INTERNATIONAL - Nintendo Co. underlined its push to win new users to the Switch console by releasing pricing for its online service specifically targeting families, a package that also includes 20 classic games.
A 12-month family subscription to Nintendo Switch Online in the U.S. will cost $34.99 and give access to as many as eight account holders, the Kyoto-based company said in a statement Tuesday. That’s in addition to individual memberships that are $3.99 per month or $19.99 for a full year. Sony Corp.’s PlayStation Plus offers a year’s access for $59.99, the same price as Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox Live Gold.
Nintendo is building on the success of the Switch, which is set to power the company to its biggest profit in eight years, with add-on products and services to reach a broader base of consumers. Last month it released Nintendo Labo, cardboard attachments that let users transform the machine into objects such as a miniature piano and motorcycle handlebars. The online service is scheduled to kick off in September.
Sony Corp.’s PlayStation Network has helped to boost profitability by getting people to buy games online, instead of discs. Digital sales made up 32 percent of game software revenue in the latest quarter, up from 19 percent two years ago. The company had 34.2 million paying subscribers as of March.
Nintendo will also have a smartphone app that enables voice chatting while its online service will let players to compete with each other across the web and access classic titles such as Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. Progress can be saved on cloud servers, addressing a long-time frustration of gamers.
Nintendo sold 15.1 million Switch consoles in the 12 months ended March and is predicting shipments of 20 million for the current fiscal year.
The announcement comes less than two weeks after it appointed 46-year-old Shuntaro Furukawa as its next president to replace the retiring Tatsumi Kimishima.