And Nintendo sees the SNES Classic Edition as a “type of Virtual Console.”
The first thing most Nintendo fans and games media did after praising Nintendo for the 21 classic games it announced would be part of the SNES Classic Edition bundle was to get to work complaining about all their other favorite SNES releases that didn’t make the cut. Nintendo has announced no plans to release other games, but selling classic SNES titles as individual releases is at least something the console holder sees as feasible.
“We have been thinking about a lot of different ways to make use of Virtual Console titles, and not just Game Boy Advance titles,” Nintendo Company Limited Senior Executive Officer Satoshi Yamato said on a recent investor call. “Similar to these software titles we have made available on a variety of platforms over the Internet, we consider the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Famicom (to be sold as Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition in the U.S.), scheduled to be launched in Japan this October (and September overseas) to be a type of Virtual Console.
“It would be possible to sell these titles as packaged software or via download cards, but if we were to start selling products like this in the future, I think we would first have to consider whether we can establish that kind of business model, and do our due diligence in finding out if there is sufficient demand for it.”
The Virtual Console was Nintendo’s digital storefront for selling vintage games from platforms like the SNES, NES, and N64 to Wii, 3DS, and Wii U owners. Many Nintendo fans assumed the Virtual Console would make an appearance on the Nintendo Switch as well, but more than four months after the Switch’s March 3 launch, Nintendo has yet to announce any plans for that to happen.
It’s unclear if the hypothetical situation Yamato mentions in which Nintendo sells SNES games as individual products would be constrained just to the SNES Classic Edition’s library. If past history is any indication, though, that would seem unlikely: Wii, Wii U, and 3DS each received hundreds of Virtual Console games.
Nintendo also didn’t specify whether those individual downloads would be playable on the Switch, the 3DS, the SNES Classic Edition, or some combination thereof. Given that the SNES Classic Edition is believed to be a limited-run product like the NES Classic Edition before it, the chances that Nintendo would only sell such products — assuming it did sell them at all — for the SNES Classic Edition, however, seems unlikely.
The SNES Classic Edition releases on September 29 for $79.99 and comes with two controllers and 21 games.