The Nintendo Switch Is Officially Not Launching With Virtual Console – Forbes
Buried in a press release titled “Nintendo eShop, Indie Games Ready for Nintendo Switch Launch,” was one key piece of information about what is not ready for the Switch launch: Virtual Console. Fans have been wondering for months now about the state of Virtual Console and what it would be like on the Switch, but for now, it won’t be there at all.
The line item is seven paragraphs down in the PR email, sent an hour before the embargo drops on Switch first impressions (which just happened at 9 a.m. EST), and simply says “Virtual Console games will not be available on Nintendo Switch at launch. We will share more information in the future.”
No dates, no time frame.
This is the latest bit of evidence, and perhaps even the most compelling piece, that the Nintendo Switch feels like a product sprinting to launch. The system is not launching with a web browser or standard video apps like Netflix. Nintendo has said that while online will be available at launch, it’s essentially in beta until this fall. And now that first impressions are coming out from those who have gotten their hands on an early version, there seems to be some trouble with Joy-Con syncing issues when the system is docked.
The Switch not launching with Virtual Console is perhaps the console’s biggest missed opportunity yet, as Nintendo would have had the ability to bolster a somewhat anemic launch line-up (Zelda excluded) with its practically infinite array of Virtual Console games. Everyone is hoping that the new Virtual Console will allow the transfer of past purchases to the new hardware without re-buying them, which is standard digital behavior in 2017, but not something Nintendo hardware has allowed before. Now, we don’t even have an answer to that question as the Switch is launching.
The rest of the release talks about how Shovel Knight and an indie game called FAST RMX are also launching with the Switch which is cool, but it is sort of a sad state of affairs when Nintendo has to proudly announce that something as basic as the eShop is going to be ready at launch.
I cannot understate how much Zelda is saving Nintendo’s bacon here. Launching without it, relying on the likes of 1-2-Switch and Just Dance 2017 would have been an utter disaster, as it’s clear now those wouldn’t have even been supported by Virtual Console titles.
Zelda alone is going to be enough to give the Switch a very strong launch, and I expect it to surge ahead of the Wii U’s opening sales salvo in short order. But it is still worrisome that this is a console that has clearly been rushed to release in some capacity because of how poorly the Wii U was doing, and because Nintendo had to get it out before their financial year ended. Nintendo is a company that will delay its software for eons in order to get it right, but I wonder if that same philosophy should have been applied to its console as well.
Hopefully Nintendo adds these missing features to the Switch in short order, and these technical hiccups we’re hearing about won’t mar the experience. But it is hard to excuse the lack of Virtual Console here, when it’s one of Nintendo’s greatest weapons and something the Switch really could have used at launch.
Write a Reply or Comment:
You must be logged in to post a comment.