Nintendo confirmed earlier this year the Virtual Console would not come to the Nintendo Switch, the service spread across a number of Nintendo consoles that offered re-releases of classic titles. But that doesn’t mean the company has abandoned this specific method of offering older games, it hasn’t abandoned delivering them to players on the Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo Switch Online, coming this September, is currently slated to launch with a lineup of original NES games, with some featuring online enhancements, as part of the subscription price. And speaking to IGN at E3 2018, Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aime said Nintendo envisions Switch Online as a VC successor of a sort, one with a lineup that will expand over time.
“The Virtual Console successor is Nintendo Switch Online, right? With the mentality that says we’re going to be offering a slate of games, and it’s a slate that’s going to increase over time,” Fils-Aime said. “For many of these games, there’s going to be additional online capability provided in those games. That’s the vision we have for how to best bring our legacy content to Nintendo Switch.”
Fils-Aime did not elaborate about how often that lineup will be refreshed or what other systems it will include games from. But his comments do follow from what he told IGN last year, acknowledging Nintendo is aware of players’ appetites for older games. (Fans have been eager to see GameCube ports brought to Switch, with rumors popping up even before the system’s launch.) 20 NES games will be introduced at the launch of Switch Online in September.
With that launch will also come cloud saves and online multiplayer being tied to the subscription service. Online multiplayer is currently free for all Switch players, but Fils-Aime doesn’t believe the transition will turn players away. The price point, additional services, and, of course, those legacy titles, are all factors he believes will get Switch owners to subscribe.
“We do [believe people will subscribe], and I say that because what we’ve laid out is a proposition where, yes you get the competitive play accessibility, you also get the cloud save, and you get access to the legacy content,” Fils-Aime said.. “That’s a fantastic proposition for $20 a year. We believe that it’s not going to be any type of issue for us. In fact, it’s going to enable us to continue offering a varied slate of opportunities from an online experience standpoint.”
Nintendo’s online service will see plenty of online multiplayer games coming this year. Both Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Mario Party, which also will have online play, are coming out later this year for Switch, while the console saw the launch of one of the biggest multiplayer experiences of the generation, Fortnite, earlier this week. Fortnite on Switch was downloaded more than 2 million times in its first day.
Fils-Aime also spoke to IGN about the recent string of leaks Nintendo has faced, the status of Metroid Prime 4, and why Nintendo places an importance on cross-platform play.
For more on Nintendo’s showing at E3 2018, check out everything Nintendo announced and detailed at its E3 2018 Direct.