In the aftermath of E3 2018, Reggie Fils-Aime stated that Nintendo Online is the successor to the Virtual Console. Here is his quote in full.

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. 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.

This does not seem to be the case though. At launch, Nintendo Online has a severely limited amount of games available, and you cannot purchase them. As of right now, there are only 10 games out of 20 that have been announced for the launch of Nintendo Online. Those are The Legend of ZeldaSuper Mario Bros.Super Mario Bros. 3Mario Bros.Donkey KongDr. MarioTennisIce ClimberSoccer, and Balloon Fight. Out of these 10 games, eight are available on the NES Classic.

If you can own them, in addition to 22 more NES titles on the NES Classic, why play them through Nintendo Online, especially since the NES Classic was just restocked and much easier to find. In fact, I was able to pick one up on the 29th with ease. Yes, you have the option of portability, but only providing NES games when the service launches? It’s a joke. There’s no indication that GameCube games will be available on the service, which is what everyone wants. Owning a physical game/system is superior to any subscription service as well. Nintendo has also re-trademarked the Nintendo GameCube and Nintendo 64 recently, which may be indicative of more Classic Editions on the way, considering what a massive success the SNES and NES retro consoles have been.

Nintendo Switch Virtual Console isn't Needed

For better or worse, Reggie is wrong. Nintendo Online is not a replacement of the Virtual Console. Even the Classic Editions are missing some beloved games, such as Chrono TriggerFinal Fantasy IIITurtles in Time, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2, and the Super Star Wars games, among others. That’s okay though. These Classic Editions have so much to offer. The SNES Classic isn’t even that difficult to find anymore. My local Target is consistently stocked to capacity. They sell fast, but they are constantly re-stocking.

Nintendo would be foolish to stop at the SNES Classic. The systems simply sell too well and are too profitable to not go all-in. The N64 and GameCube have superb game lineups, and it would be a wasted business opportunity to not develop them. Switch owners will still buy Nintendo Online because they want to play their games online, like Splatoon 2 and Mario Tennis Aces. Fans have clamored for GameCube titles on the Virtual Console for ages. Considering the amount of memory on the Nintendo Switch, it may not be feasible to add GCN games to Nintendo Online. With a GameCube retro console, fans win.

Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, one of the best Star Wars games ever

The most worrying aspect of Nintendo Online is the fact that as of now, there are only NES games that will be available at launch. That’s simply unacceptable. Half of them aren’t even top-quality titles. There may be some surprises with the second 10 games, but the NES Classic has eight of the 10 games available already. This is an atrocious business move on Nintendo’s part and simply proves the fact that Nintendo Online is not the successor to the Virtual Console: Nintendo Classic consoles are.

There is no doubt there will be more. The Nintendo 64 has three of the greatest games of all-time and the Nintendo GameCube is vastly underrated. Nintendo would be idiotic not to release a Classic Edition of these two beloved consoles. All signs point to the fact that they will.

Pure Fun

Nintendo has, perhaps inadvertently, caused retro consoles to soar in both popularity and demand. This is why Nintendo Online will never be a successor to the Virtual Console. The answer lies within the Nintendo Classic line of consoles. Hopefully, Nintendo is able to realize this and capitalize on this incredible opportunity.

All signs point to the fact that they are. Move aside Nintendo Online, Nintendo Retro consoles are taking your place before you even launch.

About The Author


Morgan Lewis is a Video Game Journalist and is the Founder, Owner, and Editor-in-Chief of VGCultureHQ. He has been writing about games for over six years and has written over 2,000 articles during that timespan. He first fell in love with gaming when he received A Link to the Past for Christmas when he was six and is the guywazeldatatt. He also loves anime and anything that has to do with gaming culture and Tetsuya Takahashi games. He is also a huge anime and Star Wars fan.

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