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Nintendo Is Considering Controller Backwards Compatibility for Switch

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You might want to hold onto those old Nintendo controllers.

More than 15 years after the GameCube launched, its controller is still the preferred gamepad for many Super Smash Bros. Wii U players. But while Wii U owners can use Cube and Wii controllers, Nintendo has made no indication that older controllers might work on its forthcoming Switch console — until now.

Asked by Time if the Nintendo Switch had the horsepower necessary to emulate Wii U games or if those games would only be able to come to Switch via ports and remasters, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima volunteered some info about controller backwards compatibility.


“We can take games and bring them and make them playable on Switch,” said Kimishima. “So they can be remade for Switch, yes.

“That said, Switch is not backward compatible with games designed for other systems, and is not currently compatible with controllers designed for other systems. Support for certain controllers may be considered for a future update. In some cases, games from past systems may be re-released for the Nintendo Switch system as either enhanced or original versions.”

Nintendo has already revealed that the first such game from a previous system to be brought over to the Switch will be Mario Kart 8. An enhanced version of the critically acclaimed cart racer is headed to the Switch on April 28 under the name Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

At this time, however, Nintendo has not announced concrete plans to let Switch owners play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or any other games on Switch by using legacy controllers. But Kimishima’s comments at least open the door for this as an eventual possibility.

When Switch launches on March 3, owners will be relegated to using either the console’s Pro or Joy-Con controllers for all games. Legacy controller support would likely have to be added later via a system update.

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