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Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack doesn't look like a good deal

Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack isn't a great deal regardless of how you slice it
(Image credit: Nintendo)

It's probably fair to declare the experience of Nintendo Switch Online has been at best mixed. Its comparatively poor internet infrastructure is a away from the high-quality we have out of PS Plus and Xbox Live frequently experiencing interruptions and lag spikes that occur even in the most well-known Switch games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Splatoon 2. This is before we talk about its old-fashioned approach to friends lists and chat in game.

The cost of the monthly subscription is, thankfully, well priced. Nintendo has attempted to offset its poor internet connection quality by providing a variety of NES and SNES games, which you can use through dedicated apps available on Switch. They're pleasant additions that include a variety of amazing games (many of which allow online play) however, it's nothing as compared to the phenomenal separate Virtual Console offerings of the old legendary Wii as well as Wii U days.

Enter the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack the latest attempt by Nintendo to expand its subscription service. The higher-tier plan includes N64 along with Sega Genesis / Mega Drive games to its retro games, with 30 titles in the first day between them. The inclusion of Sega games was impossible in the days of consoles in their glory. The game has also caught the interest from Animal Crossing: New Horizons players, who will be able to access the soon-to-be released Happy Home Paradise DLC as part of the expansion Pack program.

It sounds like a great deal It sounds pretty great, doesn't it? But what a shame that it costs so much.

Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack isn't a great deal regardless of how you slice it
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Price increases, service expanded.

To understand the disappointment Nintendo Switch Online's pricing aspect is, it is necessary take a look at its basic version. The subscription for Nintendo Switch Online costs $19.99 or PS17.99 for the entire year. This is pretty reasonable, especially being less expensive than the competitors for PS5 as well as Xbox Series X/S. It's also including retro games alongside extremely enjoyable multiplayer exclusives such as Tetris 99 and Pac-Man 99 (and Super Mario Bros. 35 May be at peace).

With all the extra features, Nintendo seems to have significantly overestimated the amount Switch owners will actually be willing to shell out to purchase the Expansion Pack service, launching on the 25th of October 2021. To make it happen, Nintendo hiked up the cost to an astonishing $49.99 or PS34.99 annually. Oddly enough, UK customers are receiving a slightly better deal however, it's still more than double the price of the base subscription. US Switch players will be paying around 2.5 times more when they decide to sign for Expansion Pack. Expansion Pack service. Ouch.

It's not surprising that Nintendo fans haven't let this one slide down. This official Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack overview video, posted on the YouTube channel of Nintendo has earned more than 89,000 negatives as of the date of this writing. What's the number of likes? Only 16,000. In the case of Nintendo I'd be ashamed, at the least.

A sweet online experience

Perhaps the most ominous thing is that Nintendo decided not to announce the Expansion Pack's pricing when it was initially made public. It was announced during the September 23rd 2021 Nintendo Direct, where fans were thrilled to witness N64 as well as Sega Genesis / Mega Drive games finally arriving on the Switch. Of course, the majority of us were hoping (and were prepared) to pay some extra to get this service. The word that comes to mind is "little."

In the end, Nintendo opted to quietly make the announcement of the Expansion Pack's price at another highly anticipated event, this is an Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct that will provide free updates and a pricey expansion set to hit the island-based life sim on the 5th of November. If we hadn't been so at ease with the wholesomeness of Animal Crossing and wholesomeness, we'd probably have been more angry at the moment. It wasn't until after that reality began to set in.

The thing that really stings with this is the fact that the features provided by Expansion Pack Expansion Pack are great. Fans have been asking to have N64 available by Nintendo Switch since the introduction of NSO and bringing in Genesis or Mega Drive is a wonderful benefit. We'd love to see that both games are refreshed with new titles regularly which will add even greater value.

