Revisiting Nintendo Switch Online in 2022: Updates, Stats and What Comes Next

Nintendo Switch Online (NSO) remains a core pillar of the Nintendo gaming ecosystem. The premium service lets Switch owners play online, make cloud backups and explore a Netflix-style vault of legacy Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) classics.

Regular content expansions help Nintendo deploy its rich catalog to new generations. Let‘s study the service‘s July 2022 updates, survey the vital statistics around adoption and engagement, and predict how Switch Online may evolve through 2023.

July 2022: Sports Extensions and Obscure Gems

July 2022 delivered playful puzzles, technical tweaks and gaming oddities fit for rediscovery. Headlining the month was a substantial update for Nintendo Switch Sports plus two rarely seen retro gems.

Revitalizing Switch Sports

Nintendo Switch Sports already stood as a doubles partner for gaming‘s all-time great, Wii Sports. This July, a firmware update drove exciting growth to the budding franchise.

Soccer now recognizes advanced kicking mechanics for passes, shots and trick moves thanks to a leg strap Joy-Con controller. Rocket Serves and Slide Spikes amp up volleyball dynamics. Pro-caliber ∞ class joins Ranked Match lobbies.

Competitive players gain more showcase moments while casual joyousness stays intact. Nintendo is clearly positioning Switch Sports as an ongoing platform rather than one-off novelty.

Person doing a joyful kick in Nintendo Switch Sports soccer mode

Enhanced leg strap soccer kicks stole headlines in July‘s Nintendo Switch Sports update

Kirby Puzzles and Fighting Controversies

While less seismic in impact, two retro console curios generated buzz within hardcore Nintendo circles.

Kirby‘s Avalanche transforms the pink puffball into a bubble-shooting puzzler taking cues from Dr. Mario‘s formula. Originally called Kirby‘s Ghost Trap in Europe, this 1995 SNES title marked Kirby‘s first non-Japan debut. Avalanche garnered positive reviews for its personality powers and rapid-chain puzzle play.

The NES saw Japanese exclusive action-strategy hybrid Daiva Story 6 where players alternate between side-scrolling shooter levels and tactical space battles. It would be the sole series entry to hit Nintendo‘s 8-bit platform.

Finally, 1994 fighting game Fighter‘s History sparked actual legal drama thanks to brazenly similar mechanics and characters compared to Capcom‘s Street Fighter II. While derided as a knock-off, Fighter‘s History still brings simplistic face-off fun for a micro footnote in gaming history.

Fighter's History vs Street Fighter Comparison

Table: Fighter‘s History vs Street Fighter II ComparisonCharacter Design and Gameplay Edition
Fighter‘s History RayClearly resembles Street Fighter‘s Ken
Mizoguchi FeilinVirtual clone of Chun-Li without fashion sense
Liu YungmieCase closed doppelganger lift of Chun-Li
6-button layoutTactical facsimile of SF2‘s punch/kick system

Microcosms like Kirby‘s Avalanche and Fighter‘s History enrich the overall Nintendo museum within the NSO vaults. And for every landmark title like Super Mario Bros. 3, there exist unsung experiences warranting a comeback through the subscription‘s convenience.

What The Statistics Reveal

Peeling beyond the monthly headlines, Switch Online‘s vital signs reflect an initiative continuing to thrive for Nintendo and its community according to several key indicators.

Nintendo charts

32+ Million Strong Userbase

As of September 2022, over 32 million Nintendo Account holders have gone online with their Switch hardware according to official figures. That translates to 45% of all Switch devices sold based on the 72 million unit install base milestone Nintendo revealed concurrently.

The uptake showcases how multiplayer connectivity moved from a luxury to essential expectation of console gaming in the post-Xbox Live era. And with the installed Switch audience expected to soar past 100+ million through saturation, NSO appears poised for even more aggressive user acquisition.

Top All-Time NES and SNES Game Leaders

Which 8 and 16-bit evergreens still capture gamer eyeballs and nostalgia in 2022 the most? Nintendo‘s most popular charts paint a telling portrait.

Super Mario Bros. 3 tops Super Mario World as the definitive side-scroller of choice on NSO. Meanwhile SNES tentpoles Super Metroid and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past boast more all-timers at their disposition yet can‘t surpass Nintendo-themed kinetic chaos of Super Mario Kart.

The rankings attest to Mario‘s enduring multiplayer mayhem appeal and 30-years-young timelessness of Link‘s 16-bit odyssey both outclassing their own storied sequels and spinoffs.

