Good things come to those who wait. Except, maybe, for Nintendo gamers.

The company that created the Super Mario and Zelda franchises is finally embracing online gaming with the debut of its first online subscription service, charging $20 a year for users of its Switch console to play each other across the web. The move comes more than a decade after rivals Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. started similar products that today generate billions of dollars in subscription fees.

But Nintendo Co.'s late arrival is being met with jeers, not cheers, by large swathes of the gaming community. Users have had 18 months to trial the service for free and the response has been decidedly negative. Lacking must-have features for today's multiplayer titles, such as in-game chat, consumers are slamming the platform as frustrating to use, susceptible to cheating and prone to connectivity issues. With the all-important holiday season riding on the success of online brawler "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate," analysts say improving the network is more critical than ever.