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Is Nintendo Switch Backwards Compatible? Can you play Wii, Wii U or 3DS games?

Nintendo Switch made its debut in March 2017, and has been a triumph for the Japanese video game company.

Such is the success that Nintendo also released a second, smaller Switch Lite model, catering to players with portability more in mind

The Original hybrid console can be played by plugging into the docking station of a TV, or can be used as a tablet through its LCD touchscreen.

It is the fastest-selling console in the history of Nintendo.

If you're yet to dip your toes in and thinking about buying one in 2020, you might be wondering whether you can play any old Wii, Wii U or 3DS games.

Well, here's everything you need to know.

Is Nintendo Switch Backwards Compatible?

Nintendo answer the question on their website.

The video game company says: “The Nintendo Switch console is an all-new way to play, and will not include backwards compatibility.”

This came as a surprise to many fans, as the 3DS games and the Nintendo Switch use similar sized games based on a cartridge.

However, they are still not the exact same as the Nintendo Switch.

Put simply, the Nintendo Switch is a completely different console to its predecessors.

For example, Wii U used discs, not cartridges, so it just wouldn’t work.

Nintendo Switch uses a new cartridge format called GameCards.

These are slightly larger and longer than the 3DS ones.

The Japanese video game company want to create a whole new gaming experience.

This means, if you want to still play your old Wii, Wii U or 3DS games you will have to do so on a compatible system.

That being said, Nintendo has released several upgraded ports of fan favourite games previously available on older consoles.

For example, Mario Kart 8 came to Switch as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. New Super Mario Bros. U also ported over as New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.

You get the picture. For now then, it seems like Nintendo are more likely to release updated versions of old games, rather than enabling any form of Backwards Compatibility.

Is Virtual Console coming to Nintendo Switch?

There are currently no plans to bring back the Virtual Console for Nintendo Switch.

This was previously used to publish older titles on newer hardware, but again, it doesn't appear as though Nintendo want to bring the service to the new Switch console.

A Nintendo spokesman told Kotaku previously: “There are currently no plans to bring back classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as been done on other Nintendo systems.”

However, there are other ways to play classic games from Nintendo on the Switch, for example through the Nintendo Switch Online subscription and the occasional port, available on the Nintendo eShop.

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