Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa has confirmed that Nintendo Accounts will be kept for Nintendo’s next system. This might seem like a no-brainer, except for the fact that Nintendo has a spotty history when it comes to retaining online services and allowing backward compatibility on its consoles, especially following major leaps in hardware.
The first Nintendo systems that featured online services were the DS and the Wii, which used Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. This service was eventually scrapped and replaced with Nintendo Network, which was used by the 3DS and the Wii U, and was later ditched during the Switch era. The Switch currently uses Nintendo Switch Online, which can be tied to a Nintendo Account to allow for things like cloud saves and for profiles to be moved to different systems.
Nintendo Accounts Will Be Cross-Gen With The Company’s Next System
It seems that Nintendo Accounts are here to stay, as they’re the one aspect of the company’s next system that has been commented on in an official capacity. Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa mentioned in a shareholder Q&A (as translated by Genki_JPN on Twitter) that Nintendo Accounts will be used as a way to ensure a smooth transition from the Switch to its successor.
Shuntaro Furukawa’s statements raise all kinds of interesting questions about Nintendo’s next system. It’s possible that keeping Nintendo Accounts will allow users to play their existing Switch games on the new hardware via backward compatibility like the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S do now. This would definitely convince people to upgrade, especially if a performance boost was offered for existing Switch titles.
It’s also possible that this statement could hint that the Nintendo Switch Online and its Expansion Pack services will stay or will at least be re-branded to match the new system’s name. Nintendo Switch Online gives subscribers access to retro games and a few exclusive titles, like Tetris 99, and this service could easily be retained with its current price point in the future.
It’s also possible that the Nintendo Accounts will stay, but you’ll lose access to your old games and the Nintendo Switch Online features when transitioning to the next console. Nintendo might like the new system better than it made Nintendo Network or Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and sees no reason to ditch it and potentially confuse or turn-away customers, who might not want to sign-up for a whole new digital storefront, especially as Nintendo Switch Online is already a paid service. It’s unclear when we’ll learn more, as there are still no concrete announcements regarding Nintendo’s next console.