A staple feature on Nintendo’s previous two consoles, the Wii and the Wii U, has been Virtual Console, a marketplace of sorts where players can purchase retro video games for consoles spanning the industry’s rich history, from the NES to Nintendo 64. It even included non-Nintendo systems, such as the Sega Genesis and Turbo-Grafix 16. An easy way for players to keep enjoying the classics on fresh hardware, as well as an easy way for Nintendo to keep making coin off 30+ year old games, Virtual Console seemed to be the kind of service that’d be around forever.
That’s why it was so jarring when the Nintendo Switch came out early last year. Its online service totally absent at launch; that’s not terribly surprising though, as Nintendo has still not really managed to nail the whole "online services" aspect of modern gaming. What was strange was the complete lack of a Virtual Console, or even a mention that it’s coming down the road. Many assumed we’d learn about the Switch version of Virtual Console when details about the online service were finally given.
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Well, Nintendo surprised us last night with details on Nintendo Switch Online, once again with no mention of a Virtual Console. Kotaku reached out to Nintendo for comment, and a spokesperson confirmed the bad news, saying, "There are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems."
Now, that doesn’t mean we won’t be able to play old school games on the Switch at all — in fact, there are already some NES and arcade classics available on the system now. It looks like these sales will have to be facilitated by Nintendo eShop, which is fine, if a more fragmented solution than the Virtual Console was. Still, with players dropping hundreds of dollars on old games in Virtual Console’s previous iterations, it would have been nice to be able to carry some of that over into the next generation.