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Nintendo on backwards compatibility: We’re going forward, not backward

Nintendo is about "creating new video game experiences... in the future".

Nintendo will focus on the future when it comes to its titles, and that means it’s not all that interested in backwards compatibility.

Speaking at a recent financial results meeting, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto spoke about backwards compatibility (including on Virtual Console) and the publisher’s focus.

“In the past, we provided a service known as the ‘Virtual Console’ that allowed users to play older video games on new consoles with newer hardware,” Miyamoto said (according to a translation via VGC). “As long as the hardware remained unchanged, those games could continue to be played. However, the publishing rights to video games are complicated, and we have said that we would only add titles after securing the necessary rights.

“Recently, however, the development environment has increasingly become more standardised, and we now have an environment that allows players to enjoy older video games on newer consoles more easily than ever before,” Miyamoto continued.

That being said, Miyamoto said those looking for more backwards compatible titles shouldn’t get their hopes up.

“However, Nintendo’s strength is in creating new video game experiences, so when we release new hardware in the future, we would like to showcase unique video games that could not be created with pre-existing hardware,” Miyamoto added.

While the Virtual Console isn’t available on Nintendo Switch, some older NES, SNES, Sega Genesis and N64 titles are available through Nintendo Switch Online and the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack.

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Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for close to fifteen years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.