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Nintendo has released Switch Online, the mobile app that will add more online features to the Switch. The good news is you can now download Switch Online on Android and on iOS right now. The bad news is it isn’t yet functional. It should come online on July 21st, however, to coincide with the release of Splatoon 2.

The Nintendo Switch is doing rather well so far. Nintendo unveiled its new console in October 2016 Meet Nintendo's New Games Console... the Nintendo Switch Meet Nintendo's New Games Console... the Nintendo Switch Nintendo has unveiled the Nintendo Switch, a home/handheld hybrid games console designed to give Nintendo fans the best of both worlds. That is if everything goes according to plan... Read More , and released it in March 2017. Demand has so far outstripped supply, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a legitimately great game. Unfortunately, the online capabilities are sorely lacking.

Switch Online Is Free Until 2018

The Switch doesn’t have an online service of the caliber of Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. Instead, Nintendo is offering basic functionality through the Switch console, and a smartphone app for everything else. The app is called Switch Online, and it will handle voice chat, game invites, rankings, and more besides.

Nintendo has now released Switch Online on Android and on iOS. That means you can download it right now, as long as you’re not expecting it to actually function as advertised. Splatoon 2 is the first game being supported by Switch Online, so we assume Nintendo will flick the switch (excuse the pun) when Splatoon 2 is released on Friday (July 21st).

The good thing about Switch Online is it’s going to be completely free to use until the end of 2017. This is because Switch Online is essentially in beta at this stage, so you should expect bugs. From next year Nintendo plans to charge Switch owners Nintendo Switch Review: Play Zelda on the Toilet Nintendo Switch Review: Play Zelda on the Toilet Nintendo's back, reinventing themselves after the dismal performance of the Wii U. The Switch is a combination of home console performance in a portable package – the best bits of the Wii and DS brands. Read More $20-per-year to access its online service.

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This Could Spell Disaster for the Switch

The Switch looks to be a genuinely impressive games console with a bright future. Unfortunately, Nintendo has so far missed the mark when it comes to online gaming. Sure, the Switch is meant to be used by actual friends in real-life, but this still appears to be an almighty mess. Let’s just hope Nintendo makes this work, or it could spell disaster for the Switch 7 Reasons Why the Nintendo Switch Might Fail 7 Reasons Why the Nintendo Switch Might Fail The Nintendo Switch is selling well, and many gamers are excited about it -- but the Switch has some big problems that could lead to an early grave. Here are seven that have us concerned. Read More .

Do you own a Switch? What do you think of Nintendo’s approach to online gaming? Have you downloaded Switch Online yet? Do you think it’s doomed from the start? Or could this way of offering extra online functionality actually work? The comments are open below…

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  1. James C.
    July 20, 2017 at 11:43 am

    This is not required to game online with the Switch and the Switch has been online enabled since day one. It's needed for voice chat with random people only.

  2. Ashton
    July 19, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    .. I'm amazed this thing is not running on coal...