Rumours have been circulating online for some time now about the possibly imminent re-launch of the Nintendo 64, the Japanese gaming giant’s most popular console.
Capitalising on the nostalgia factor is what Nintendo does, re-packaging and re-launching old classics for the older generation to re-live their misspent virtual childhoods, all while welcoming in a new generation.
Currently, there only a handful of N64 games available to play on the Switch but it seems that the company could soon be mining its back catalogue to bring updated versions of popular games.
While there are already strong rumours that Nintendo will be bringing GameBoy and GameBoy Colour games to the console soon, here’s why insiders are betting the N64 will be getting a huge Switch re-launch soon.
September is the Month of Reveals
Historically, Nintendo has always made big announcements for upcoming releases in September. The Nintendo 64 console is 25 years old this year and the company have been celebrating the anniversaries of its biggest franchises like Mario and Zelda with re-releases of old games.
Industry insider NateDrake or ‘Nate the Hate’ claimed on his podcast recently that, along with GameBoy, Nintendo would be launching Nintendo 64 games for the Switch.
“One of the platforms that will be coming to the Nintendo Switch Online in the future is the revolutionary Nintendo 64,” Drake said.
“I would give a very realistic probability that it happens in the current fiscal year… but that’s a guess.”
“I mean that’s a guess but you know, we will find out as we said, September is the month of reveals, the anniversary of the platform itself, so hopefully, we have some news about Nintendo Switch Online this month.”
Hedging his prediction with the fact that “there is no rule that it has to come this month,” Drake seems relatively confident that the console will be revived soon.
In addition, Twitter user SamusHunter2 recently noticed that Nintendo has filed a patent for a new game controller-related application with the American FCC.
While all the internet has to go on here is the code “HAC-043”, with the prefix HAC apparently relating to previous patent filings for controllers that Nintendo has filed.
HAC-042 turned out to be SNES controllers for the Switch and the internet has lit up with the idea that this could be a patent for the oddly-shaped, three-handled control that the N64 employed.
Of course, it could also be a GameBoy-style controller adaptation but that won’t stop the internet from hoping.
It May Not Live Up to the Hype
If the re-launch does happen, Drake has suggested that Nintendo will seek to employ a subscription model for its Nintendo Switch Online Store where users pay a premium to access the old games.
“What I’m going to propose, is that when Nintendo 64 does come to Nintendo Switch Online it is going to come with a higher-priced tier – a premium version of Nintendo Switch Online, if you will,” Drake explained.
“I don’t think they would try to double the price of it… I’d come in at $30 a year, $35 would be the ceiling, any more than that I think Nintendo would be really pushing things.”
This approach could put a lot of users off and there are other reasons as to why the launch may not be what fans are hoping for.
Some of the most popular games of the N64 era were published by British game developer Rare Ltd. They include Goldeneye 007, Banjo-Kazooie, and Perfect Dark.
In 2002, Microsoft bought the company and while Nintendo retained the intellectual property of some of the games built using its legacy characters like Donkey Kong, it no longer has the right to publish some of these classic games.
That could mean that if Nintendo does re-launch the N64 on the Switch, it would be without some of the leading titles that made the console such a classic.
Nintendo Direct, the companies announcement conference for showcasing updates, normally happens around September/October time. As there have been no confirmations of any event scheduled in the next few weeks, Nintendo is either going to be dropping a last-minute one on us, or will wait until February which is when they normally hold a Direct event too.
Either way, we’ll have to keep hoping and praying that the rumours are true and that the announcement can live up to the weight of internet hype and expectation.