Fans of classic Nintendo re-releases got some good news this week, as Nintendo finally released emulated versions of 20 Super NES games as part of its $20-per-year Switch Online service. But the company tempered that announcement with some less visible bad news: further releases in that collection will no longer come on their usual monthly schedule.
Since launching with 20 NES titles last September, the Switch’s collection of playable classics has expanded by two or three games each month, to the point where it now includes 46 distinct NES titles. But yesterday, a blog post on Nintendo’s Japanese site (machine translation) indicated that those releases would be coming “irregularly” from now on.
In a statement to Business Insider, a Nintendo representative confirmed that “More NES games will be added in the future, but those releases will not adhere to a regular schedule.”
By contrast, Nintendo kept up its pace of regular monthly releases for the (now defunct) Virtual Console emulators on the Wii and Wii U for years before those releases began to slow to a trickle. That situation was a bit different, as Virtual Console games could be purchased individually rather than rented en masse via subscription. Still, the few dozen emulated games available via Switch subscription currently pale in comparison to the hundreds available on the Virtual Console, making it an odd time for Nintendo to announce a slowdown.
That said, $20 a year is still a pretty good price for access to over 60 NES and SNES games in an easy-to-play portable-or-TV-based format (not to mention the online features you get on top of that). We’ll have to see just how “irregularly” those further releases are before we can know just how much better that deal will get in the future. But if Nintendo lays down another surprise release of 20 Nintendo 64 games in the next few months, all is forgiven.