Earlier this week we reported on a clause in the Nintendo eShop listing for Pokémon Sword and Shield. There was a possible implication in the fine print that the upcoming games may not require a Nintendo Switch Online membership to access the online features.
The fine print included: “This game includes an in-game purchase option for users who do not have a membership” after the usual clause about Nintendo Switch Online. Some had interpreted this as an alternative payment option, rather than committing to a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. However, a spokesperson from Nintendo of America has reconfirmed that Nintendo Switch Online will still be required for online play, saying this:
As stated on the Game Store pages for the Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield games at www.nintendo.com, a Nintendo Switch Online membership is required to use the games’ online features. The games include an in-game option to purchase a Nintendo Switch Online membership for those who do not already have one.
So you’ll still have to shell out that extra $20 USD if you want to trade your Pokémon online. If you’ve been playing most of the Switch’s greatest hits like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or Super Mario Maker 2, then you likely already have the subscription. But if you’re planning on picking up the Switch exclusively for Pokémon Sword or Shield, then you’re looking at spending a bit more than you would for the handheld games.