There was a time when we thought that the Switch would be a perfect fit for the Virtual Console. While we wait for Nintendo to bring classic games to the Switch, Sega is already on the case.
At a Sega fan event in Japan, the company announced the new Sega Ages initiative. Under this banner, the game developer will release titles for the Nintendo Switch, including the original Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star, and Thunder Force 4, starting this summer. The company said over fifteen games would be released on the platform, but only had these three titles to share so far. No word yet on whether the vastly superior later Sonic games will also be included.
As exciting as it is that Sega is finally bringing its games to the Switch—a platform arguably ideally suited to playing classic games—it sends a worrying signal about the fate of the Virtual Console on the Switch. The Virtual Console is a specialty storefront for the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS that allows you to buy and play older games, keeping them alive for another generation of consoles.
While Nintendo has never officially confirmed the Virtual Console would come to the Switch, it has said they would have more information “in the future.” So far, that future hasn’t come. Instead, we see developers like Capcom and now Sega bringing their games to the eShop individually. Meanwhile, Nintendo says that when Nintendo Switch Online—the still not-yet-available paid online service—finally arrives, it will include emulated versions of classic games. If Nintendo still has plans to bring the Virtual Console to the Switch, it’s not showing any sign of it. Still, it’s a great sign that so many games are coming to the console, if only on an individual basis.
Update: Two more games have been added to the list of confirmed games, including Alex Kidd in Miracle World and Gain Ground.