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Is Pokémon Scarlet Multiplayer Free? The Ultimate 2300+ Word Guide for Gamers

Hey there fellow gamer! If you‘re wondering whether you can play Pokémon Scarlet or Violet with your friends for free, I‘ve got you covered. As a long-time Pokéfan and Nintendo enthusiast, I‘ve done some deep research into Scarlet/Violet‘s multiplayer and co-op functionality.

Let‘s dive in!

The short answer is: No, Nintendo Switch Online is required for online multiplayer. However, local wireless play is free. Keep reading as I break down the details.

Nintendo Switch Online – Required for Online Multiplayer

If you want to play Scarlet or Violet with friends online, you‘ll need an active Nintendo Switch Online (NSO) membership. This applies to:

  • Trading Pokémon online
  • Battling other players via Link Battles
  • Joining a Union Circle for co-op exploration/adventures

Without NSO, you can only use local wireless connectivity for multiplayer features. Up to 4 players can connect locally if each person has the game.

An individual NSO membership costs $19.99 annually. There‘s also a family plan for $34.99 per year covering 8 accounts. So it‘s quite affordable to get access to online play.

Over 32 million Nintendo Accounts have an active NSO membership as of September 2022 according to Nintendo‘s public figures. This table summarizes the pricing:

NSO Membership Type Price
Individual (1 account) $19.99 per year
Family (Up to 8 accounts) $34.99 per year

With Scarlet/Violet likely to sell over 25 million copies lifetime on Nintendo Switch, that‘s a massive potential audience able to access online multiplayer!

Can You Get Scarlet or Violet for Free?

Now let‘s talk about getting Pokémon Scarlet or Violet at no cost.

Unfortunately, there are zero legitimate ways to get the games for free currently. Industry analyst Daniel Ahmad confirms this as well.

As a premium first-party Nintendo title, you‘ll have to pay to play. Here are the pricing options:

  • Nintendo eShop Digital: $59.99 each
  • Physical Copies: Average $59.99 at retailers

I advise avoiding any websites or videos claiming to offer the games for free. These alleged "free Pokémon giveaways" are guaranteed scams according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Stick to trusted sellers like the Nintendo eShop, Amazon, GameStop and Walmart to ensure genuine copies.

In summary, you must purchase both the games and a Nintendo Switch Online membership to enjoy online multiplayer. No shortcuts here!

Hands-On: Scarlet/Violet‘s Multiplayer Experience

So what‘s the multiplayer and co-op gameplay actually like once you dive in?

Overall, it‘s seamless and accessible thanks to the new Union Circle mechanic. Here‘s an overview based on my hands-on time:

  • Unlock Union Circles early on to explore Paldea cooperatively.
  • Up to 4 players can join together online or locally. Progress synchronizes for all.
  • Battle wild Pokémon, collect materials, take on gyms – all as a team!
  • Smooth matchmaking and connectivity for online Union Circles via Nintendo Switch Online.
  • Trade Pokémon, battle, and enjoy general online interactions with friends.

Both critics and players are praising the connectivity. The Verge calls it a “fun social experience” while Polygon says it makes playing with friends “quick and rewarding.”

I agree – it removes all barriers to enjoying Pokémon together. If you‘ve got NSO, Scarlet/Violet are must-play co-op titles on Switch.

Scarlet vs Violet – Which Version is Better?

As you probably know, Scarlet and Violet each have minor differences. But which one comes out on top?

Here‘s a quick comparison table, then I‘ll share my verdict as an experienced Pokémon expert:

Pokémon Scarlet Pokémon Violet
Legendary Koraidon Miraidon
Exclusive Pokémon Past Future
Unique Area Area Zero Starfall Street

In my opinion, Pokémon Scarlet is slightly better for most gamers. The time travel mechanics give it a more compelling advantage. Area Zero is also cooler than Violet‘s Starfall Street.

But Violet is great too if the futuristic sci-fi elements appeal to you. You can even trade version exclusives with friends to complete your Pokédex.

Ultimately, pick based on your personal preferences. You‘ll have an awesome time either way!

Blockbuster Sales Show Scarlet/Violet‘s Appeal

Let‘s look at some sales data that shows Pokémon Scarlet and Violet‘s incredible appeal:

  • Over 10 million units sold worldwide in 3 days after launch.
  • Almost 18 million sales achieved in the first 2 weeks.
  • Lifetime sales surpassed 20 million by end of 2022.

This makes Scarlet/Violet the fastest selling Pokémon games ever according to Nintendo. The previous record was held by Pokémon Sword/Shield.

Based on projections, Scarlet/Violet could end up as two of the Nintendo Switch‘s top 10 best-selling games of all time.

That‘s hugely impressive! It demonstrates how popular and in-demand these Gen 9 Pokémon titles are. The cooperative gameplay and open world exploration are big draws.

Estimated Playtimes – How Long to Beat Scarlet/Violet

Looking to sink your teeth into some epic Pokémon adventures? Here are the estimated playtimes:

Main Story: Around 35 hours focusing on critical path.

Completionist Run: 80+ hours to finish all side content after becoming Champion.

This provides great value compared to other $60 AAA games that only last 15-20 hours. You can potentially get 100+ hours per version trying to catch ‘em all!

The playtime is similar to Pokémon Sword/Shield. But the new open zones make progression feel less linear this time around.

The Verdict – An Exciting New Direction

Despite some technical criticisms, the consensus among players and experts is clear:

Pokémon Scarlet/Violet deliver a fresh new open world twist to the iconic RPG formula that fans will love.

The 30-40 hour main story campaign is engaging plus the cooperative features encourage social play. It‘s never been more enjoyable to journey across Paldea together with friends thanks to Union Circles.

Some issues like performance problems still need ironing out. But Game Freak is actively releasing updates to address feedback.

All in all, Scarlet/Violet mark an exciting new direction for the storied franchise. An absolute blast for longtime Pokémon fans and newcomers alike.

Got any other questions about Scarlet/Violet multiplayer or gameplay features? Let me know in the comments! I‘m always happy to provide fellow gamers with expert Pokémon tips and guidance.