Nintendo's online system was revealed last night, and it sounds pretty great. In addition to just costing $20 a year and coming with a small buffet of NES games (an additive system), you can opt for a family plan that will run you less than $5 a year. Nice! Except, apparently, this new limited retro plan is the only way you're going to be playing retro games on the system. Yep, no GameCube virtual console is planned as has been rumored since the Wii -- no Virtual Console at all is planned, actually.
Speaking to Kotaku, Nintendo noted:
"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. Nintendo Entertainment System – 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."
So that's pretty clear. The only way right now that we're getting Virtual Console games is by way of compilations and such...like the Seiken Densetsu pack, which was never localized, and....yeah. Instead of going for the dream, like giving us a real unified account system and access to all of the VC games we paid for in the past on the go, we're getting the possibility of repackaged compilations at a premium. Not a great trade.
One interesting angle that not a lot of people have looked at: where does this put the 3DS? It currently runs the VC model, but if Nintendo is saying VC isn't the future, could they eventually bring the subscription service to another platform? Likely not, if the 3DS' destiny is to rot.