Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima has offered a ballpark figure for the company's premium online service for Nintendo Switch. Speaking to Japanese business publication Nikkei he said the service would cost between 2000 and 3000 yen (£14 - £21) per year.

If this translates to £19.99 in the UK, the cost would be half that of rival premium online services PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live. Switch users will be able to play online for free when Switch launches on 3 March, but will have to pay from an unannounced date in the autumn.

"With paid [services], we will be able to fully commit to customers," Kimishima said.

When it becomes premium, Nintendo's online service will include online play, matchmaking, voice chat, exclusive deals on the eShop and a free, monthly game download from Nintendo's NES and Super Nintendo back-catalogues.

While not communicated well following Switch's January press conference, it has since been confirmed that matchmaking, lobbies and voice chat will be handheld by an accompanying mobile app.

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said: "The smartphone app that we're creating, that will be part of our online service, we believe is going to be a very compelling part of the overall proposition because that's how you'll voice chat, that's how you'll do your matchmaking, and create your lobby."

Said app will launch in the summer while the online service is still free, so players get a taste of how it will work.

Nintendo's online services have been free until now, but limited technologically. The company has previously been apprehensive about entering the online space due to concerns regarding the safety of younger players. It wasn't until its most recent console - Wii U - that its online offering became somewhat stable.

Nintendo Switch is a home and handheld hybrid console and the gaming giant's follow-up to Wii U, which was a commercial failure. Switch is also likely to replace Nintendo 3DS in the long-run, but the handheld still has a large install-base and games on the horizon.

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