Consoles: Nintendo May Charge for Access to Multiplayer


Greetings, ladies and gentlemen!

Today’s post is going to be a short one. I’m going to quickly discuss an idea that has never made sense to me. It is a concept that began with Microsoft’s Xbox console, and eventually made its way to Sony’s PlayStation. Now, I hear even Nintendo is planning to implement this idea to their upcoming console, the Switch. The “feature” I am referring to is the online multiplayer subscription for consoles.

Now, the spark for this topic came from a video by AngryJoe on YouTube. I just finished watching his Angry Rant/Reaction to the Nintendo Switch Conference, which aired on the 12th. I didn’t see the conference, but I got a quick overview of what went on from the video. For the most part, I’m excited for the new Nintendo console because of its overall design and the potential line-up of games. However, I was put off by one particular thing that Joe pointed out in his video.

After the launch of the Switch, Nintendo will (eventually) force its users to pay a subscription in order to access online multiplayer features. While I’m not surprised this is happening, I can’t bring myself to praise Nintendo for going this route. It’s a smart idea if they can manage to offer meaningful multiplayer titles. Otherwise, it’s just going to be another subscription people can do without. I can’t see anyone paying to play Smash Bros. online when it’s more fun to play it with your friends in the same room.

For me, the whole concept of consoles charging to access online multiplayer features makes little sense. It’s like charging people to use the internet without providing internet access. People already have to pay an ISP to use the internet, but they can’t access the multiplayer features of their games without this other subscription. It’s not like the subscription affects the speed of a person’s connection. All it does is unlock those specific features people were already paying for when they purchased the game.

I can imagine this kind of thing happening for PC games and failing miserably. It would be like Valve charging an additional fee to access multiplayer features for games purchased on Steam. I can see EA trying this with Origin because they are a cheese-ball company with no respect for their customers. However, Valve would be backpedaling on this idea SO fast due to the massive hate they would receive from every corner of the internet. Luckily, PC gaming has yet to fall into this stupid trend.

One may point to the existence of MMO subscriptions, but there is a massive difference between the two. For World of Warcraft, the subscription gives you access to the whole game, pays for the servers, and pays the developers who work on the regular free updates. For PlayStation and Xbox, the subscription goes to the console publishers (Sony and Microsoft, respectively), who likely don’t pay for the servers that run the games, or pay the developers of their third-party multiplayer titles. Destiny, being an MMO, can’t charge a subscription like WoW because players would be forced into two subscriptions for one title. There would be outrage!

So, Nintendo deciding to move forward with this kind of feature is a bad idea. They’re consoles are already viewed as being more family friendly than other consoles, yet Nintendo is attempting to be taken more seriously (like the Power Rangers reboot). The WiiU currently has more accessible multiplayer because Nintendo doesn’t charge a fee for it. Splatoon, a game seemingly targeted at kids, is a game parents could easily let their children play without worry of spending too much money (beyond the surprising $60 box price, yikes). However, introducing this subscription for Splatoon 2 on the Switch would remove that altogether.

I didn’t like this “feature” when Microsoft started doing it. I was annoyed to learn Sony introduced it with the PlayStation 4. I believe it is a massive mistake for Nintendo to follow this trend. There is nothing worse than forcing your customers to pay a fee that doesn’t actually do anything for them. However, people haven’t called Sony or Microsoft on their shit, so Nintendo is just going to hop on the money train.

What are your thoughts on Nintendo charging for access to online multiplayer features? How do you feel about paying two companies to access your internet on consoles? Which company do you think will break this idiotic trend? Join the discussion below.

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Thanks for reading to the end. I hope you’ll be back for the next one.

War Fist out.

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