Why There's No Virtual Console On Switch yet

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By Gary Gray

For the last year, every time Nintendo has any sort of announcement in the offing (even if it's just a rumoured one) there's an outcry from fans for information on Virtual Console for Switch. 

The service originated in the good old days of the Wii, offering a robust back catalogue of games covering most of Nintendo's home console history.  Having such a back catalogue available digitally - especially one as robust as Nintendo's - was incredibly convenient, not least because it's accessible to anyone who has a bank card.

New Ways To Go Retro

A couple of years back the NES Classic gave us a new way to get our hands on retro games. Packed in a tiny, yet incredibly cute shell, the NES Classic felt like the nearest thing to actually owning the original console. Naturally the next step was to release the SNES Classic.

Having the hardware packed with some of the greatest games of each system, all delivered in a petite version of its former self, might sound like a dream come true, but unfortunately there is a down side.

The ability to download only the games you want, or more if you've finished with what you've got, is a huge benefit of Virtual Console over the Classic Minis. Having your game library on your latest console is also a big factor. Not having to have 3 or more systems hooked up at once in order to enjoy a couple of decades of gaming history is just plain old convenient!

Backlog Building

All of that having been said, we don't need the Virtual Console right now. With a major game hitting every month, plus the flood of indie games pouring in each week, the eShop is already jam packed with great games. Sure, I want it, everyone does, but I wouldn't get a chance to really dive in to the classics right now. My mini classic consoles are begging to be played, but I just can't pull myself to boot them up. Not with shiny new games coming out every week. 

Personally, I feel like Nintendo know this. Not overshadowing some of the delightful indie titles on Switch with similarly priced fan-favourites from yesteryear is a smart move. When the inevitable drought of games comes, Virtual Console will be a great way to plug that gap. But for now, it would only distract from the brilliant games coming out every single week. As the Switch is still building momentum, it makes sense that "new" is the focus. 

Luckily I can sleep knowing that Virtual Console will almost inevitably arrive at some point in the future. But for now, I'm trying to keep on top of all the amazing games I already added to my huge backlog. 


Gary is the co-founder of and writer for Nintendo Village, and also hosts multiple shows including Topic Nintendo. A fan of not only Nintendo, but all things gaming. However, the GameBoy is where his love first blossomed. His favourite game is The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening

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