Nintendo Switch online multiplayer won't be free

Nintendo Switch Online Services will have deep smartphone integration, too.

There's a lot to love about Nintendo, but it's always been a generation behind the curve when it comes to online services. The Nintendo Wii was hampered by an awkward friend-code system, and the Wii U's network services were weird, goofy and heavily monitored. With the Switch, that all might change: Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima just announced Nintendo Online Services -- the company's latest attempt to figure out online multiplayer. Kimishima didn't reveal much about the service, but, in general, the news is good: Nintendo Online Services sounds a lot like Sony and Microsoft's multiplayer services. The bad news: Just like those services, it will cost you a monthly fee.

According to Kimishima, Nintendo Online Services will let players set play appointments, chat with friends and, of course, play games online. The interesting part, however, is he described all of that being done on a "smart device," not on the Nintendo Switch. The details of that aren't clear, unfortunately -- and neither is the service's monthly fee. There are a couple of silver linings, though: The service will be free until sometime this fall, and subscribers will get to download one free NES or SNES game a month -- some of which may be patched to have online multiplayer. Not bad, Nintendo. Maybe you'll figure this out after all.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from Nintendo's Switch event.