Nintendo: No Virtual Console for Switch

Nintendo says the beloved classic games service isn't coming to the Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo has confirmed that Virtual Console is not coming to Nintendo Switch. 

In an e-mail to Kotaku, a Nintendo spokesperson revealed, “There are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems.” While that may sound like a contradiction to Nintendo’s previous statements that it was exploring ways to bring such a service to the Nintendo Switch, the spokesperson goes on to elaborate on what that the Switch’s lack of virtual console means. 

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“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,” said Nintendo. “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.”

While more information is needed before any definitive conclusions can be drawn, it doesn’t sound like Nintendo is going to deny Switch owners the ability to play and purchase classic games on the device, but rather the company will be releasing them in different formats. Nintendo specifically cites the Nintendo Switch Online service’s feature that provides online versions of classic NES games – which we knew about – but the company also mentions the “Nintendo eShop” and “packaged collections.” 

Those last two are a bit more interesting. Could this just be a simple matter of Nintendo dropping the Virtual Console name in favor of releasing certain classic titles on the eShop as regular downloads? It’s possible, but if that is the plan, then it’s odd that the company didn’t just simply say so from the start. As for packaged collections of titles, it would make sense that Nintendo might explore combining games in a franchise – or games related to a console – and sell them for retail prices. 

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In any case, it seems that the era of Virtual Console is over. We now have to wait and see how – or if – you’ll be able to download the classic games you want via your Nintendo Switch.