Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 6, 2017

Email: Virtual Console predictions and wishes

I’m interested in how Nintendo will implement the Virtual Console this time around as well. Depending on how they do it, I might actually pay attention to it once more. But there are some things I need to see happen before I invest in it.

  1. Account tied games

This one is non-negotiable. If games are once tied to the hardware and not the account, then I will not even bother with the VC.

  1. More reasonable game prices

I did not like the pricing scheme on the Wii VC–$5 for any NES game? $8 for every SNES game? It’s not exactly that much, but it doesn’t entirely make sense. Games should be priced based on the value offered by the game, and not based on the hardware it appeared on. A game like Chrono Trigger offers more value to the player than, say, F-Zero,, yet they will be priced the same because they are both SNES games. I would also like to see way more sales and bundles offered.

On a related note, I want the ability to transfer my Wii VC games to the Switch. Preferably for free, or at least for only a flat cost.

  1. Virtual Console worthy Joycon

Right now, the left Joycon is not suitable for 2D gameplay due to it’s lack of a proper D-Pad. I understand why Nintendo made the Joycon the way they did, but it does not change the fact that it’s not that great for individual play. Thankfully, the Joycons are pretty modular and you can actually mix and match them as you please. I can foresee Nintendo making a left-Joycon that has a proper D-pad (preferably in the ‘primary’ position with the analog stick in the secondary). Until then, I’m likely to only use the Pro controller for VC games.

I also have some wishes with the Virtual Console:

  1. Game Boy line games

Nintendo offers Game Boy and Game Boy Color games on the 3DS, but not the Wii U (probably because the 3DS is a handheld), which only has GBA games for some reason (likely because the 3DS isn’t powerful enough to emulate a GBA). I’d like to see the entire Game Boy line available on the Switch.

  1. Nintendo DS emulation

This one might be tricky, but I think it’s doable. The big issue with DS emulation is interface. Many games rely on it’s touch screen, and just about everything makes use of the second screen in some fashion. A DS virtual console would likely only be playable while in handheld mode, since many games would need the touchscreen in order to function properly. The two screens would simply be both be displayed on the main screen, like a splitscreen game.

  1. Gamecube and Wii emulation

Probably the least likely and most challenging wish, since I am not sure the Switch would be powerful enough. According to this video, however, a Nvidia Shield can run a Gamecube emulator reasonably well, and the Switch is likely to have more powerful hardware. Not to mention, the Shield is an Android system, meaning the Android emulator does not have direct access to the hardware and has to be running an OS in the background as well.

What do you think?

 I think a more fundamental issue needs to be addressed: is the Switch going to prioritize consumers or developers?

With the NES, it was designed around consumers and not the developers. Nintendo had Japanese software to send over. American companies were outraged. EA was outraged and refused to put games on the system. Nintendo even implemented a rule where companies were limited to five games a year so the system wouldn’t be flooded with poor quality games. What happened was that the NES became very successful and the NES third parties became extremely wealthy. If you wish to prosper, allow the customer to prosper. For all the Game Industry talk about ‘third parties demands’, it should be realized that third parties are what caused the Great Atari Crash of 1983. Third parties can wreck consoles with their crap.

I am worried that Nintendo will throttle back the Virtual Console due to ‘developer whining’. Profit is obtained through the software. If you buy Third Party Game, they get money and are happy. But if you buy Link to the Past on Virtual Console, Nintendo gets that money but the development team that made that game is no more. They don’t need the support.

I say that if a game company cannot compete with games made decades ago, that game company should not be making games today. Wii had a substantial Virtual Console and Wii sold a massive amount of software. There is no correlation of Virtual Console killing software sales. If anything, it is the reverse.

What I want, and what you, the beautiful reader, want, is for there to be a Classic Library of games where we can get. Games should be introduced slowly, sure, but they all add up. Put as many consoles up there as possible.

The reality is that Nintendo doesn’t give a shit about our wishes which causes Nintendo to get into sales trouble. Right now, the successful launch of the Switch is Nintendo’s number one priority. Launching consoles is hard. I get why it will be their focus.

After Switch launches, the priority for Nintendo is, aside from continuing momentum for Switch, is to launch and sustain their online operation. The Virtual Console looks like it will be cannibalized specifically for sustaining that operation.

Nintendo says it will let us play a VC game each month with online multiplayer. Who asked for this? Is this the X-Band Nintendo service now? Costs about the same as the Nintendo service too!

No one wants to play VC sports games. As far as the great multiplayer VC games, we already have Switch versions of Bomberman, Street Fighter 2, Mario Kart and Tetris. Does anyone want to play co-op games online? Nah. I hate it in Contra or Life Force when the terrible second player would steal all your lives! They’ll probably put NES Ice Hockey up there first or something. I wonder if Nintendo would do something as insane as put up Urban Champion for us to play online.

What I think: Virtual Console will be weaponized to push Nintendo’s online service. You won’t be getting cool SNES RPGs here. You will be getting games like NES Ice Hockey.

I also expect the VC to be heavily throttled due to crybaby developers “We can’t compete against this 30 year old game!”.

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