Editor's Note: I made a video about this top a few months back that proved to be extremely popular and accurate thus far, so check it out if you haven't seen it already prior to reading onward: https://youtu.be/WvSuMWU3oKI
The Virtual Console, for all intents and purposes, is dead. Nintendo has avoided opening up about further discussions regarding the future of retro on modern hardware, but that hasn't stopped other companies from giving us the clear answer.
Namco has already released the Namco Museum, with 10 classic old school games together in one compilation, Capcom has released Mega Man Legacy Collection 1&2 including all the original Mega Man games (and beyond) 1-10, and SNK announced the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection with more than 10 classic retro games (including some NES releases). Retro compilations are coming out in full force for the Nintendo Switch.
It doesn't stop there, however, as Sega recently announced "Sega Ages", a way for them to bring retro Sega games to modern hardware. These will be coming to the eShop under the umbrella of regular eShop games, not a virtual console. While these Sega games look like they will be set to be sold as individual games and not part of a compilation, it still points to more retro games coming available to the eShop outside of a dedicated "Virtual Console".
I'd imagine it's just a matter of time before Konami releases the Castlevania Collection, the Contra Collection, and the Gradius Collection. Or any company that had ever made multiple successful games on retro hardware to do something along these same lines.
Where does that leave Nintendo? What about our chances to buy Super Mario Bros. for the millionth time?
Nintendo has addressed this already; the answers are there for the taking. Nintendo will be releasing a "Classic Game Selection" when their online service launches later in 2018. Select individual retro games from various platforms will be available on a monthly 'rental' basis for subscribers of the Nintendo Online Service (19.99/yr).
Will we be able to buy these game and keep them forever on our Switch consoles? That remains to be seen. During an investor's meeting earlier this year, Nintendo alluded to the NES Classic and SNES Classic systems (being compilations of ROMS together) were a step in the right direction. They spoke of how the Virtual Console on the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS never sold as well as they expected (let's be honest, many were overpriced for what they were). Putting groups of games on one cart and creating a Nintendo Compilation may be something that gets officially announced in the VERY near future. Think about it. A cartridge for your Nintendo Switch (or download) that has Super Mario Bros. 1-3, Super Mario World, Super Mario 64, and Super Mario Land 1-3 all on one cartridge for $39.99! There's an infinite amount of directions they could take this new approach, but one thing is for sure: The Virtual Console, as we know it, is dead.
What are your thoughts and how do you feel about the direction Nintendo has decided to take retro games?