While playing the Wii today and musing about the WiiU, I came to one of those impulse play moments. I had to go to the cupboard and get out the old N64. While I would love to write some of my reviews on the older games (and may consider doing an article on the things such games did right), I decided I would move on to some Gamecube games to end my playing session for the day.
Low and behold, the one game I wanted to play and remembered having was no longer in my collection. "Oh well", I thought, "I'll go out to Gamestop for a quick run and pick it up used. It shouldn't be too difficult to find." So I thought. When I popped into my local Gamestop and asked for the game in question, I was appalled to find they no longer carry Gamecube games. How disappointing. It wasn't long after this I was reminded of the fact the WiiU will not be able to play Gamecube games, but they have plans to play them on virtual console instead. It made sense then, that Gamestop would discontinue carrying the games. How odd, I thought, that Nintendo wouldn't let their long time fans continue to play older games on newer consoles. Let's go over some of the reasons they might have made this decision.
To be fair, before we start criticizing the big N, we should go over what makes backwards compatibility (that is, the ability to play older games on a newer console) so appealing. It eliminates the need to keep more than one console, and it lets you have that nostalgic feeling that game companies understand so well. We should also keep in mind that it isn't just Nintendo who does this, but many game companies.
1- More Money
Of course we know that no backwards compatibility means you must keep your old system. You'll need more things for that system as it breaks down and time passes. This keeps Nintendo's older consoles around for just a wee bit longer as they squeeze the last of the older gen's time on the market.
2- Not enough reasons to input backwards compatibility
As time passes, it becomes more difficult (thought some debate this) to input backwards compatibility for multiple back gens. For instance, the Wii could play Gamecube games, and the Wii U has the ability to play Wii games, but the Gamecube games are lost. People become less interested in older games when the newer systems are released and they are simply encouraged to hold onto their older systems for such play.
3- VC stores implemented
This applies to the "more money" concept somewhat, but as the older generations of games die out, thus comes the opportunity to open their purchase through virtual console stores, which means they can be "rebought" in a sense, even if already owned, to be played in convenience. It is a simple, easier way to bring back the old, and as proven in many different store formats, works well.
I could go on, and I will admit I'm irritated by Nintendo's choice to take Gamecube out of the Wii U equation, but I understand in a business sense why they did so. Will I be keeping my old system just for the sake of playing those classic games? Probably. Will I be buying them again on virtual console just for convenience sake? Probably not.
What do you think? Do you wish the WiiU had backwards compatibility? Do you have more input on why you think Nintendo took it out? Let me know in the comments!