Nintendo, clear your schedule, have a seat in the boardroom. I’ve got an idea for you. It’s fine, you can call me the Ideas Man… Michael…
Take your Virtual Console, make it like Netflix
That ridiculous library of old software you’re sitting on? All those classic NES, SNES, Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games you have? You put that online with beefy servers. Good news? Those games are tiny. Teeny tiny. We’re talking MBs of data for an entire game, and even less on the NES.
You take all the games you have licenses for. You work on re-upping the licenses for marquee titles. You put them online in the new Nintendo Virtual Console. It’s a service now, and it’s something folks pay a monthly subscription for.
$10 a month. That’s what you charge. At first, it launches on the Nintendo Switch. It’s completely exclusive to the console for the remainder of 2017.
You support the service with game curation. You roll out “Must Plays,” and you get old creators back with fancy design documents and art concepts. You filter the games by genre, release year, player count, etc. You introduce leaderboards and ways to play online. You blow the ROM scene out of the water with a perfectly viable, inexpensive, exhaustive library of classics.
Then you go crazy.
Make the application available on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and media streaming boxes
You take that Nintendo Virtual Console, and you launch a PC, Mac and Linux version of it. It’s browser based, and consumers can game with third party controllers thanks to the robust button-mapping tech you built. You know, the kind you find in pretty much every free emulator on the planet.
As your subscriber base grows because you’ve offered pirates a reasonable, reliable and cheap way to get classic games with unique perks, you pack it up and launch an app for third-party hardware. You put the Nintendo Virtual Console on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Roku, Apple TV and whatever else will sign the deal. Now, Xbox One and PS4 owners are rocking a $10 premium subscription that’s going to your bank account, and they don’t even have your system.
It’s 2018, and every single major device in the entertainment space has access to legal, classic, subscription-based Virtual Console games. Then you go mobile.
Then, put it on iOS and Android
People use their phones to play your games. One would hope you know that. There are tons of emulators out there. With a premium service that offers low data consumption and reliability without having to go to seedy side sites, the Nintendo Virtual Console would kill on mobile.
Launch an offline mode where users can download games they want to bring on, say, a flight. They’re playing Earthbound or The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past in the air without connecting to that horrible in-flight Wi-Fi, and you’re their heroes.
I know, I know. Nintendo won’t go third-party with their software. They wouldn’t be able to sell their hardware. Here’s the thing, though: Nintendo’s not going to sell modern games on all platforms. They’ll keep the contemporary stuff to their own devices. Consumers develop a better opinion of Nintendo thanks to playing their classics, and suddenly Mario and Link look a lot more enticing. So enticing, that they dive into the Switch.
I would pay $10 for this. Most gamers would probably pay $10 for this. Piracy will never go away, but cheap and reliable alternatives win out. I would pay $10 per month for access to your absurd library of classics, and I know I’m not alone.