Last week, Nintendo scheduled their latest Nintendo Direct presentation. Unfortunately, there was an earthquake in Japan, delaying the event, and it was rescheduled for this week. During the presentation, little to no new information was presented about the imminent Nintendo Switch Online service, instead detailing the information we already know about the $20 per year subscription service. Following the presentation, however, Nintendo published some new information to their website, giving us a better look at some of the rules and regulations surrounding the service.
Just like the Xbox and PlayStation, Nintendo's Switch Online will allow you to store game saves in their online services. This gives players the ability to play across devices while maintaining their game data. For Switch Online, simply sign in to another Switch and easily access your existing game data. Nintendo did find a way to separate their cloud save feature from the other platforms, and it's not making a lot of gamers happy.
Microsoft's cloud save feature is free to use, with or without a paid Xbox Live subscription. Xbox simply requires a Microsoft account, which is offered for free, and a OneDrive account, which is free with the Microsoft account. PlayStation requires you to have a paid PlayStation Plus account to use cloud saves. If a user stops paying for their PlayStation Plus account, Sony will keep their cloud saves for 6 months, allowing you to restore their account without losing data. Nintendo, like Sony, requires a paid Switch Online subscription but gives absolutely no leniency or gap time if you stop paying for the service. If you stop paying for the service, the company says they are "unable to guarantee that cloud save data will be retained after an extended period of time from when your membership is ended."
Classic NES Games
One feature that comes with the Switch Online service that helps entice gamers is online-capable classic NES games. This is similar in nature to the free games that Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus and Twitch Prime offer to their subscribers. For the entirety of your Switch Online subscription, you will get access to these games. To be able to continue using these games, gamers will be required to connect their Switch consoles to the internet at least once per week.
If this requirement sounds familiar, it is because Microsoft originally planned to have the same requirement for Xbox One owners, as announced at their final E3 presentation before launching the console. Gamers revolted and threatened to boycott the console entirely, causing Microsoft to abandon their plans. While gamers seem unhappy about this requirement, there has been nowhere near the same reaction to the same requirement from Nintendo, making it hard to believe that Microsoft actually had anything to worry about a few years ago.
As for the requirement, it is perfectly reasonable to ensure a valid license for the games. There is the possibility that the console has been reported stolen, and you don't want someone to have an extra reason to want to steal the device. The attached account may also have been terminated for a variety of reasons, including cancelation of service and a ban for cheating.