Nintendo indicates that future branded consoles may not offer backward compatibility

Nintendo indicates that future branded consoles may not offer backward compatibility
Nintendo indicates that future branded consoles may not offer backward compatibility

In recent years, backwards compatibility has become a much desired feature for gamers, who want to access their games even on newer console generations. Even after Microsoft integrated all generations of Xbox, and even Sony started offering PlayStation classics via streaming, Nintendo still makes no guarantee that it will give priority to backwards compatibility.


On the Nintendo Switch, it is possible to play select NES (the famous Nintendinho), Super Nintendo and even Nintendo 64 titles for Nintendo Online subscribers, but the issue is still complicated, according to legendary developer Shigeru Miyamoto.

In a question-and-answer session for brand investors, he explained that there are two drawbacks to a worthy backward compatibility program: licensing, and the architecture of older consoles. Miyamoto explains:


“In the past, we offered a service known as Virtual Console, which allowed old games to be played on newer consoles. As long as the hardware didn’t change, those games could be played. Anyway, publishing rights for video games are very complicated, and so we could only add games after we got the necessary rights.”

The logic is similar to how Microsoft handles Xbox consoles. While it is possible to run games from the first console directly on Xbox Series X, the compatibility of the titles is something that the developers and publishers themselves need to approve. Not just any old game can be run on the current generation.


Miyamoto explains that the Virtual Console project did not go ahead because of the different console architectures, which complicated the adaptation of games to new hardware. Nowadays this has been solved, with a certain standard in the architecture of the latest generations, but it seems that Nintendo is not very interested in the topic:

“Recently, the development environment has become more and more standardized, and it now becomes easier for gamers to enjoy old games on modern consoles. Still, Nintendo’s strength is in creating new experiences, so when we release new hardware in the future, we’d like to showcase its unique capabilities in games that couldn’t have been made with pre-existing hardware.”

Miyamoto’s statement indicates that the Switch’s successor may not have compatibility with his games, but it should be clear that this is no guarantee. Nintendo could still end up offering some sort of access to the hybrid console’s library, or else realize the pressure from gamers.

It wouldn’t be the first time, as Sony didn’t have a favorable position on backwards compatibility either. Ultimately, after much demand from gamers, the company did offer some titles from past generations to subscribers of the new PlayStation Plus plans.

Be that as it may, a successor to the Nintendo Switch has not yet been announced.

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She is the editor of The Desk Game. Previously, she was editor-in-chief at other news sites. Juliana has also in her career been an editor for several websites and has more than 5 years of experience in the industry.

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