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Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app launching July 21

The external smart device app handles the bulk of the Switch's online services and, in some cases, offers game-specific features and menus.

The smartphone app to which Nintendo has delegated the bulk of the Switch’s online services has been dated for a July 21 release, right alongside the launch of Splatoon 2

Rather than manage certain aspects of online services through the console itself, the Nintendo Switch Online app handles most of the nitty-gritty organizational bits of online play via smartphones, giving players the ability to invite friends to online matches, set play appointments, and use voice chat.

As showcased during a Splatoon 2-themed Nintendo Direct, the Nintendo Switch Online app will also have game-specific features such as, in Splatoon 2's case, access to in-game item shops or statistics from a player's mobile device.

Though the app is due out later this month, Nintendo has reaffirmed that it has no plans to charge for the service until the start of 2018. After the end of this free trial period players will have to shell out for a paid subscription, priced between $3.99 a month and $19.99 for a full year.

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