Is Nintendo Online Needed for Free Games?

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By Monica Bates

In recent years, Nintendo has made a significant push towards online gaming with its Nintendo Online service. With this subscription-based service, players can access online multiplayer modes and other features such as cloud saving and exclusive content.

However, one question that often arises is whether Nintendo Online is needed for free games. Let’s explore this topic in-depth.

What is Nintendo Online?

Nintendo Online is a paid subscription service offered by Nintendo for its Switch console. By signing up for the service, players gain access to a range of features such as online multiplayer modes for various games, cloud saving for game progress, and exclusive content like retro games. The subscription fee varies depending on the duration of the subscription.

Are Free Games Included in Nintendo Online?

While Nintendo does offer some free-to-play games on its Switch console, these games do not require a Nintendo Online subscription to play. Titles such as Fortnite and Apex Legends can be played without any additional fees or subscriptions.

So Why Get Nintendo Online?

If free-to-play games do not require a subscription to play online, then what is the point of getting Nintendo Online? The answer lies in the fact that many of the popular titles on Switch require an active subscription to access online multiplayer modes. Games such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2 are just a few examples of titles that require a subscription.

Additionally, the cloud saving feature offered by Nintendo Online can be incredibly useful for gamers who want to keep their progress safe and secure. This feature allows users to save their game data to the cloud instead of relying solely on local storage.


In conclusion, while it may seem like a waste of money to pay for an online service when there are free-to-play options available, it’s important to consider the full range of benefits that come with a subscription to Nintendo Online. For players who enjoy online multiplayer and want to keep their game progress safe, a subscription to Nintendo Online is a must. However, for those who prefer to play solo or only play free-to-play games, it may not be necessary.