Wii’s Virtual Console is dead and has been for over a year. Every Monday we see a plethora of DSiWare and WiiWare titles, and rarely, if ever, one Virtual Console (VC) title. Nintendo evidently doesn’t care about Wii’s Virtual Console anymore, but the VC is going to come back in a huge way soon.
Now, if you are a Club Nintendo member, Nintendo tracks every WiiWare, DSiWare, and VC game you buy, so it could easily allow you to re-download a game you already purchased. Will that be allowed? Maybe. Nintendo has announced that you will be able to transfer DSiWare games to your 3DS, so maybe VC games will work the same way on “WiiToo”. As we all know, Nintendo is bringing back VC on 3DS with a splash, and likely the same will happen to the Wii’s successor, most likely rereleasing all the titles are already on the current VC at a rate of 3-4 games per week, just as when Wii’s VC was in its prime.
Super Mario Bros. in 3D? Count me in.
But if you’re like me and have bought lots of VC games on Wii, odds are you won’t want to buy them all again. Nintendo knows this, and even now it may be thinking of ways to get you to buy Mario Kart 64 for the third time. I see a couple ways that Nintendo could potentially bring buyers back to a new, updated VC. The first and most obvious way to revive the VC is with 3DS. Sure, you’ve bought Super Mario 64 three times already, but have you ever played it in true 3D? Get out your wallet, and get ready to buy it for the fourth time.
Do re-released games with 3D visuals justify another VC purchase? I don’t think so, but after the success of the soon-to-be-released Ocarina of Time 3D remake, Nintendo will be getting every penny out of its franchises by updating them into 3D. At E3 there were reports of the original Super Mario Bros. in 3D, so you know Nintendo is already on its way.
Pricing would again be an important issue, however. How much would you pay for Super Mario Bros. 3D? Nothing? Five dollars? Somewhere in the between? Nintendo could end up alienating a lot of gamers with VC re-releases of games they’ve already bought for an equal or higher price.
Since most, if not all, NES games on VC are $5, 3DS remakes of NES titles should be priced slightly less. If you bought Kirby’s Adventure for $5 on Wii’s VC, you definitely don’t want to pay $5 again for the same game, only with 3D visuals. $4 would be fair. Unfortunately, the prices will probably be higher, which is better for Nintendo, which will keep the value of its old games high. But we can’t end there, as 3DS will have the ability to play classic Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. There is no word on price, but $5 or less would be fair. Is The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX worth $5? You bet it is.
Ready to Buy Super Mario 64 for the fourth time?
Wii Too will probably have a different and more compelling strategy. For Nintendo to be successful with its Wii Too VC rereleases, it needs to first copy the competition. Some of you may see where I’m going with this, but for those who don’t, Nintendo first needs to copy PSN and Xbox Live. After individual players have their own profiles, Nintendo then needs to introduce its version of achievements. Maybe paying for Kid Icarus again doesn’t seem very thrilling to you, but what about paying extra for the games with achievements this time? Many gamers don’t care about them, and probably won’t repurchase these titles, but there are an awful lot of gamers who do, and Nintendo should take advantage of them. Maybe Nintendo will let you transfer your games over, as it’s allowing with DSi and 3DS, but with the option to pay another dollar to augment achievements into the experience. Many people may see that as a waste, but there may be just as many people who would jump at the idea.
“Oh, you beat Ocarina of Time with three hearts? Where’s your proof? Mine’s right here! BOOM!! I got the Legendary Hero Achievement!!!”
By introducing achievements into old VC titles, Nintendo will breathe life into its tremendous catalogue yet again, and it will have scores of gamers excited about playing an old game yet again. We have already seen this on Xbox Live and PSN with some of Sega’s Genesis titles. Nintendo needs to follow suit, and get another Ace up its sleeve. Would you repurchase classic games if they included achievements? Let us know in the comments.