It seems like a lifetime ago now, but last summer, Nintendo offered a nice--and all-too-brief--game voucher program for Nintendo Switch Online members. Subscribers could purchase a pair of vouchers for $100 USD and redeem those for select Nintendo-published games from the Switch Eshop, saving up to $20 off of their regular combined price--a nice chunk of change considering how rarely Nintendo drops the price of its titles, particularly digital versions, which seldom go on sale even when their physical counterparts are discounted at other retailers.
Of course, if you only purchased one set of vouchers, then the program was a bit of a wash as your savings would amount to the cost of a Switch Online subscription (and you could often find physical copies of some of the eligible titles at an even steeper discount on Amazon or at another retailer). If you were already a subscriber, however, it was a tempting perk, especially if you preferred to buy games digitally. Moreover, you weren't required to use both vouchers immediately, so you could save them for upcoming titles and snag Nintendo's newest releases effectively for $10 off.
Unfortunately, the voucher program was short-lived. The last day you could purchase vouchers was July 31, 2019--a little over two months after the promotion began. Any vouchers you bought would also only be valid for one year from the date of purchase, which means if you snapped some up last July and have been hanging on to them since, as I have, then you only have a few days left to redeem them before they expire.
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And that's a shame because the Switch voucher program, brief as it may have been, was a great perk and the kind of incentive Nintendo should offer more frequently to attract additional subscribers. Although Nintendo Switch Online is significantly cheaper than PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold, it's still comparatively meager next to Sony and Microsoft's offerings. Arguably the service's biggest draw is being able to play classic SNES and NES games on Switch, and those arrive sporadically. Benefits like the voucher program were genuinely worthwhile, bolstering the value of the service and helping set it apart from its rivals.
It was a surprisingly generous program, as well. Considering how reluctant Nintendo typically is to put its games on sale, being able to save on Switch's biggest titles, including new releases like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the just-launched Paper Mario: The Origami King, was wonderful, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one who stocked up on multiple vouchers to use on whatever surprise games Nintendo had on the way for the system.
It's disappointing that, come July 31, the voucher program will officially be over, and I hope Nintendo dusts it off again down the line. Although we may not know what else lies ahead for Switch this year--outside of Pokemon Sword and Shield's Crown Tundra expansion and Bravely Default II, neither of which have firm release dates, Nintendo hasn't yet announced any other games for 2020--it would be nice as a Switch Online members to be able to stock up on more vouchers for when new titles (like the heavily rumored Mario remasters) inevitably do arrive. Ah well, at least we can finally play Donkey Kong Country on the system.
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