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Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto Says Backwards Compatibility Is Easier Than Ever Before

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The Nintendo Switch currently offers a decent selection of games for Nintendo Switch Online users, and Representative Director Shigeru Miyamoto says backwards compatibility has “has become easier” than before. But that doesn’t mean Nintendo will focus on backwards compatibility when creating new hardware.

In a financial briefing on Wednesday, Miyamoto spoke on how backwards compatibility has become easier over time.

“Previously, software development for dedicated video game systems was conducted in development environments dedicated to each hardware platform. This meant that those environments could not be brought forward when the hardware changed, and it would become impossible to play software released for previous hardware without making changes,” Miyamoto said.

“However, the software development environments have recently been gradually integrated. So, generally speaking, it has become easier to implement an environment where software released for past hardware can be played on new hardware.”

Nintendo has a long history of backwards compatibility — the GBA supported original Game Boy cartridges, the Wii supported GameCube discs, the Wii U supported Wii discs, and the 3DS supported DS cartridges.

Because of this history, Nintendo fans have been wondering how the company’s next console might handle backwards compatibility, as the Switch doesn’t currently support cartridges from older consoles.

However, Miyamoto believes that Nintendo’s strength lies in the creation of new games and not the preservation of old titles, which means the company won’t focus on backwards compatibility when creating new hardware.

“Having said so, Nintendo’s strength is in our creation of new entertainment, so when we release new hardware going forward, we plan to continue to offer new and unique gameplay that cannot be realized on existing hardware,” he added.

Nintendo also recently revealed that it has sold 114 million Switch units, though the company lowered its sales forecast for the current fiscal year and revealed that a price increase for the Switch hasn’t been fully ruled out.


Amelia Zollner is a freelance writer at who loves all things indie and Nintendo. Outside of , they’ve contributed to sites like Polygon and Rock Paper Shotgun. Find them on Twitter: @ameliazollner.


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