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Nintendo Not Bringing Virtual Console Branding To Switch

by Donald Theriault - May 8, 2018, 6:06 am PDT
Total comments: 18 Source: Kotaku

Retro games will still come, but they'll stand alone.

Among the items retired in the transition to Switch will be the Virtual Console name.

Following the announcement of Nintendo Switch Online adding enhanced NES games, Nintendo issued a statement to Kotaku regarding the status of the legacy Virtual Console service:

“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".

Classic games on Switch are currently represented through the Arcade Archives service from Hamster (SNK/Irem/Nintendo) and Flying Tiger Entertainment (Data East), as well as through collections such as the upcoming Mega Man (X) and Street Fighter collections from Capcom and the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection published by NIS America. Sega has also announced their Sega Ages line of enhanced releases from M2 will launch on Switch.

Talkback

broodwarsMay 08, 2018

I can't wait for the first batch of games that Nintendo yanks from their online service because they have a competing product to sell, probably starting when they want to sell that N64 Mini.

And don't say it won't happen because the oh-so-precious Netflix pulls shows & films all the time, and Nintendo just DID that with Tropical Freeze on the Wii U.

Quote from: broodwars

I can't wait for the first batch of games that Nintendo yanks from their online service because they have a competing product to sell, probably starting when they want to sell that N64 Mini.

And don't say it won't happen because the oh-so-precious Netflix pulls shows & films all the time, and Nintendo just DID that with Tropical Freeze on the Wii U.

I've never understood why people would want a "Netflix for Virtual Console" for this very reason.


That said, it's not a 1-to-1 comparison because this is more like if Netflix only offered unlimited streaming on Netflix original programming, and other studios only offered to let you buy a digital copy on a separate store front tied to Netflix.

AdrockMay 08, 2018

By ditching Virtual Console branding, Nintendo’s strategy may be offering consumers two choices: buy a Classic Edition console to own these games or pay the membership fee for access to them.

Yikes. An account system that transfers your purchases is an existing concept that Nintendo could easily implement. If software isn’t locked to a platform, it seems Nintendo wants people paying for these games in perpetuity.

Quote from: Adrock

By ditching Virtual Console branding, Nintendo’s strategy may be offering consumers two choices: buy a Classic Edition console to own these games or pay the membership fee for access to them.

Yikes. An account system that transfers your purchases is an existing concept that Nintendo could easily implement. If software isn’t locked to a platform, it seems Nintendo wants people paying for these games in perpetuity.

Alternatively, it could be 3-pronged:


Online service offering
NES/SNES/N64 "Classic" line of consoles

Individual non-branded ports of Gamecube/Wii games


Or at least, that would be my hope out of what I consider a shit-sandwich situation.

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterMay 08, 2018

Tropical Freeze Wii U did come back in like a day but the point still stands. The games could be pulled at a moments notice when a physical mini gets released in stores.


I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this. I know I don't like it right now thats for sure. Online functionality to the old games is actually really neat to me. That's something over my Wii U/Wii VC and SNES mini I guess but I'd rather buy the game and keep it.


Hopefully just the branding of the VC is done away with and one day we'll get to purchase those old games like we are accustomed to. Still all of us paid for them games 35 times over, let me just move em forward once more Nintendo!



Luigi DudeMay 08, 2018

Quote from: Caterkiller

Hopefully just the branding of the VC is done away with and one day we'll get to purchase those old games like we are accustomed to. Still all of us paid for them games 35 times over, let me just move em forward once more Nintendo!

I wouldn't be surprised if they'll end up giving the option to individually purchase some of these games.  Similar to how on the Wii U, you could redownload your Wii games at a lower price.  So paying the $20 a year gives you access to all of these games but if you want to permanently download some of them to your system it'll be $1 for an NES game, $1.5 for SNES, $2 for N64, and $5 for Wii and hopefully Gamecube games.

I think Nintendo realizes, especially after the success of NES and SNES Classics, it looks bad to charge $5 for NES games and $8 for SNES.  A subscription services for the console certainly makes it look more appealing to the overall casual audience who can now access all these games similar to Netflix.  But I doubt Nintendo is going to pass up on the opportunity to get the hardcore fans to rebuy Mario and Zelda for the billionth time.

I do wonder if we will hear more about this online service at E3. The reaction to yesterday's news seems largely mixed. The price is good, but I am left wanting to know more about what Nintendo are going to be doing with the rest of their back catalogue.


Fortunately, there are already too many great games on and coming to Switch. Really looking forward to Megaman Legacy Collection 1 and 2 in a couple weeks.

ForgottenPearlMay 08, 2018

I've never used Virtual Console much at all since I still own all my classic games, but this is still disappointing to hear.  Nintendo's clearly not listening to consumers, many of whom have been begging for Switch Virtual Console since the system was released.  This will greatly limit the number of classic games we can play on the go.

Ian SaneMay 08, 2018

I hope Nintendo doesn't pull classic releases when a Classics mini console comes out simply because the mini consoles aren't that easy to get.  Someone that just wants to buy a copy of a retro game shouldn't have to seek out a mini console that may be hard to find in stores for months after its release.  I have seen SNES Classics in stores but they're rare and I still see them listed on Craigslist for above the MSRP.

