Nintendo Wants to Switch on the Nostalgia

Nintendo may be working on Game Boy and Game Boy Advance emulation for the Nintendo Switch, if the pair of recently leaked emulators are legitimate. (They do appear to have Nintendo’s fingerprints on them, according to Ars Technica.Additional game support would be a potent addition to the Nintendo Switch Online subscription and help it catch up to Sony and Microsoft’s subscriptions.
Nintendo’s Black Sheep
For as inventive Nintendo’s hardware can be, there’s no denying that its online services have been sorely neglected.

  • Switch only received belated official support for Bluetooth audio last September
  • Its dabbling in cloud gaming was bumpy, with considerable backlash for making the Kingdom Hearts Collection a laggy cloud gaming exclusive at launch.

The Opportunity
As evidenced by the enthusiastic reception for the newly launched Playdate retro console, it’s not all about performance. Integrating GameBoy and GBA emulation into Switch subscriptions would be a chance to leverage two of Nintendo’s strengths: nostalgia & cost.
This is all but self-explanatory. Nintendo’s biggest strength is its unrivaled catalog of games you played as a kid.

  • Nintendo’s NES & SNES Classic were hits during their limited releases in recent years
  • Nintendo added N64 games as part of the Switch Online Expansion Pack last fall
  • Access to older games is heavily limited by the expiration of the batteries powering cartridges

While not as capable as the PS5 or Xbox Series X/S, the Switch’s low price (and portability) eliminates one of the traditional barriers to entry for new customers. While gamers may groan some when Nintendo charges a bit more for access to Pokémon Yellow on the Switch, it would still be cheaper than rival services.

  • Switch’s most premium subscription is only $50 a year
  • PlayStation Plus Premium: $119/year
  • Ultimate Game Pass: $139/year