The Japanese video game company will take money from its customers for online games on the Switch console from Wednesday. Competitors have been doing this for years – but it is questionable whether Nintendo can match their success.

Nintendo wants to start its online payment service

EA round in the racing game “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” jet against opponents all over the world, swing the tennis racket against real opponents in “Mario Tennis Aces” or splash other internet players with bright paint in the arcade shooter “Splatoon 2”. According to the plan of the video game company Nintendo, all of this should cost money for players of the latest console “Nintendo Switch” from Wednesday.

Because the Japanese video game company wants to banish Mario, Luigi and Co. behind a payment barrier in the future. If you want to play certain games online with friends on Nintendo’s latest console, you have to dig into your pocket: Nintendo will charge 20 euros per year and player from this Wednesday for this option – which was previously free.

This is what drives Nintendo’s customers to the barricades: The video announcement for the online payment service received almost 20,000 negative reviews on YouTube, and Nintendo customers ventured their anger in the comments: “Congratulations to everyone who has spent $ 300 on our new console. You can now pay us to use your own internet connection, ”wrote one commentator. Some games that run exclusively online, such as the shooter “Fortnite” will continue to be playable online for free, but the majority of Nintendo games will pass the payment barrier online.

Bonanza online fees

So why is Nintendo so turning its own customers against itself with the online payment service? The answer: Because it is going to be a gold mine. With the subscription model for online gaming, Nintendo is creating a true money printing machine. Because video game companies only earn money from the sales of the games they publish – and thus bear a great financial risk: If their latest game blockbuster flops, it often means high losses for Nintendo and Co.

Therefore, an additional source of money comes in handy. Because all those who want to play their games with friends cannot avoid the service and pour fresh money into the corporation’s cash register month after month. How much money that could be can be seen from Nintendo’s competitors. Because Microsoft and Sony have set up corresponding online payment models for their X-Box One and Playstation 4 consoles for years – and they earn a lot.

According to the German association of the game industry, Game, the turnover with fees from online networks in Germany grew from 2016 to 2017 by almost 60 percent to around 180 million euros. This corresponds to almost 20 percent of the total turnover with video games in Germany. In the future, sales will probably increase even further. The online fee has created a whole new market for video game companies.

From an economic point of view, it’s no wonder that Nintendo would like to get some of this money boom. But the competitors offer significantly more additional content with their online service than Nintendo has announced so far: Both Microsoft and Sony provide their customers with a more or less up-to-date game for free every few weeks, which they swap for a new game after two weeks becomes. Users can try out 26 game titles per year.