Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch's online services will cost less than US$30. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

It was announced that the Nintendo Switch will come with more online multiplayer features with customers being charged for online services. Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima has revealed that the Switch’s annual fee will cost less than Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus.

Nintendo Online Services’ annual fee will be around ¥2,000 to ¥3,000, or about US$20 to US$30, Kimishima told the Japanese newspaper Nikkei. For comparison, Microsoft and Sony both charge their customers US$60 a year for Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus memberships. Nintendo’s annual fee for its online services is also even cheaper than new games for the Nintendo 3DS which usually costs US$39.99.

Nintendo’s pricing for its online services seems fair considering the limitations of its offerings. The company’s free monthly games for example will expire after a month, as pointed out by Engadget. Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus’ free monthly games on the other hand will only expire once a customer’s membership has expired as well.

Nintendo Switch’s online services will function similarly to Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus. It will provide players access to online multiplayer games as well as other social elements like in-game voice chat. The only major difference on how it works on the Switch however is that users will have to do it through a smartphone app, according to ArsTechnica.

This will be the first time that Nintendo will be charging its customers for online services. Both the Wii and the Wii U didn’t require a paid subscription in order to access online multiplayer features.

Charging less than half of what its rivals are offering may just be enough to convince its long-time fans to pay extra for the Switch’s full online features. for those skeptical about Nintendo’s online services, they will be able to try it out for free before the company starts charging customers this fall.

Kimishima also told Nikkei that Nintendo is “studying” the possible addition of virtual reality gaming for the Switch console. “If we are able to resolve the issues with playing [VR] comfortably for long hours, we will support it in one form or another,” he said.

The Nintendo Switch will be available worldwide on March 3.