Just recently, Nintendo gave us some new details about their upcoming online service for the Switch. Most of it isn’t that exciting, though cloud saves are coming to subscribers. They’re basically doing the same thing as Microsoft and Sony. A monthly subscription fee that allows you to play online and get free games every month.
Everyone who subscribes will get access to classic NES games. There will be 20 at launch with more added later. Each one will also have built in online play so you can play with friends anywhere.
Getting to play a bunch of NES games is cool and all but what about all those other Nintendo classics? Every Nintendo console since the Wii has had its own Virtual Console, a virtual store front specifically for games from older systems. However, Nintendo have revealed that “there are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems.” We can read this one of two ways. Either they’re done with the retro games or they just don’t want to use the Virtual Console branding any more. But that leaves us wondering how they’ll handle classic games on the Switch.
They could just leave it up to the original license holder to release their older games as they wish. SNK have already released a bunch of their older NEO GEO games on the Switch’s marketplace. I think they have bigger plans though. Given that subscribers to their online service will get all those NES games, I reckon it’s likely that a lot of their retro games will be available through their subscription service with the additional features such as online play and voice chat.
As they have stated “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”. There’s no reason this couldn’t apply to SNES and N64 games in the future.
What remains to be seen is whether their classic games will only be available to those paying the subscription fee or if they’ll be available for purchase by everyone. At the very least, 20 dollars a year isn’t too much to pay for it but it does suck for those of us already enjoying online play for free. Tell us what you think in the comments below.