On Xbox One, if you want to play any game online including free-to-play games, you'll need an online subscription to Xbox Live. On PS4, you'll need a PS+ subscription to play most games online, but free-to-play games, as well as free demo weekends for games, are excluded from this requirement. While Nintendo has not yet officially announced its stance on this subject, eagle-eyed gamers have spotted what appears to be possible confirmation that Nintendo will not require players to have an online subscription to play free-to-play games on Switch like Fortnite and Paladins.
The possible confirmation comes in the form of a series of disclaimers recently added to games on the eShop, in advance of Nintendo's online service launching next month. Many paid games with online functionality, including first party titles like Mario Kart 8 and third party titles like Minecraft, now have disclaimer text on their store pages on the UK eShop, explaining that players will need to soon pay for an online service or lose access to the game's online features.
However, free-to-play games Fortnite and Paladins do not feature this otherwise consistently applied disclaimer.
While it's not official confirmation – it's possible that these games coincidentally just haven't been updated it – it does seem to paint a picture of Nintendo following Sony's lead, and only requiring an online subscription for traditionally sold video games.
We have sent Nintendo an email requesting comment, and will update this story if Nintendo responds.