The Classics line is pretty different though.  Buying a digital download of a retro game on the Switch is a lot different than having to buy a physical mini console, that is not portable, that you cannot play on your Switch, that comes bundled with other games you may or may not want.  It's like wanting to buy a song on iTunes but it gets pulled because the same song is available on a limited edition box set.  Same song but the audience for both products isn't the same.

Luigi DudeMay 08, 2018

Quote from: ForgottenPearl

I've never used Virtual Console much at all since I still own all my classic games, but this is still disappointing to hear.  Nintendo's clearly not listening to consumers, many of whom have been begging for Switch Virtual Console since the system was released.  This will greatly limit the number of classic games we can play on the go.

Actually it looks like they did.  For years people complained the prices of games were too expensive on the Virtual Console so now they're turning it into a subscription based service.  For the general public this will certainly be a better deal to most of them since now people will have access to a larger number of games for a much lower price then having to buy them individually would have been before.

AdrockMay 08, 2018

Quote from: Luigi

Actually it looks like they did.  For years people complained the prices of games were too expensive on the Virtual Console so now they're turning it into a subscription based service.  For the general public this will certainly be a better deal to most of them since now people will have access to a larger number of games for a much lower price then having to buy them individually would have been before.

That still sounds like Nintendo didn’t listen to consumers. People complained about the price so instead of just lowering the price and/or tying purchases to an account like every other platform, Nintendo took Virtual Console away entirely, locking past purchases to old hardware forever, then gave consumers something else that they now always have to pay for to have access to.

Mop it upMay 08, 2018

I figured Nintendo would be dropping the Virtual Console name for Switch, but hopefully they'll still sell games outside of the sub service.

broodwarsMay 08, 2018

Quote from: Adrock

Quote from: Luigi

Actually it looks like they did.  For years people complained the prices of games were too expensive on the Virtual Console so now they're turning it into a subscription based service.  For the general public this will certainly be a better deal to most of them since now people will have access to a larger number of games for a much lower price then having to buy them individually would have been before.

That still sounds like Nintendo didn’t listen to consumers. People complained about the price so instead of just lowering the price and/or tying purchases to an account like every other platform, Nintendo took Virtual Console away entirely, locking past purchases to old hardware forever, then gave consumers something else that they now always have to pay for to have access to.

Back on the 360, I bought a copy of the original Xbox game Jade Empire that was backwards compatible on the 360.

This past week, Microsoft enabled that game to play on my Xbox One. For free. A game that I essentially bought 3 console generations ago migrated to the latest console at no extra charge to me. I'm not an Xbox Live subscriber.

Meanwhile, Nintendo wants me to continually pay $20 a year to play the NES Legend of Zelda, a game I already bought on the Wii & the Wii U, and whatever no-effort NES garbage they deign to add to the service...eventually. Yeah, they were definitely listening to the fans.

AdrockMay 08, 2018

Quote from: Mop

I figured Nintendo would be dropping the Virtual Console name for Switch, but hopefully they'll still sell games outside of the sub service.

Hopefully. I’m not sure what dropping the Virtual Console name accomplishes to that end. Maybe it helps organize third parties games that never appeared on Nintendo platforms before.

LemonadeMay 08, 2018

Im perfectly ok with this. I stopped caring about the VC a long time ago.

Mop it upMay 08, 2018

Quote from: Adrock

Quote from: Mop

I figured Nintendo would be dropping the Virtual Console name for Switch, but hopefully they'll still sell games outside of the sub service.

Hopefully. I’m not sure what dropping the Virtual Console name accomplishes to that end. Maybe it helps organize third parties games that never appeared on Nintendo platforms before.

I figured it would mean that the games didn't have a set pricing structure by system, and instead had varying prices for games from the same system. Though I guess they did start doing a little bit of varying with the Game Boy VC. I don't know how the royalties / legal side of things work, but perhaps it would be easier and more profitable for third parties if they didn't have to use the VC name. No idea on that one though. I also figured it would mean the games could have more added features instead of just being straight-up emulations. And if there were any negative stigma with the VC name (not sure if there is, just pondering) it would help do away with that.

This was all what I was hoping for a year ago at least. No idea what will happen.

KhushrenadaMay 08, 2018

The irony for me is that after not bothering much with the VC on Wii or Wii U, because I didn't see the point in spending money repurchasing games when I still owned the original, I had come around to the thought of downsizing my physical game collection and getting into the VC for the Switch figuring I could easily offset the cost of repurchasing those games with what I sold the original physical ones for and could better consolidate my game library to a system allowing for more modern TV displays. Except VC got weaker on Wii U and now it won't exist for the Switch. You keeping zagging when I want to zig, Nintendo!

StogiMay 08, 2018

I hate to bring it up, but with the recent hardware exploit and subsequent hack of the Switch, Nintendo is on a short leash when it comes to bringing a service people want to pay for. The alternative is already pretty appealing.

Furthermore, Nintendo is already in a bind regarding their Nindie developers. The lack of ports and old classics has given developers an exciting environment to develop for. The switch is already one of the best places to sell low-budget games and the lack of competition from Nintendo is one of the main reasons. If they unleash a tsunami of VC games, developers may pull support for more fertile grounds.

So to recap, Nintendo is in a tough spot between supporting developers and supporting gamers.

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