The Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack offering is changing. Yet again, Nintendo are adding more value to the package not by increasing capabilities or by offering new titles for free, but by giving you add-ons for games the company knows you already own. And if you don’t own those games already, you’re simply not the customer the company is looking for.
You see, while Sony are relying on the core gamer demographic and Microsoft are pursuing the savvy wider gaming audiences with Game Pass, Nintendo have two very distinct markets they’re going after: Nintendo fans and families. You’re wrong if you think Nintendo’s audience is children. That’s simply not true. Nintendo’s audience is ’80s and ’90s gamers that have grown up with gaming, and now have children of their own.
It’s an audience that’s just as familiar with technology as you are. They can build PCs and have dozens of digital subscription services. And this is why Nintendo – previously seemingly ever so scared of tarnishing their reputation with an online overload – is now very keen on moving into this channel. The audiences Nintendo have are not only willing to accept digital services now, they’re waiting for them.
In my personal example, I already had an Xbox Live and Game Pass Ultimate subscription, and also PlayStation Plus. Plus of course Netflix, Disney+, Spotify and Amazon Prime. Some I pay for monthly, some annually. And of course, I’m a 30-something gamer who’s grown up with Nintendo and now has children of gaming age myself. I mean, I have bought four Nintendo Switch consoles in the seven years since launch. I am the perfect candidate for Nintendo’s online service. And yet, I have held out.
I purchased a Nintendo Online Family Subscription during the early days of the pandemic so my family could all play together when apart. I imagine a lot of people did this. Of course I have purchased multiple copies of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe. In fact, most of Nintendo’s key franchises have at least two copies living in my household. And yet, I have I chose not to upgrade to the Expansion Pack when it arrived late last year. As a long time gamer I still have my retro consoles – NES, SNES, Nintendo 64 and GameCube – so having a monthly subscription to play these games again didn’t appeal. Nor did the Animal Crossing: New Horizons DLC, as I felt the game already has enough content for my kids to enjoy. However, now we have another bargaining chip: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe‘s Booster Course Pass.
This pack in itself is something that will definitely appeal to my family. We regularly play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe together, even now. And 48 new courses being thrown into the mix will certainly shake up our play sessions. At ~£24.99 GBP, paying once for this pack would be value for money. However, as previously mentioned, I have four Nintendo Switch consoles all on my same Nintendo Online Family subscription.
I baulk at the idea of Paying ~£100 for my entire family to enjoy these new courses.
Enter the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack. For just £59.99, I can have a full 12 months for up to eight people playing online, using the Mario Kart 8: Deluxe Booster Course Pass, finally get that Animal Cross: New Horizons DLC and, should any of my family choose to, play a bunch of retro games to boot. That’s just £23.50 more than the subscription price I’m paying now – less than the cost of purchasing the Mario Kart 8: Deluxe Booster Course Pass for one account.
Now it may not be the Mario Kart 8: Deluxe Booster Course Pass that tips you over the edge. You may be thinking ‘pah, new courses for an eight-year-old game’. And you’re right. That’s similar to how I felt about the Animal Crossing: New Horizons DLC. And the retro gaming offerings before it. However, Nintendo’s proposition is about adding value to games they that know their core demographic owns wholesale. Maybe it’ll be new Splatoon 3 costumes, new maps for Advance Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp, or a new area for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2. Whatever it may be, if you’re part of Nintendo’s target audience, they’ll get you eventually.