Last night, Nintendo released details for its upcoming Online service launching in September, including new pricing details as well as a number of features, including the addition of cloud saves. One of the other notable features includes a Netflix-style offering of 20 NES titles, complete with online multiplayer and full voice chat support. The addition of this feature warrants the question: what is happening with Virtual Console?
It appears those dreams may be dashed. In an email statement to Kotaku, Nintendo confirms that Virtual Console as we’ve known it will not be coming to Switch, saying specifically that “there are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems.”
While it’s easy to jump the gun and begin to worry that classic games have been all but eviscerated from Switch, this doesn’t mean that classic titles will never come to the platform, or even that they’ll be locked behind the Online service’s paywall. It’s important to think about the wording used—that classic games won’t be “under the Virtual console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems.” Clearly, we’ve seen games like Arcade Archives VS. Super Mario Bros. and various NeoGeo titles on Switch, as well as upcoming collections in the vein of Street Fighter: 30th Anniversary Collection and Mega Man Legacy Collection that will whet fans’ appetites for classic games. This also doesn’t necessarily mean that Nintendo won’t address classic games under another banner or with standalone releases as we’ve seen so far—just that we won’t have all classic games under a single roof as we did on Wii, Wii U, and 3DS with Virtual Console.
While it is disappointing to not be getting a proper Virtual Console offering on Switch, let’s rejoice in the fact Nintendo isn’t abandoning its legacy library altogether. We’re still getting awesome collections from third parties, and Nintendo will continue to add classic titles to its Online service, so I wouldn’t give up all hope just yet.