It has always been clear that Nintendo is a company that banks on nostalgia. Many of its older franchises including Zelda, Kirby, and Mario still have huge following many decades later, which makes its latest decision so surprising.
Nintendo has recently offered more details on how its subscription-based online service is going to work. For $20 a month, Switch players get a number of perks: online multiplayer, cloud saves, and access to a growing library of old titles akin to a Netflix of classic games.
The State Of Virtual Console On The Nintendo Switch
The online games library is perhaps the most important component of Nintendo's online service. With a unified place for its older titles, continuing its Virtual Console platform doesn't make much sense for Nintendo, so, it's killing it. That's right. The Switch won't support Virtual Console, unlike the Wii U, the 3DS, and the Wii.
"There are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems," a Nintendo spokesperson confirmed to Kotaku.
It should be noted that it doesn't mean Nintendo isn't planning to release older games on the Switch. What it does mean is that such titles won't be branded as Virtual Console anymore.
Now, how will fans play older games? Nintendo has detailed a couple of ways.
"There are a variety of ways in which classic games from Nintendo and other publishers are made available on Nintendo Switch," said the Nintendo spokesperson, listing the Nintendo Switch Online's NES library, Nintendo eShop, and packaged releases as examples.
Interestingly, Nintendo says its Netflix-like games service will be different from a virtual console.
"Thanks to enhancements such as added online play, voice chat via the Nintendo Switch Online app and the various play modes of Nintendo Switch," the spokesperson said.
Depending on how much players value Virtual Console games, this news could be devastating. Several users on Reddit have already voiced their frustrations over a such a drastic decision.
"Do you want me to play your old games illegally, Nintendo? Cause this is how you make me play your old games illegally. I would've paid for em, but you're not giving us the chance," user epicchili wrote.
What About Other Consoles?
One publisher in Japan known as Hamster has released some of its older games on the Switch eShop. Sega has also announced plans to bring some its classic titles from the Genesis era to the console.
If one thing is certain, it is that older games aren't going away, only the Virtual Console branding is.
It's not immediately clear how Nintendo plans to release classic games going forward. Will it put everything in the NES library? If so, what about games for platforms other than NES? Will there be separate libraries for SNES, Nintendo 64, and GameCube games moving forward assuming Nintendo expand its library to include these platforms?
What do you think about Nintendo's decision? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!