A non-profit video game preservation organisation has openly criticised Nintendo’s approach to its own legacy titles.
The Video Game History Foundation – which relies on donations to help it advocate for and preserve the history of video games – issued a public statement following the news that the 3DS and Wii U virtual shops fronts will be closing next year.
Whilst the organisation says it understands the “business reality” of the decision, it expressed disappointment in how Nintendo appears to be actively ignoring fans that want to play these games in the future.
“As a paying member of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), Nintendo actively funds lobbying that prevents even libraries from being able to provide legal access to these games,” said the foundation.
Back in 2018 the ESA actively opposed efforts from another non-profit organisation, the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment, to preserve abandoned online games. Despite the museum’s non-profit status, the ESA said its work could create “substantial market harm” (via GamesIndustry.biz).
“Not providing commercial access is understandable,” continued the Video Game History Foundation in its statement, “but preventing institutional work to preserve these titles on top of that is actively destructive to video game history.
“We encourage ESA members like Nintendo to rethink their position on this issue and work with existing institutions to find a solution,” it concluded.
In a now deleted Q&A answer regarding the closure of the 3DS and Wii U eShops next year, Nintendo said it has “no plans to offer classic content in other ways [outside of Nintendo Switch Online].”
As this statement was removed, it is currently unclear if a more traditional take on the Virtual Console will ever make its way to the Nintendo Switch, or if the subscription model will be the only way to play most classic first party games on the service.
It was recently announced that Majora’s Mask will come to Nintendo Switch Online next week, as both the original and HD versions will become unpurchasable through official channels next year when the Wii U and 3DS eShops close.