Nintendo won’t be releasing a new Classic mini-console anytime soon. In an interview with The Verge published this week, Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser said the company has turned its focus entirely to the Switch family of devices, which support retro gameplay in addition to new releases.
A new home for the classics – The release of Nintendo Switch Online in 2018 brought with it a library of classic titles, making it instantly easier for players to get their hands on longtime favorites without the need for an emulator. And, as popularity remains strong, the Switch family is only growing. Nostalgia aside, the Classic consoles can’t offer much in comparison — and Nintendo knows it.
"Our focus right now is absolutely on our dedicated platforms, such as Nintendo Switch Lite and our flagship Nintendo Switch," Bowser said of the company’s.
“I think with the gameplay experiences you saw with some of our classic consoles that we launched a few years ago, they’re now available on Nintendo Switch Online, and this is where our focus will be.”
Biding its time – Nintendo’s first console reboot, the NES Classic Edition, launched in 2016 with 30 pre-loaded games to immediate success; it sold out within a matter of minutes and was even briefly resurrected after its 2017 discontinuation due to the high demand. The subsequent release of Nintendo’s SNES Classic followed pretty much the same path. All in all, Nintendo sold over 10 million units of the consoles combined.
But, it’s been clear from the start that the company was just gearing up for its next big move. Nintendo launched its new flagship console just five months after the first wave of NES Classic, just as rejuvenated interest in Nintendo reached its peak.
Pour one out – While it’s somewhat disappointing to hear Nintendo won’t be releasing a mini version of the N64 in the foreseeable future (which, to be honest, I’m pretty bummed about), it’s in no way surprising. The Classic consoles were a fun gimmick, but Switch is where it’s really at anyway.