You’ll have to pay to play Nintendo Switch games online — except for ‘Fortnite’

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Nintendo

  • Nintendo’s about to launch its first ever paid online service, Nintendo Switch Online, for $20/year.
  • The new service is required to play various Switch games online, including “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” and “Splatoon 2.”
  • “Fortnite” is apparently excluded – a major exception to a huge shift in playing Nintendo games online.

Nintendo’s upcoming online service forces Switch owners to pay $20/year to play games online.

Enjoy playing “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” online for free? How about “Splatoon 2?” Enjoy it while you can: When Nintendo Switch Online launches on September 18, those games will no longer work online without a paid account.

There is, however, one major exception: “Fortnite.”

That’s right – the free-to-play smash-hit “Battle Royale” game won’t require the paid online service on the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo announced as much quietly, in an FAQ that CNET discovered on Friday – it specifically calls out “Fortnite” as an exception to Nintendo’s new paid online service requirement.

No other games are included as exceptions, which leaves open some interesting questions: For starters, what other types of games will be able to circumvent the paid service? Nintendo isn’t saying – we asked, but haven’t heard back as of publishing.

Huh?

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Huh?
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Getty Images/Michael Kovac

So far, it looks like the vast majority of games with online components will require the Nintendo Switch Online paid service.

As previously mentioned, Nintendo’s own “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” and “Splatoon 2” will both require the paid service. Additionally, third-party games like the upcoming “Diablo 3” will apparently require the service. “Fortnite” appears to be an exception because you don’t have to pay to play it – it could be a tough sell to charge Nintendo Switch owners a fee to play a free-to-play game. Assuredly, it doesn’t hurt that “Fortnite” continues to be the biggest game in the world right now.

The red-hot blockbuster “Fortnite” finally arrived on Nintendo’s Switch back in June, nearly a full year after the game launched on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

It was a peanut butter and chocolate-esque pairing: The explosively popular “Fortnite” with the explosively popular Nintendo Switch console. The game is even playable across platforms – Switch players can join up with friends on Xbox One, PC, Mac, and even smartphones (only the PlayStation 4 is excluded).

Even without paying for Nintendo Switch Online, all Switch owners can access a handful of online services through their consoles. You can buy digital games on Nintendo’s eShop storefront, maintain a list of online friends, share in-game images and video to social media, and a handful of other stuff. Apparently we can add “play ‘Fortnite’ online” to that list as well.