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NINTENDO KILLS VIRTUAL CONSOLE AND EXPECTS US TO SMILE

EDITORIAL
By MIKE HAZLETON
08/05/18

Following on from the success of Nintendo's virtual console service on the Wii U, Wii and 3DS, it seemed an inevitability that we would see the service on the Switch. Indeed, Eurogamer, who the headline of this article is referencing, told us in December 2016 that we would see GameCube games as part of that service, going as far as to say "Nintendo Switch will be able to play GameCube games via its Virtual Console service, three separate sources have confirmed."

Of course, times change, people lie, plans are altered. With the recent statement that "There are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems," many people's most anticipated announcement of E3 has, unfortunately, been killed before it began. (SIDE NOTE: We’ve published our official ‘Bets and Dreams’ for E3 2018 right here). But as has rightly been reported since by the likes of IGN, this doesn't mean we won't see Nintendo classics on the console (we know for a fact that we will have 20 NES games with more promised to follow), so is this really something to be upset about? Nintendo appear to be aware that it is a contentious issue, arguably hiding this information behind the release of further details about their online service and the NES games announcement.

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Indeed, the handling of the Virtual Console service is something that arguably blighted the Wii U's early years (as if it needed any help): all these games bought that people now have to buy again, not to mention the delays in actually releasing them. We would hazard a guess that Nintendo have used that experience and decided to go down a different route. What we are seeing with the NES titles is games with streaming support and online multiplayer (of sorts), which are extremely notable updates for such classic titles. If this sort of thing eventually comes to SNES, Nintendo 64, handheld and hopefully GameCube re-releases, then you can't be too upset by the decision to effectively dismiss the Virtual Console brand, if that's the cost.

Let's face it. Do you really want to spend another £15 on the exact same port of Mario Kart 64, buying it probably for the third time in ten years? Or would you rather have a version with online multiplayer, streaming (which could be massive for Nintendo - these games are already lapped up by streamers using emulators on PC) and who knows what else? With the effort taken to put online multiplayer in, there's no doubt that we could see other enhancements too.

Three times is probably one time too many to expect people to pay for the exact same game, and it means Nintendo can avoid the issue of allowing the transfer of existing Virtual Console games from the Wii U to Switch. So, while the decision to "kill" the possibility of the service on Switch may make the headlines, we are hopeful that in the long run we will see a better service, better games and better experiences as a result. The "best" way to play classic games will always be in their original form, and to make shelling out for them again worthwhile, extra value needs to be added (more than the simple advantage of portability that the Switch offers), and we trust (or hope) Nintendo will see this and bring us the best of their back catalogue, complete with extras, and at a reasonable price.

So we're not quite smiling, but it's not the end of the world if Nintendo do it right. We'll see.

Guess it’s time to break out the AV to HDMI converter and get the ol’ Cube wired up!