Nintendo Switch Online Launches Today. Here’s What You Need to Know

September 18, 2018, 3:41 PM UTC

Eighteen months after Nintendo launched the Nintendo Switch, the console’s online service will debut later today. But fans hoping to jump on and play now are going to have to wait a bit longer.

Nintendo says the launch of Nintendo Switch Online won’t happen until much of the east coast has called it a night. The subscription service will be required for Switch owners who want to play multiplayer games online, utilize the system’s cloud storage and have access to a slew of old Nintendo Entertainment System titles.

Nintendo Switch Online will replace the Nintendo Switch eShop. That storefront will be taken down at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Tuesday. And Nintendo says to expect up to three hours of downtime before the new online system launches.

Once the online service goes live, Switch owners will have to update their system’s software, then sign up and purchase a subscription (which will run $20 per year). That could potentially put a strain on the company’s servers, causing other possible delays.

Switch owners will get one week to try Nintendo Switch Online before being charged. With the service’s launch, Nintendo joins Sony and Microsoft in charging players for online play (though some titles, such as Fortnite, won’t require the service for online play).