As part of the big January unveiling, or perhaps not long after, we'd expect the eShop (or new equivalent) to get a big push for the Nintendo Switch. We already know of multiple 'Nindie' developers that are actively working on projects, and considering the growth in importance of downloads it's inevitable that the new system will go its own way with a store. A Virtual Console has always seemed likely as a result, and now our colleagues at Eurogamer believe that the GameCube will be part of that retro service.
Of course, it all seems to be four years late with the cube-shaped wonder. There were rumours prior to the Wii U launch, and shortly after it arrived, that the GameCube would arrive on the eShop. It never happened, though, and the Wii U bucked the trend established by the Wii in skipping a generation of home console; after all, original Wii models had game support (in one way or another) for every major preceding home system. The Wii U has supported all of these apart from the GameCube through a combination of backward compatibility and its Virtual Console.
Of course, for Switch the challenge is different; unlike the approach Nintendo took with the Wii, Wii U and even 3DS (compared to DS), the new system isn't following a similar architecture to its predecessor. Physical backward compatibility can't happen as a result, so emulation becomes the only way to go; it's the usual VC download challenge, then. The Switch perhaps has a bit of extra grunt to make this possible that was lacking with Wii U, but we may never know whether that's the case or if Nintendo simply bailed out of working on GameCube downloads for the current-gen after bad sales.
Still, if we assume there'll be a Virtual Console on Switch, what form should it take? Does Nintendo need to change its approach? Are subscriptions, bundles and cheaper options needed after two generations of relatively expensive downloads? It's a topic we've covered before:
- Talking Point: Nintendo's Legacy Makes the Virtual Console Essential, But It Must Modernise
- Talking Point: The Allure of the Virtual Console and How Nintendo Can Harness It
- Talking Point: Nintendo's NES Classic Edition is Just One Way to Revolutionise the Virtual Console
We want to know what you think before tackling the subject again. Share your thoughts on the Nintendo Switch and its potential Virtual Console in the polls and comments below, and we'll be sure to incorporate some of those thoughts in our upcoming editorial.