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If you've been holding your breath for a Nintendo 64 Classic mini-console, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime has made it very clear that you're endangering your health for nothing. While such a console may happen one day, it's certainly not on the way. According to Fils-Aime...
The above comes from a chat Fils-Aime recently had with the folks at Kotaku. According to Fils-Aime, Nintendo has no plans at the time to release a Nintendo 64 classic, which many have speculated up to this point would be getting a holiday announcement.
As best I can tell, that speculation was never based on anything Nintendo said so much as an assumption that an ongoing trend would continue. Nintendo launched an NES Classic back in 2016 and an SNES Classic in 2017. Many felt that meant that the next console, the Nintendo 64, would surely get the "Classic" treatment to cap off 2018.
According to Fils-Aime, the first two classic consoles were partially launched to fill a hardware gap for Nintendo. The Wii U was going nowhere fast by 2015 and the Switch was still too far over the horizon for Nintendo to bank on. Instead, they developed the NES Classic, a small yet affordable nostalgia trip filled with old-school games. Even Nintendo didn't expect that particular piece of hardware to be as popular as it was, with a second batch of the machine finally rolling out after the launch of the SNES Classic the following year.
As Fils-Aime puts it, those consoles were always viewed as a "limited time" endeavor, not as a new and sustained model for delivering classic games to consumers. It might be best to think of them as a stopgap, boosting sales and Nintendo's visibility while everyone waited for the Switch to arrive.
For fans of classic games, though, it sounds like Nintendo is still figuring some things out and, based on Fils-Aime's answers to subsequent questions, already has some ideas planned. One of the biggest complaints concerning the Switch is that it lacks a Virtual Console. The most recent Nintendo platforms all had a Virtual Console, giving consumers an opportunity to fork over a few bucks for classic games.
Nintendo kinda-sorta addressed this with the super-late launch of the Switch's online service which, as part of its $20 annual fee, includes a collection of classic NES games. That library has grown slowly but surely over the past two months, with three more games scheduled to inch the total count past 30 games by the year's end.
Fils-Aime states that the Switch's online service is how Nintendo plans to handle classic gaming moving forward. Since the NES is the only console represented right now, you can decide for yourself if that means additional platforms will eventually be represented. Fils-Aime notes that the NES collection is only just getting started, though, so it might be a while before anyone is playing Super Nintendo or Nintendo 64 games on their Switch.