But will their customers see it that way?
Nintendo became the last console manufacturer to also charge for online access on its systems when it announced that the online services for Switch would be gated behind a paywall earlier this year. And while since then, details have come to light that indicate that the service will ultimately be far cheaper than Xbox Live and PSN, there is still the overarching question of- why charge for these services at all?
In a recent interview with Famitsu, Nintendo’s managing executive officer, Shinya Takahashi explained that the company is charging for online to be able to deliver the kind of functionality that customers expect, and be able to maintain that functionality.
“We decided to charge for the service because we are concerned with customer satisfaction,” said Takahasi (translation via Gaming Respawn). “We’ll be maintaining the online service and providing new services that we haven’t had up until now, and there are costs associated with those.”
“We’d also like to maintain a stable playing experience and provide proper support. We are working to prepare all of the features until the service begins in the fall of 2017, and details on the service will be available at a later time.”
As of right now, it is unclear whether Nintendo can provide the kind of experience that one gets on Xbox Live or even PSN, especially with their decision to mandate a smartphone for most functionality- but given that it is cheaper than those two, I suppose customers might be willing to grant Nintendo more leeway in that regard.