Doug Bowser talks potential for Xbox Game Pass on Switch, reveals top reasons people get Switch Online

Xbox Game Pass xCloud Nintendo Switch Online Xbox One Microsoft Doug Bowser

Nintendo Switch Online, for better or worse, is certainly unique compared to the online offerings provided by PlayStation and Xbox. In an interview with Polygon, Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser spoke about the service, as well as the potential for Xbox Game Pass on Nintendo Switch, among many other topics.

On the subject of Nintendo Switch Online, Bowser revealed that the top two reasons people subscribe to the service are to play games online and to receive access to its unique game library, including NES games, SNES games, and Tetris 99 and (for now, anyway) Super Mario Bros. 35. That’s obviously not so surprising, but Bowser added that there is “high engagement” with these games in general. That would suggest it’s not just Tetris 99 or an old Mario game pulling all the weight. He went on to describe “cloud save and some of the other benefits” as secondary reasons for subscribing. (What exactly are these “other benefits”? Nintendo Switch Online is not the most robust experience.)

Meanwhile, when asked about the prospect of bringing Xbox Game Pass to Nintendo Switch, Bowser didn’t rule out the possibility. He also didn’t say that it’s going to happen. He believes that Nintendo Switch players often enjoy to purchase titles individually, pointing to a high attach rate of more than 8.0 (meaning each Switch owner owns at least eight games on average), and the Switch Online service already offers an option to play more games en masse. Still, about the potential for Game Pass on Switch specifically, Bowser provided the following answer:

The way I would answer that … is: We are always looking at various ways that we can engage our consumers right now. We have found that our catalog and the third-party publishing catalog that’s available, whether that’s through Nintendo Switch Online or through frontline game purchase, has really been allowing us to do that.

So, as usual, the real answer might be — don’t hold your breath. But it’s not impossible.

What do you think of the current state of Nintendo Switch Online?


John Friscia
Head Copy Editor for Enthusiast Gaming, Managing Editor at The Escapist. I'm a writer who loves Super Nintendo and Japanese role-playing games to an impractical degree. I really miss living in South Korea. And I'm developing the game Boss Saga!