Nintendo has made a promising new announcement when it comes to their future services on Nintendo’s next console.
As reported in NintendoEverything, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa fielded a question from an investor in the company’s most recent quarterly financial meeting.
This seems to be a response to the question about backwards compatibility for Nintendo Switch games to the next console, which Nintendo have yet to announce.
As translated by Genki_JPN, Shuntaro gave this answer:
“As for the transition from Nintendo Switch to the next generation machine, we want to do as much as possible in order to smoothly transition our customers, while utilizing the Nintendo Account.”
Furukawa’s carefully worded answer suggests that the company would like to offer backwards compatibility, but not actually confirming that that would be the case. It may be that Nintendo is internally working on such features but haven’t finalized a solution for it yet.
Nintendo Account is a significant step forward for Nintendo when it comes to user accounts, something which most fans would probably take for granted, but is obviously a bigger deal than it sounds.
Now, I should point out that Nintendo’s attempts to offer online functionality is older than most gamers think. All the way back in 1988 in their native Japan, Nintendo offered the Family Computer Network System, a joint venture with local telecommunications company NTT, and financial services company Nomura.
This entailed installing a modem to your Famicom, with its own controller, to access video games and other services, like stock market updates, horse race betting, even buying postal stamps. As you can imagine, the venture was way too early for its own time, like the Satellaview, Sega Mega Net, etc.
Nintendo foray in modern online account services 17 years ago, with Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, for Wii and Nintendo DS. The suite of services and channels that Nintendo offered on the Wii in particular using this service became an existential threat to Japanese television, as they had occupied Japanese consumers so much that they watched less TV channels.
Nintendo attempted to bring these ideas worldwide with the Nintendo Network system, on Wii U, and 3DS. However, a lack of media partners caused the failure of their TVii service on the Wii U, complicated by the market failure of the Wii U itself.
Nintendo Accounts are a major improvement to prior Nintendo account systems for one important reason; it was one of several services Nintendo procured from mobile developer DeNA. As such, Nintendo Accounts have the robustness to be used across different platforms and apps.
Most Nintendo fans may only use Nintendo Accounts on their Switch. However, they were introduced before the Switch came to market on the smartphone app Miitomo, which itself has already been discontinued. It is now also in use in the MyNintendo loyalty program, as well as several smartphone apps you can use if you have a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pass subscription.
While most fans are looking at hopeful to carry over their Nintendo Switch libraries to new consoles, they will actually get many other benefits from having their accounts carry over to all Nintendo consoles in the future.