Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is out today, and it provides one of the Nintendo Switch’s most robust online multiplayer experiences yet. It’s easy enough to hop into an online race or battle right now, but later this year, playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe — and every Switch game — online will become more complicated.
The reason for that is a matter of cost. Right now, playing games like Super Bomberman R, Puyo Puyo Tetris and the new Mario Kart 8 Deluxe online costs the glorious price of free. But Nintendo hasn’t been shy about its upcoming, premium Switch online service. The company plans to launch it sometime this fall, at which point it will require all Switch owners to pay an annual subscription fee in order to use any online multiplayer features.
A specific launch date has not yet been revealed, nor has pricing. For most Nintendo-exclusive players, that’s a major deviation from the norm. The Switch’s premium subscription service is the first of its kind on any Nintendo console, even though Sony and Microsoft have gated their console’s multiplayer features behind a paywall for years.
Even though Nintendo has been upfront about the limited-time nature of Switch games’ free online features, it’s easy to forget when playing the console right now. We’ll try to remember that, while we’re competing against our cross-continental friends in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the next few months, all of this free multiplayer we’re doing comes with a time limit.