While most people are interested in what the NX actually turns out to be, there’s another topic I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. Would it make sense for Nintendo to release a stand-alone Virtual Console? Ever since the Wii came out, Nintendo has started to capitalize even more on its own past and released classic games as download titles for their current platforms. But how popular could such a console be?
Nostalgia certainly is a powerful feeling. Often enough it has been the driving factor behind my Virtual Console purchases. How many times did I see Youtube videos on obscure retro games only to find out, that they are available on the Virtual Console? If I’m being honest, since the Wii has been released, I always thought that the Virtual Console was the best idea Nintendo had in a long time. It gave me the opportunity to play a lot of games I missed when they originally came out. I skipped the SNES and N64 back in the days in favour of a Sega Mega Drive and a Sony PlayStation, so there was a lot of catching up to do. The TurboGrafX16 hadn’t even been released in Europe, so there were a lot of games to be discovered on that too. The best part is that Europe gets some games that were never released here, like Earthbound. Overall, I always enjoyed the Virtual Console, especially on the original Wii, since it was very well supported back then.
As far as I can see, it should be easy to produce a spin-off console that only focuses on this. The Hardware specs could be pretty low, which would also mean it could have a really cheap price. If you would be able to use your Nintendo ID account on it in order to get the games you have on the other devices already, it would certainly add to the appeal too. But I wonder if there’s a market for it?
There are some indications that there is. The RetroN 5 for example, is a console aimed at people who want to play old games with the added convenience of being able to play them without hassles on a modern screen. The only problem is, that you still need the original cartridges and some games are really hard to find. On the Virtual Console, this problem wouldn’t exist, even if the catalogue of available games will never be as extensive as it’s for the original console or the RetroN 5. Still, there seems to exist a market for these older games.
I also doubt it will interfere in any way with their main consoles. Whatever the NX will be, I’m certain that while a Virtual Console functionality will be there, it won’t be its biggest draw to the platform. On the other hand, I could imagine that a new console could take away a lot of attention from this proposed Virtual Console device, but the difference in prices could even that out.
What do you think, would a pure Virtual Console device make sense?