Just hours after launching, the brand new Nintendo Switch Online service has already been hacked. One of the key features of Nintendo Switch Online is the ever-expanding library of classic NES games which you can play online with your friends. Unfortunately, the launch lineup is rather paltry, with a couple of highlights and a bunch of filler. And so it probably won’t surprise you to learn that by Tuesday night, the NES library had been hacked.
Shortly after the service went live on Tuesday night, a modder who goes by KapuccinoHeck on Twitter discovered that the database file for the NES games lists them all in plaintext, which should make it trivial for anyone with a modicum of skill to add their own games to the system and play them through the app.
About an hour later, Kapu shared a short video of Kirby’s Adventure (which isn’t one of official NES titles for the online service) running flawlessly on the Switch. He was unable to change the box art and had to reuse the art from River City Ransom (an official title), but says that this experiment proves “fully custom games ARE possible.” Another example comes from YouTube user DevRin, who demonstrates Battletoads running on his Switch:
“I would highly advise against anyone else doing it as I’ve been told there’s a lot of data from the app being sent to Nintendo and that it has a fair few legitimacy checks that occur at random,” KapuccinoHeck warned Kotaku when the website reached out for more details about the hacked NES games. So even if you know how to hack your Switch (which you shouldn’t do), this carries a great deal of risk that could endanger your account.
Following several months of delays, the Nintendo Switch Online service finally launched on Monday night, bringing with it cloud saves, classic NES games, and paid online play. We’ve already covered the service in great detail in our extensive FAQ, but in addition to Nintendo Switch Online, the company also rolled out system update version 6.0.0, which includes a variety of features, fixes and improvements beyond the online service.
We knew about some of these additions ahead of the system update, but there are a few surprises as well, such as the new user icons and the ability to upload up to four screenshots to a social media platform at once. Other than the online service, this isn’t the most significant update to date, but it’s more than we expected.
New Nintendo Switch Online features:
- Save Data Cloud Backup
- Use your internet connection to back up game save data for compatible games
- Some games are not compatible with Save Data Cloud
- To back up save data or download a previous backup, head to System Settings > Data Management > Save Data Cloud Backup
Added system functionality:
- Upload up to four Album screenshots at once on supported social network services
- Only one captured video can be uploaded at once
- Select from six new Captain Toad icons for your user
- To edit your user icon, head to your My Page on the top left of the Home Menu > Profile
- Play your digital software and content on non-primary consoles by linking your Nintendo Account
- The term “active console” has been renamed “primary console” in Nintendo eShops
- Playing software in multiple consoles has certain restrictions
- Display of Nintendo Switch News articles will be limited to match the restricted software parental controls setting selections
- Please note that the restriction will only apply to News articles distributed after the release of version 6.0.0.
- Change the layout of the USB keyboard to the desired language
- To change the language, head to the System Settings > System > USB Keyboard
Removed system functionality:
- After installing the system update, it will no longer be possible to unlink your Nintendo Account from your Nintendo Switch user
General system stability improvements:
- Compatibility improvements have been made for a controller licensed by Nintendo
There you have it — the full list of patch notes for system update 6.0.0. If you want to sign up for Nintendo Switch Online, just head to the eShop and you’ll see a new “Nintendo Switch Online” option in the menu just above “Enter Code.” From there, you can begin your 7-day free trial or begin paying for membership.
With just a few days to spare before the service launches, Nintendo has told us basically everything there is to know about Nintendo Switch Online. As such, we figured this would be the right time to put together a comprehensive FAQ, addressing everything from the release date to the cost to the features to the caveats. If anything new is uncovered or anything changes about the service, we’ll be sure to update the article.
When does it launch?
Nintendo Switch Online will be available starting on September 18th, 2018.
Do I really even need it?
If you want to play games online, yes, you need a subscription. If you’re reading this prior to September 18th, you still have some time to play games online free of charge, but as soon as the service launches, the only way to access the online features of a vast majority of Switch games will be to pay for Nintendo Switch Online.
