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Nintendo’s online Switch service will launch in 2018 and cost $20 a year

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Nintendo Switch Launch Event - Day 2 Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Nintendo of America

Nintendo has shed more light on the paid online subscription service it’s planning to offer for its Switch console, confirming US pricing, and stating that it will launch in full at some point in 2018.

The company says it will also launch a smartphone app alongside the service’s rollout next year that will let players invite friends, set up gaming sessions, or chat with friends during games on their second screens. We’ll get an early look at that software this summer, when Nintendo will put out a free, limited version of the app.

Online play for Switch games will be free until the full service comes online in 2018, at which point players will need to pay for membership in order to access online multiplayer. One month’s subscription will cost $3.99, with three months running to $7.99, and a year’s membership available for $19.99. In addition to multiplayer access, subscription also opens up eShop deals, meaning members will get money off new games bought through Nintendo’s digital download platform.

Also included in that fee is access to classic games from Nintendo’s back catalog, updated with multiplayer support and playable on the new console. Nintendo had originally indicated that these games would only be available for download for a month at a time, similar to Sony’s PlayStation Plus service, but the company today confirmed to Kotaku that all the games under this umbrella would be available for all subscribers in a library. “Users can play as many of the games as they want, as often as they like, as long as they have an active subscription,” a spokesperson told the publication.

It’s not clear exactly which of Nintendo’s retro games will be available down the line, but the company references Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight and Dr. Mario on its site. At launch, the classic library will only include NES games, but Nintendo says it’s considering bringing over SNES games too at some point in the future

Update June 1st, 10PM ET: Updated with Nintendo’s statement to Kotaku on classic game availability.