Pokémon Sword and Shield Players Will Need Nintendo Online Membership To Access Online Functionality


It turns out that players will need a subscription for Nintendo’s Online Access to purchase online functions for Pokémon Sword and Shield.

Sword and Shield are the highly anticipated, upcoming titles for the Pokémon franchise that will be releasing on the Nintendo Switch next month. They take place in the Galar region, a continent inspired by the UK.

The games are mostly a single-player experience, yet they will also have some online multiplayer options. Players can team up together to face off against powerful Dynamax Pokémon, and as well as other online capabilities.

The Nintendo Online Subscription allows players to use online functionality for the Switch. Sometimes online purchases for a game’s content can only be accessed through the Online Subscription.

Related: Pokémon Sword and Shield Buying Guide

Gamers were worried that they wouldn’t be able to buy any new features for Sword and Shield, like possible future DLC, without an online subscription. We reported that there was the possibility that players wouldn’t need the subscription to make online purchases for the games.

There is some fine print that you can read near the bottom of the Sword and Shield’s webpage. The standout detail in the fine print was this – “This game includes an in-game purchase option for users who do not have a membership.”

Pokemon Sword and Shield Fine Print

The way they word it makes it seem as if players wouldn’t need a subscription to make in-game purchases. We even compared the wording of this fine print with Super Mario Maker 2’s fine print, the latter of which clearly states that you need internet access for online features.

However, it turns out that wasn’t the case. A spokesperson from Nintendo of America contacted TechRadar and told them what the wording truly meant. The in-game purchase that the fine print was detailing was for Nintendo’s Online Subscription, not for actual in-game content. Sword and Shield will include an option for gamers to buy Nintendo Switch Online membership if they don’t have one already. There will not be an option for players to make in-game purchases without an Online Membership.

Pokémon Sword and Shield are coming out next month, on Nov. 15.