This is where my praises come to an end, however. Access to New Horizons' Happy Home Paradise DLC is great but it's definitely more value to buy the game at the price of $24.99 (or PS22.49 This in and of itself isn't cheap however, at least you'll be the owner of the game. If, due to any reason, you want to opt out of the Expansion Pack, you'll most likely be denied access to DLC.

Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack isn't a great deal regardless of how you slice it
We hope you like Animal Crossing, because it's one of Expansion Pack's only redeeming features

Comparing to the competition

The Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack is still a bit cheaper than its rivals. PS Plus weighs in at $59.99 or PS49.99 for the entire year and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is more expensive at $15.99 and PS10.99 per month.

The latter, however, ensures that the superior service will be worth the price by combining the amazing Xbox Game Pass subscription service with Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Cloud Gaming that lets you use Game Pass titles on a device of your preference, including Android tablets and phones.

Add in the fact that all first-party Microsoft Game Studios titles land on Game Pass on day one and you've got an option on Xbox consoles that justify the cost, which is comparatively higher. Nintendo Switch Online, when you take it apart is essentially giving us games that we've played hundreds of times before, and many of which owners who have kept the Wii as well as Wii U consoles currently have.

The price of the NSO Expansion Pack service would also be less painful when the quality of online gaming was even a bit better. As it is, Switch is far and away the most unstable with regards to connection quality among the three major console makers. Even at the base price I've frequently asked me, "why am I paying for this?" When getting kicked out of the Splatoon 2 match for the third time in the same day without any reason.

Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack isn't a great deal regardless of how you slice it
Here's hoping Splatoon 3 will be a lot more stable

What do Nintendo be able to fix this? And Should it?

In light of the overwhelming negative reaction to Expansion Pack's high price I believe it's reasonable to suggest that Nintendo ought to reconsider its value proposition. There are two options for the company to go with this.

The first thing to consider is that Nintendo can make the deal more appealing by providing additional enticing benefits. N64 and Genesis and Mega Drive are nice additions however, what we're eagerly awaiting are extremes like Nintendo's Gamecube or Sega Dreamcast.

They'd be a game-changing addition in particular, considering that physical copies of games for these consoles are costly and be something other consoles can't imagine achieving. This is clearly an unrealized dream but it's something Nintendo will never achieve whether they want to or not.

Another, more sensible alternative is to reduce the price of Expansion Pack, but not by that much. I'd say $39.99 or PS29.99 seems to be more acceptable price point, and it's the most I'd be willing to pay in the event that Nintendo is really planning to increase the number of games available, which hasn't yet being announced.

Although I'm not likely to purchase Animal Crossing: New Horizons' Happy Home Paradise DLC on its own, making it available as part of the Expansion Pack's content bundle is a new concept. I'd love to have Nintendo adopt this as a new trend: offering significant DLC packs that are component of an Expansion Pack roster of extras. In reality, I can imagine this happening with Splatoon 3, if that game features paid content that is similar with Splatoon 2's Octo Expansion.

Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack isn't a great deal regardless of how you slice it
(Image credit: Future)

Mixed messages

In the event that Nintendo plays the game of long-term planning through this Expansion Pack service, then it must have communicated this more clearly. The cost of subscription is excessive without offering anything to show for real enhancements to the overall service like connection speed and other essential high-quality features that are enjoyed by rivals including the creation of games and party invites.

Expansion Pack is a great way to expand, eventually, to become a very valuable subscription. At the moment I'm unable to justify the additional cost of several (still fantastic!) retro games I've played and also access to an DLC expansion I'm likely to buy in the near future.

It is hoped that Nintendo has been able to take into account the criticisms made against the original Expansion Pack service. The issue lies in the price and the content. If Nintendo fails to hit the mark in both areas, then it ought to be making every effort to rectify the issue by offering a more expensive subscription that is worth the price.

Via Tech Radar

Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack doesn't look like a good deal Reviewed by John Colston on 10/25/2021 08:26:00 AM Rating: 5

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