When Nintendo set a launch date for its Switch Online service, there was an overriding question for many gamers: would you have to pay to play every game online, especially free-to-play hits like Fortnite? The answer is a resounding "yes." The company has posted a Switch Online FAQ that mentions "some games," including Fortnite, won't require the subscription plan when it goes live on September 18th. There's no mention of the criteria that will decide exceptions to the rule, although it wouldn't be surprising if other free-to-play games, like Warframe, make the cut.
The policy parallels Sony's approach to PlayStation Plus, which also exempts free-to-play games, and would give Nintendo an edge over Microsoft's strict Xbox Live Gold requirement for all online titles. It's not a completely surprising strategy. Nintendo likely doesn't want to alienate millions of players by requiring a subscription for the hottest free-to-play game in recent memory, and it's not exactly losing a lot of revenue if those gamers never pay Switch Online's $20 per year fee.