Nintendo’s brand new online service is out in the wild. We’ve tried it out for a short bit via our American accounts because you always default to that region when you’re on a new Nintendo console.

To sum it up, this is Nintendo’s version of Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus. Just like those services, it will cost you a monthly/yearly fee: US$4 per month, US$20 per year. Most Switch games with online features will require you to fork out your money for the service.

And that’s not all! Here are the top 8 things, good and bad, you need to know about the service before you start charging this service to your credit card.

#1.You Don’t Need The Service To Play Fortnite, Warframe, and Arena of Valor

That’s good news for those who like those 3 games and rather play it on the go while on the commute. Some of the Switch’s third-party titles are exempted from the service. So for now, these three don’t require you to pay money for the service.

#2.You Can Use It For Free For 7 Days

When you start the service, you are prompted to either do a 7-day trial for the service or just go ahead and pay for it. It’s up to you, really.

#3. You Can Use Your Nintendo Eshop Gold Coins To Pay For The Service

All those gold coins you’ve been saving up when you buy Switch games on the Eshop? You can use those to pay for Switch Online. For those new to the Eshop service: you get 5 gold coins for each dollar you spend on in the shop. You either use a credit card or a Nintendo Eshop card (via Amazon, digitally).

The catch? You need 2,000 gold coins to pay the annual US$20 price. So you need to shell out US$400 in digital purchases. Still, it’s nice to know that all your gold coins you got since last year can amount to an online service.

#4. Your Cloud Saves Will Be Gone If Your Subscription Is Done

This one could be a mood killer: while Nintendo Switch’s online service backs up your save files automatically, that effect only applies if you’re subscribed to the service. Once you’ve dropped out of the program, those backups are no longer guaranteed.

That’s pretty crappy, to be honest. For comparison, Xbox Live & Steam offers this service free of charge, while PS4 keeps the backup for 6 months once you’re off the PS Plus subscription.

#5. You Can Play The 20 NES Games In The Service Offline For 7 Days

Why the specific stipulation? After 7 days, you need to connect your Switch online to access them again. It’s kind of like a timed DRM gating system, but for ROMs. Jesus.

#6. The NES Games On The Service Will Have Added Features

These include HD resolution, filters, and special save states. Some of these games have a second player mode where, for example, the second person can use a hand-shaped cursor to clap for you and also point out secrets in Super Mario Bros.

#7. There Will Be More Games That Will Be Voice Chat App-Enabled

As if having a smartphone app to do all your communication and talking wasn’t retarded enough, it’s only tailor-made for one game: Splatoon 2. Thankfully the app will now support games like Mario Tennis Aces, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Arms. There’s no word on whether this feature is available for 3rd party games like Warframe, Arena of Valor, and Fortnite.

#8. You Can Use A Fake Japanese Account To Play Famicom Games On Nintendo Switch Online

There isn’t much of a difference save for the neat Japanese box art covers. But in case you want to do so, here’s a quick step-by-step guide:

  1. Set up a Japan-specific account over at accounts.nintendo.com. Set your location to Japan and use a different email account.
  2. Go to the Japanese Nintendo Eshop with your new Japanese account and download the Famicom games app. It’s the bright red rectangle with the title “Family Computer: Nintendo Switch Online” with a pic of two gold Famicom controllers.
  3. After you download the app, open it and make sure you tie it to a Switch account that is associated with a Switch Online subscription. The good news is that you don’t need to sign up for a second subscription with your Japanese account; just use your US or European account instead.

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