The Nintendo Switch’s online features, including Nintendo eShop access and social media connectivity, will be added as part of the console’s day-one patch. A system update that adds in all network capabilities will go live ahead of the console’s launch on March 3, according to Nintendo.
The specific features made available in the day-one update are as follows:
- Nintendo eShop access
- Online multiplayer
- Sharing images to social networks
- Linking Nintendo Accounts
- Connecting to public internet hotspots
A Nintendo press release this morning did say that the “system update downloads in the background, is designed to install quickly and doesn't disrupt gameplay.” This is in contrast to the massive Wii U day-one patch that took many would-be players hours to download and install, delaying that new console thrill.
The launch day update is an essential one, although there isn’t much in the way of online functionality for the Switch at launch. The console will arrive without any streaming apps, nor will its marquee launch titles — Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and 1-2-Switch chief among them — feature online multiplayer functionality.
The Switch also won’t have an internet browser, likely making network features a low priority for many early adopters. Sharing screenshots from hotly anticipated games like Breath of the Wild should be popular, however; the Nintendo eShop will also likely be useful, especially for those who prefer to download their games. (Hopefully they’ve already invested in some beefy microSD cards for expanded storage, though; the Switch doesn’t have much on-board memory available.)
Nintendo Accounts are also crucial for playing online games and buying eShop titles on the Switch. The unified account system keeps track of purchases and will be used for finding and joining matches for future online multiplayer games like Splatoon 2. The service links out to Nintendo’s rewards program, My Nintendo, so that users can get special bonuses for playing and buying Nintendo games.
Watch: Nintendo Switch unboxing and impressions
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