Remember when we were first introduced to the Virtual Console on the Nintendo Wii? It was so fun (and reasonably affordable) to revisit and replay so many classics from consoles gone by. They brought it back for the Wii U and for the 3DS, albeit in a somewhat fragmented kind of way. We all expected Nintendo to unleash the Virtual Console on the Switch too, but now the company has put the official kibosh on that hope.

In an email to Kotaku last night, a Nintendo spokesperson indicated that “there are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems.”

That’s that then, right? Well, maybe not.

We’ve already been treated to a number of classic ports on the Switch, particularly the Neo Geo games brought over by Japanese publisher Hamster. Sega says they plan on bringing old Genesis games to the Switch too. What this really means, then, is that we won’t have a “Virtual Console” on the Switch, but we’ll still get our old games. They’ll just be intermingled with all the new indie games and blockbuster titles.

“There are a variety of ways in which classic games from Nintendo and other publishers are made available on Nintendo Switch,” continued the spokesperson, “such as through Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online, Nintendo eShop or as packaged collections.”

Oh, you hadn’t heard that first bit? The Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online (they really ought to shorten that) is like a Netflix for classic NES games. You pay for a monthly subscription and get unlimited online access to these games, including the ability to play online. The service will launch with 20 games at first, including Tennis, Balloon Fight, Dr. Mario, and the Legend of Zelda.

Individual memberships are $3.99 for 1 month, $7.99 for 3 months, or $19.99 for 12 months. A family membership for up to 8 users is $34.99 for 12 months. Nintendo Switch Online launches in September. Realistically, this sounds like it’ll be the replacement for the Virtual Console and — fingers crossed — it’ll extend beyond the NES too.

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