Nintendo Retiring Virtual Console Branding For Switch

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

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Nintendo Switch’s paid online service will not include the Virtual Console service. Last night, Nintendo announced that 20 NES games will launch with the service, leaving the status of Virtual Console up in the air. Today, Nintendo confirmed the brand is a no-go on Switch as it existed on past platforms, leaving retro games to be sold in a variety of other ways.

“There are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems. There are a variety of ways in which classic games from Nintendo and other publishers are made available on Nintendo Switch, such as through Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online, Nintendo eShop or as packaged collections.”

Nintendo further cites the enhancements the addition of online play and voice chat to their first party NES games as to how the Switch’s use of classic games differs from the Virtual Console.

“Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online will provide a fun new way to experience classic NES games that will be different from the Virtual Console service, thanks to enhancements such as added online play, voice chat via the Nintendo Switch Online app and the various play modes of Nintendo Switch.”

For the past three Nintendo systems, including Wii, 3DS, and Wii U, Virtual Console has been ubiquitous with the re-releases of classic games dating from the NES to the Nintendo 64, including some third party systems from SEGA and Hudson Soft. Of late, these elder games have been resold to fans via the Nintendo Classics systems (the NES Classic Edition), Hamster Corp.’s re-releases of arcade oldies, and third party compilations such as Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 + 2.

The Switch was rumored to keep Virtual Console rolling on back before the system launched with GameCube games coming to the service, but it seems these rumors were for naught. Nintendo says there is “nothing to announce at this time” regarding other platforms outside of the NES coming to the Switch Online service in the future.

About Alex Irish

When he's not writing about games, Alex Irish is an illustrator and animation expert. His favorite gaming franchise is Pokémon, full-stop, but his favorite game of all time is Resident Evil 4. He attended the first-ever IGN House Party and is a five-time attendee of the Ottowa International Animation Festival.