial by this summer, including ties to the Nintendo Switch Online smart device app. Now, Nintendo says the only thing to expect by this summer is a "limited" version of that app. Nintendo did not clarify which of the app's advertised features (which include online matchmaking, voice chat with friends, and game-invite management) will make it into the limited version.