Nintendo has always been searching for a way to solve the "getting kids to pay for online" problem in the Pokemon series, and they found their answer with the Pokemon Bank app. For a few "measly" clams (oysters?) a year kids could pony up and store their creatures online, but now they have to submit to a higher authority: Switch Online.
About that, a new message has appeared at the very bottom of the new Pokemon Sword & Shield site that has people buzzing: "Nintendo Switch Online membership (sold separately) and Nintendo Account required for some online features. This game includes an in-game purchase option for users who do not have a membership. Not available in all countries. Internet access required for online features." Just in case you don't have a sub yet, expect that neon orange sign to hit you in the face reminding you that you "really should pay to play online."
Some are speculating that this option actually isn't Switch Online, and allows for a "workaround" subscription for just Pokemon. Not only is that highly unlikely, but there's already an advertisement shortcut for Switch Online in Tetris 99, so there's precedent. We've reached out to Nintendo for clarification.