Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack Membership: Is It Worth It?

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If you’re a Nintendo Switch player, you’re probably already familiar with the Nintendo Switch Online membership, which allows you to use in-game online features, such as multiplayer modes or access to community-created content. Since 2021, a second annual subscription has been available and provides additional access to a few downloadable add-ons for popular games, as well as catalogs of classic games from older Nintendo consoles, such as the Nintendo 64, SEGA Genesis, Game Boy Advance and more. Here’s everything you need to know about Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership!

Why Do I Need An Online Subscription?

Even though pretty much all games are playable offline, many features are only accessible with a Nintendo Switch Online membership. For example, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which has broken record sales since its release, is fully playable offline. However, to access personalized content created by the online community and to visit islands created by other players, or to play online with friends, you need a subscription. This is a subscription principle that is prevalent for most consoles on the market today. The online subscription also allows you to save game data on the Cloud, which is a significant selling point, and gives you access to the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app, as well as several exclusive offers and discounts.

Note that you don’t need a Nintendo Switch Online membership to access the Nintendo eShop, the virtual store where you can buy games online; only Wi-Fi access is required. It is also possible to play multiplayer games in local mode (couch co-op) without a Nintendo Switch Online membership and internet access, but this requires that all players be gathered in one room with a sufficient number of consoles and that the chosen game be compatible.

What is the Expansion Pack?

The membership including the Expansion Pack provides access to all the benefits of the standard Nintendo Switch Online membership, plus access to a growing catalogue of Nintendo 64, Game Boy Advance and SEGA Genesis classics, as well as downloadable add-ons for select Nintendo Switch games (Mario Kart 8, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Splatoon 2). Like the regular Online membership, Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack can be purchased as an individual membership or as a family plan (for up to 8 consoles).

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Image from Nintendo’s official website.

The Mario Kart 8 Deluxe expansion includes 48 remastered race tracks from across the Mario Kart series, while the Happy Home Paradise expansion for Animal Crossing: New Horizons provides access to all-new content that allows players to create homes for the inhabitants of an island paradise from the Animal Crossing universe. Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion offers access to a new character named Agent 8, as well as 80 new missions.

To be able to download and use these add-ons, you must of course already own the associated base games. Expansions can be purchased individually from the Nintendo eShop, with costs ranging from CAD 26 to CAD 32 each. Considering that the Online + Expansion Pack subscription only costs about CAD 35 more per year than the regular subscription, we understand that this is already a bargain, especially if you own these three games!

For The Nostalgic…

Whether you’re interested in the expansions for Mario Kart 8, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Splatoon 2 or not, the Online + Expansion Pack subscription is worth checking out if only for the game catalogues for the SEGA Genesis, Nintendo 64, and Game Boy Advance consoles. Many of these games are playable in local multiplayer (including the old Mario Kart and Mario Party games as well as Golden Eye 007 and Starfox 64 for Nintendo 64, true classics!), but also in online mode for up to 4 players, which is absolutely amazing and unexpected for retro games in emulation. In total, there are about 90 games that come with the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership, not counting games from the SNES, NES and Game Boy catalogues, which are already offered with any Online membership.

Whether you’re a fan of classic series like Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Pokemon or Metroid, or you prefer to rediscover particular games from your childhood like Fire Emblem, Harvest Moon, Banjo Kazooie or F-Zero X, the Online + Expansion Pack subscription is sure to delight the nostalgic gamer in you.

Nintendo offers an unrivalled retro library of emulated games at a lower price than most other consoles’ online subscriptions, which typically cost more than CAD 100 per year. In addition, if you already have a regular annual subscription and wish to change to a subscription that includes the Expansion Pack, you can do so by paying only for the price adjustment. To take the nostalgia element even further, you can also get retro console controllers that are compatible with the Nintendo Switch for prices ranging from CAD 35 to CAD 65, directly from Nintendo’s online store!

Finally, if you own the base games for which expansions are offered in the Expansion Pack and you are a fan of retro games, the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership can be worth it, especially for the online multiplayer feature of retro console game catalogues. However, if you’re not interested in all three expansions and don’t plan on taking advantage of the retro game catalogues, there’s no point in shelling out more for a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership, since a regular subscription will do the trick for anyone who simply wants to play online and take advantage of cloud data backup.

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Featured image taken from Nintendo’s official website.

About Myriam Baulne

Traductrice agréée aussi détentrice d'un DEC en animation 3D et synthèse d'images, Myriam est constamment à la recherche d'opportunités afin d'allier ses passions pour les jeux vidéo, les TTRPG et la rédaction. Armée d'un solide bagage journalistique, elle est outillée pour vous rapporter toute l'actualité et l'information sur vos jeux favoris.

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