The Virtual Console isn't coming to the Nintendo Switch, says a spokesperson for the company. The end of the Virtual Console means the end of a retro game-distribution tradition that goes back over a decade to the Wii.
"There are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems," a spokesperson for Nintendo recently informed Kotaku's Jason Schrier via email. Don't panic and freak out just yet, though: "Virtual Console" is the name of a brand that unified Nintendo's marketplace of downloadable retro games. It doesn't mean Nintendo won't build up a library of retro games for its new console.
We already know Nintendo Switch Online subscribers will get access to NES games they can play for as long as they remain subscribed to the service. So far, the list of available games is limited to 10 first-party titles, but Nintendo will probably expand the subscriber library—and hopefully we'll see some SNES, N64, and GameCube games.
"Nintendo Switch Online will provide a fun new way to experience classic NES games that will be different from the Virtual Console service, thanks to enhancements such as added online play, voice chat via the Nintendo Switch Online app and the various play modes of Nintendo Switch," Nintendo told Kotaku.
As for third parties, it's already possible to buy some great Neo Geo games on the Switch, but we don't know if Nintendo has a plan in place for when Konami inevitably gets the itch to make us play Super C instead of Contra for the fourth time. It's possible third-party developers will be turned loose to just distribute their retro titles via the Nintendo Switch eShop, same way Hamster Corp is currently releasing its Neo Geo games. Maybe we'll find out more about Nintendo Online in general at E3.