In a statement to Kotaku today, Nintendo revealed the unfortunate news that it does not plan to bring the beloved Virtual Console to Nintendo Switch. This comes just a matter of hours after providing additional details about its upcoming Switch Online service.
When Virtual Console made it’s debut on the Nintendo Wii in 2006, it only consisted of 12 games. The titles were from NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, and Sega Genesis consoles. With the release of Virtual Console, Nintendo added nostalgia as one more reason for consumers to buy the already-popular Wii. The Virtual Console continued to add titles over time and made debuts on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Since 2006 hundreds of additional games have been added to its library.
Many consumers have become grown accustom to having the Virtual Console as an option on their Nintendo consoles and as a result, expected to see it come to the Nintendo Switch. Rumors and hopes have been swirling since the release of the Switch that the Virtual Console would come to it, but Nintendo clarified in an email to Kotaku that there are no plans to do so.
A Nintendo spokesperson stated in an email that “there are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems.”
This news can be mellowed out by yesterday’s announcement from Nintendo that its Switch Online Service will ship with 20 NES games. As you would expect, The Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros, and Donkey Kong are in the lineup.
Nintendo’s landing page for the service states, “new games added regularly.” Time will tell if Nintendo’s Switch Service could become the new Virtual Console. Instead of buying games individually, gamers would simply subscribe to a monthly subscription.
This move would not be completely unlike what Sony and Microsoft do with their consoles. PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live subscribers gain access to new game titles every month that they remain subscribed. If their subscription lapses, they lose access to the games until they resubscribe at a later time.
Nintendo has spent a lot of time and effort keeping nostalgia for its games alive as of late. With the launch of NES Classic in 2016 and most recently the launch of SNES Classic in 2017, it has confirmed its knowledge of fans willing to spend money to relive past experiences.
Although Virtual Console is no more, Nintendo’s recent releases of “classic” consoles and promise of retro games included in the Switch Online Service gives me hope that they will continue to give classic titles the attention that many of us think they deserve.