Ever since the Nintendo Switch was announced, fans have been anxious to hear the gaming giant announce some form of Virtual Console service for people who enjoy the classics. However, the Switch has been out for almost a year and a half, and Nintendo has remained silent about the popular service.
The only hope of playing these classic titles in a modern setting are the recently released NES Classic, the SNES Classic, and Nintendo’s new Online service that plans to bring select titles to subscribers. This had many fans worried. Some even believed the company might be replacing the Virtual Console with the perks of Nintendo Switch Online. Unfortunately, that fear is now a reality.
In an interview with IGN, Nintendo of America’s Reggie Fils-Aime explained how Nintendo Switch Online is the successor to Virtual Console:
“The Virtual Console successor is Nintendo Switch Online, right? With the mentality that says we’re going to be offering a slate of games, and it’s a slate that’s going to increase over time. For many of these games, there’s going to be additional online capability provided in those games. That’s the vision we have for how to best bring our legacy content to Nintendo Switch.
“We do [believe people will subscribe to Switch Online], and I say that because what we’ve laid out is a proposition where, yes you get the competitive play accessibility, you also get the cloud save, and you get access to the legacy content. That’s a fantastic proposition for $20 a year. We believe that it’s not going to be any type of issue for us. In fact, it’s going to enable us to continue offering a varied slate of opportunities from an online experience standpoint.” — Reggie Fils-Aime
Fans are likely to respond negatively to this decision. Nintendo had a great thing going with Virtual Console, which was arguably at its peak on the Nintendo Wii. The Wii U built a steady library of games, but it never quite met the needs of most fans.
Throughout the entirety of the Wii U’s life cycle, gamers were hopeful that Nintendo would allow them to play GameCube games through the service since they had opted out of putting controller and memory card ports in the system. But this never came to be. After the launch of Nintendo Switch, fans became hopeful again that we would be able to download GameCube games as well as other classic Nintendo favorites. This idea was incredibly appealing to gamers that are always on the go.
But even if Nintendo brought everyone’s favorite games to Switch Online, it would be all for nothing. Most consumers that wanted these games have no interest in subscribing to a monthly or yearly service, no matter the price. If we know one thing about gamers, they like to save money where they can.
And locking these games behind a subscription service hurts these consumers in more ways than just their wallet. Once Nintendo Switch Online goes away, there’s no guarantee that subscribers will still have access to these titles. The same is true with PlayStation Network, which verifies your purchase of a digital game each time you boot it up.
Can Nintendo find a way around this? I bet they could. But Nintendo has tried their best to be for the consumer, even if they’re a little out of touch with the times. This new way of charging fans for classic titles isn’t fair to those that want nothing to do with online features.
What do you guys think? Is Nintendo being ridiculous here, or do you think this is totally fair? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!