During the 79th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, Nintendo executives responded to the usual gamut of questions about the company’s future, including what plans exist for accessing Nintendo’s classic games library.
This question in, well, question, as translated by Cheesemeister on Twitter, was directed at Nintendo of Japan President Shuntaro Furukawa and specifically asked about games from the Nintendo 64 and GameCube.
Q10. About N64 and GameCube software.
What will come of your legacy release strategy? Can we expect the expansion of the Switch online service?
The GameCube had Kirby’s Air Ride and other famous titles.
(Kirby comments continued, cut here for brevity. Same last year and before.) https://t.co/XP5DtmDxjk
— Cheesemeister (@Cheesemeister3k) June 27, 2019
Apparently, the investor asking the question has been rather interested in seeing classic Kirby games re-released for the past few years. However, Furukawa’s response acknowledged the desire many people, other than avid Kirby fans, have to play these classic games:
While I can’t give any new information about further classic hardware, etc. here, we are thinking about expanding the NES software lineup on the online service and other ways of providing them.
We understand your desire to play past products.
It’s likely Furukawa wasn’t directing his last comment to just the Kirby fan’s persistent requests either. The investor questions all centered around the Switch’s long-term viability, trying to gain assurance the system’s sales wouldn’t go the Wii route and suddenly drop off after a few years.
Providing paid access to Nintendo’s classics would more than likely be one way of ensuring continued profit.
While there are nearly 10 million Switch Online subscribers, many lament the lack of desirable titles offered under the Classics option, which range from truly classic NES titles to the rather more obscure.
There’s no easy way to play many of Nintendo’s other classic games without owning the original hardware. While the SNES Classic Mini is still available on the market, it’s offerings are limited — not taking pirating into consideration, at least. Other retro consoles are pricey, with no guarantee of quality and functionality either.
In short, there’s definitely a market for a wider selection of classic games spanning the generations.
Whether this means we’ll see SNES, N64, and GameCube games on Switch Online isn’t certain, of course. The “other ways of providing them” could easily refer to a separate digital subscription service like Square Enix recently said it was considering, one not tied to the Switch’s emulation limitations.