When will Nintendo’s games be available on PC?

Nintendo is known for keeping its IP close to its chest, but the growth of PC gaming now makes it the perfect time to start porting its exclusives.

The Nintendo brand has been a cornerstone of gaming for decades. From mario at Pokemon, there’s no shortage of iconic franchises for fans of different genres. However, despite being best known for its console releases, the company has branched out a bit in recent years with mobile games like Pokemon Go and Mario Kart Tour. The positive feedback these titles have received could open the door for further attempts at gaming outside of consoles – perhaps even PC ports.

While not known for cutting-edge technology or graphics, Nintendo has still pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in gaming through titles like Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. These titles explore new features through innovative and challenging mechanics and design choices. However, Nintendo’s core games have long been exclusive to the company’s hardware, meaning those who choose to play PC-exclusive games are missing out. Given the success of its IP and some of its mobile games, PC is an avenue the company should consider – and in fact has a history with.

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Back in the late 80s and early 90s, when Nintendo was establishing its reputation in gaming, the company actually tried to bring games to PC. An example was the educational game Mario’s Time Machine, released on both SNES and PC. The company has also teamed up with developer Hudson Soft to release a collection of ports including Excite the bike and ice climbers. It has also released new games like Special Mario Bros., which saw the iconic plumber traverse eight new worlds. However, the most famous is Donkey Kong 3: The Great Counterattacka sort of sequel to the NES donkey kong 3 which was designed as a PC exclusive only in Japan.

While most of these games were well received, Nintendo eventually moved away from the PC. Instead, he chose to focus on his consoles and create great gaming experiences there, a philosophy that lives on to this day. Judging by the current success of the Switch, this approach has clearly worked for Nintendo. However, given the modern state of PC gaming, perhaps it’s time for Nintendo to re-evaluate.

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In the decades since Nintendo’s foray into PC gaming, the medium has evolved to keep pace with the ever-changing gaming industry. Platforms like Steam allow users to purchase and easy access to games. PC also offers more flexibility than consoles, as players can upgrade parts of their tower as needed rather than buying a new console every few years. The PC’s technical capabilities also far exceed what Nintendo offers, and although the days of the company trying to compete in terms of graphical fidelity are over, its games could absolutely benefit from the improved visuals and performance of a gaming PC.

Additionally, Nintendo bringing its games to PC could help ease fan concerns about game preservation and accessibility when it comes to older titles. Since the Switch isn’t backwards compatible with any previous system, many games are now stuck on discontinued hardware and digital stores that will eventually shut down. While there have been many Wii U and 3DS ports, there are still so many games that didn’t come to Switch. By releasing first-party games – new and old – on PC, gamers could have a more reliable way to discover older games – which could encourage them to buy new installments on Nintendo’s own consoles.

While Nintendo is often ahead of the curve in terms of gameplay innovations, it has often fallen behind when it comes to industry trends. Microsoft and even Sony are at least bringing some of their exclusive games to PC, with the Sony port Horizon Zero Dawn three years after its launch on PlayStation 4. While Nintendo certainly doesn’t seem to have suffered from its lack of a PC presence, as it seems that’s the direction the game as a whole is moving in, now may be the time to bring games like mario and Zelda to more players by transferring them to PC.

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About the Author

Timothy C. Mayo