How much does it cost?
There are a variety of payment schemes for Nintendo Switch Online: $3.99 for one month, $7.99 for three months, or $19.99 for a year. There’s also a family plan that costs $34.99, but can support up to 8 Nintendo Accounts. If you want to try it out before you commit to paying, there’s a 7-day free trial as well.
What do I get in my subscription?
Other than the ability to play games online, you will also gain access to an ever-growing library of classic NES games with added features like online play, cloud saves that automatically back up all your save data, the option to chat with your friends through a smartphone app, and special offers from Nintendo.
What NES games are included?
Here are all of the NES games that have been announced so far, along with their expected release dates:
- September: Soccer, Tennis, Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros., Balloon Fight, Ice Climber, Dr. Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. 3, Double Dragon, River City Ransom, Ghosts’n Goblins, Tecmo Bowl, Gradius, Pro Wrestling, Excitebike, Yoshi, Ice Hockey, Baseball
- October: Solomon’s Key, NES Open Tournament Golf, Super Dodge Ball
- November: Metroid, Mighty Bomb Jack, TwinBee
- December: Wario’s Woods, Ninja Gaiden, Adventures of Lolo
There’s a very peculiar rule that’s worth noting regarding the NES games. While you can download the games and play them offline like most other games, you have to go online at least once a week or the games will deactivate until you can reach a connection. Something to keep in mind if you subscribe to the service.
What’s up with the smartphone app?
The Nintendo Switch Online app has been available to download on the App Store and Google Play for quite some time now, but it will become much more relevant once the service launches. In addition to voice chat support, the app will also offer a second screen experience to view your in-game stats while you’re playing.
What are these special offers?
Nintendo has only revealed two exclusive deals for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers to this point. The first are the wireless NES controllers that were unveiled during the latest Nintendo Direct. They look just like the ones that shipped with the NES, and can actually be attached to the Switch just like Joy-Cons to charge. A set of two controllers will cost $59.99 and shipments begin mid-December 2018. Anyone who pays for a 12-month or family plan will also get some exclusive in-game gear for Splatoon 2 (Online Jersey and Online Squidkid V Shoes).
Anything else I should know?
Unlike Sony and Microsoft on the PS4 and Xbox One, Nintendo says that it can’t “guarantee” your cloud save data will be stored for an “extended period of time” once your Nintendo Switch Online subscription lapses. In other words, if you decide to stop paying for the service, there’s a chance your cloud saves will eventually disappear, even if you resubscribe at a later date. It sounds like this could change, but it will be the policy at launch.
A year and a half after launching, the Nintendo Switch is finally getting an official online service. Nintendo announced on Wednesday that Nintendo Switch Online memberships will kick off on September 18th, which is less than a week away. Switch owners will be able to take advantage of a 7-day free trial as well.
Nintendo Switch Online has been a long time coming. Originally set to launch in 2017, Nintendo ended up having to delay the service multiple times before eventually landing on the second half of September. The company then finally confirmed a specific launch date on Wednesday, stating in a tweet that more information about the online service will be revealed during a rescheduled Nintendo Direct stream on September 13th.
Nintendo has been drip-feeding details about the service for months, starting with confirmation that subscribers will have access to classic NES games with additional modern features such as online play and voice chat. Some of the games that will be available at launch include Dr. Mario, Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong, Ice Climber, and The Legend of Zelda. We might hear about more games during the Nintendo Direct on Thursday.
Nintendo Switch Online will also give subscribers the ability to back up their save data in the cloud. Not all games will support this feature, but it’s a relief to see Nintendo add a feature that should have been ready at launch.
As for the price, Nintendo Switch Online will cost $3.99 for one month, $7.99 for three months, $19.99 for a year and $34.99 for a family membership, which gives up to eight people to ability to use the service.
Splatoon 2, Pokemon Let’s Go, Dead Cells top short list so far.