Nintendo's online gaming service for the Switch, previously expected later this year, will now launch in 2018, the company announced today. For now, online competitive and cooperative multiplayer features will continue to be free as they are in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and others. Nintendo says online lobbies and its smartphone app voice chat service will be available in a "free, limited version" at some point this summer, and will require you to sign up for a Nintendo Account.
The Switch online service will be priced at a lower price point than similar services on Xbox and PlayStation, at just $19.99 a year. You'll also be able to subscribe to the service for shorter periods: $3.99 per month or $7.99 for three months.
If you eventually do subscribe to the online service next year, you'll be able to download retro games as part of what Nintendo calls the "Classic Game Selection" (which may not be the final name for the service) – something that is apparently separate from its Virtual Console service. Nintendo has said that "subscribers will get to download a compilation of classic titles with added online play, such as Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight and Dr. Mario." The company has also said that it will provide special offers to subscribers, but has been particularly vague, noting that it "may include discounts on select digital games and content."