You can play Fortnite for Switch without Nintendo's paid online service

Many competitive and co-op games will require you to join Nintendo Switch Online. Fortnite gets a pass, as will some others.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography | PCs and laptops | Gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin

Nintendo formally unveiled its new Switch Online service on Thursday, and one of the more notable details was the need to subscribe to the service for multiplayer games. Detailed in one of the FAQs, however, it specifically mentions the super-popular shooter Fortnite as one of the games exempt from the policy, and it implies that there will be others. 

For instance, Tencent confirmed to Variety that its multiplayer battle title, Arena of Valor, falls under the no-subscription umbrella as well.

The FAQ lists Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe , Arms and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as games that definitely do require a membership.


Membership details from Nintendo's FAQ.


Policies on subscription requirements vary across platforms, even for the same game. Fortnite on the PlayStation doesn't require a PS Plus subscription, but on Xbox it does require Xbox Live Gold. 

We asked Nintendo how it decided when Switch Online membership was required, and the company responded, "Certain games, such as Fortnite, can be played online without a Nintendo Switch Online membership. Various factors could determine if a game requires the service."

The FAQ also notes that sharing screenshots and video over social networks, updates and some other services won't require a membership either.

Fortnite is free to play, and sensationally popular with kids, who probably don't have mom or dad's credit card at their disposal.

Switch Online costs $3.99 (£3.45, AU$5.95) per month, or $20 (£18, AU$30) if buy a year's subscription. Here's what you get for your money.

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