Nintendo Switch Online top games

Most Played Nintendo Switch Online Games Sept 2022NES and SNES Classics Edition
Super Mario Bros. 3Beloved 8-bit entry still #1
Super Mario KartNintendo mascot racer gold standard
Super MetroidSamus atmospheric adventure in #3 spot
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the PastTop-down Zelda masterpiece at #4
Super Mario WorldMario‘s 16-bit debut rounds out top 5

Expansion Tiers Augment Retro Mission

The September 2021 introduction of Expansion Pack membership tiers unlocked another trove of content – one curated to the era of Nintendo 64. For $49.99 annually, this premium bracket allows beloved 3D greats like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart 64 and Star Fox 64.

As of May 2022, over 1 in 5 basic NSO members upgraded to Expansion status. The 29% conversion rate surpassed internal targets. Including third-party royalties and additional development, Expansion Packs drive extra revenue from Nintendo‘s deep well of classics.

Expansion adoption

Table: Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack Performance MetricsMay 2022 Edition
Total Expansion Pack Subscribers5.8+ Million
Conversion % From Base Nintendo Switch Online29%
Major Titles Added Since LaunchThe Legend of Zelda: Majora‘s Mask
F-Zero X
Kirby 64
Mario Golf
Paper Mario
Sep 2022 N64 Game UpdatesPilotwings 64
Mario‘s Tennis

The above indicators validate how Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack unlocks the doors to even more beloved classics while converting nearly a third of the broader base subscriber pool rather rapidly.

As the Switch install base inevitability swells towards nine digits in the platform‘s twilight years, attach percentages could accelerate further. That translates to over 30 million engaged nostalgia seekers replaying aging experiences anew.

Projecting the Road Ahead in 2023

If 2022 delivered stability wonders, what innovations might Nintendo Switch Online subscriber‘s anticipate over future horizons? Clues and early rumblings forecast no shortage of mobile memories across 2023.

Game Boy and Game Boy Color Prepare for Modern Encore

Credible rumors peg Game Boy and Game Boy Color headliners marching onto Switch in 2023. Imagine playing Tetris, Pokémon Red and Blue, The Legend of Zelda Link‘s Awakening DX and Super Mario Land 2 on the couch or commute.

Datamined references point to select first and second-generation Pokémon trading functionality as well. Bringing mythical monsters like Mew and Celebi to current titles via retro reconnects would assuredly break the internet.

More Nintendo 64 Fan Favorites Inbound

While the Nintendo 64 library launched impressively, stone cold legends remain MIA. Series cornerstones like The Legend of Zelda: Majora‘s Mask, Banjo-Kazooie, Pokémon Snap, Paper Mario and deeper cuts seem likely adds over next monthly waves.

July‘s Pilotwings 64 suggests Nintendo will look beyond predictable mainstays to unearth eccentric exclusives like boxing simulator Teleroboxer or the Japan-exclusive Mobile Golf. Quirky experiments might find renewed purpose through Switch Online.

And with corporate synergy blooming via Microsoft‘s Activision Blizzard merger, Rave‘s canonical Banjo-Kazooie no longer appears that improbable on a competing console. Industry landscapes shift to enable surprise unifications.

Potential For Game-Changing Innovations

Speculative arcs bend more radically too. Creating standalone apps for legacy platforms like Game Boy and SNES — opening the door to buy à la carte instead of needing base subscription. Offering individual game rentals. Fostering connected online communities.

Classic games editors and media outlets have floated these outside-box concepts. Nintendo marches to the beat of its own drum. But never count out seismic reinvention from Kyoto‘s creative forces.

Conclusion – Switch Online Matures Like Fine Wine

In summary, Nintendo Switch Online continues maturing as an essential pillar of the platform vision. Cosmetic facelifts, sports simulations expansions and unearthed retro misfits made July 2022 resonate despite no signature franchise blasting onto the scene.

Reviewing vital metrics spotlights a surging 32M+ subscriber base that lifts all boats — and especially those named Mario Kart and Zelda. Pilot trial conversions to premium content bands like Expansion Pack verify players crave expanding on rich legacies.

2023 seemingly holds more mobile memory magics with Game Boy and fresh N64 waves on the visible roadmap. And like ocean liners, even the most imposing vessels can pivot new directions suddenly. Savvy Nintendo mariners might yet have grander disruptive ambitions percolating internally.

Switch Online already empowers Nintendo‘s greatest hits (and misses) to inspire anew. But mushrooms often hide growth one couldn‘t imagine beneath unassuming surfaces. Through steadfast iteration orcrazy innovation, the platform‘s online vehicle looks fixed for even faster warp speed acceleration.

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