Nintendo Switch Virtual Console Isn't Happening
Nintendo has "no plans" to release legacy games under the Virtual Console banner on Switch.
Nintendo has confirmed that Virtual Console will not return on Switch. In a statement to GameSpot, the company said, "There are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems."
In lieu of the Virtual Console, Nintendo will offer a program called "NES - Nintendo Switch Online." As one of the benefits for subscribing to Switch's upcoming paid online service, players will have access to a library of classic NES games, all of which will feature enhancements such as online play. At launch, the service will feature 20 games, including classics like Super Mario Bros. 3 and The Legend of Zelda. Nintendo says that additional titles will be added to the library regularly.
The Virtual Console line debuted back in 2006 on Wii and has been available on each of Nintendo's subsequent consoles. The line encompassed titles from Nintendo legacy systems such as the Super NES and N64, although each platform has a different Virtual Console catalog; for instance, Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games could only be purchased on Wii U, while Genesis and TurboGrafx-16 games were released on Wii.
Despite the apparent end of the Virtual Console brand, that doesn't necessarily mean that Nintendo's other legacy games won't appear on Switch in some form. "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," Nintendo told GameSpot.
One such example is Sega Ages, a line of classic Sega games coming to the Switch Eshop this summer. Hamster has also released an extensive selection of Arcade Archives games, including a handful of Nintendo's own arcade titles, such as VS. Super Mario Bros. and the original arcade version of Punch-Out.
The Switch online service launches in September. Along with access to the NES - Nintendo Switch Online collection, it lets subscribers back up their game data via cloud saves and will be required to play many games like Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Mario Tennis Aces, and Sushi Striker online. Players will not need a subscription to continue playing 3DS and Wii U games online.
Subscriptions for the online service will be available for one month (US $4 / £3.49 / AU $6), three months (US $8 / £7 / AU $12), and one year (US $20 / £18 / AU $30). Nintendo will also offer a Family Plan for US $35 / £31.49 / AU $55, which allows subscribers to invite up to seven other Nintendo Account holders into their family group, even across multiple Switch systems.