If you were hoping that Nintendo would follow its NES Classic and SNES Classic with a miniaturized version of its Nintendo 64, Reggie Fils-Aimé, president of Nintendo of America, has some bad news.
In an interview with Kotaku, Fils-Aimé said that a Nintendo 64 Classic is “not in our planning horizon.” Normally, a response like that could be interpreted as a soft deflection that Nintendo has not announced such a product and has no plans to reveal one during an interview ostensibly held to promote the company’s holiday lineup. Nintendo could, of course, still release an N64 Classic at a time beyond its “planning horizon,” but Fils-Aimé explained why the company may not trot out a third mini-version of one of its consoles.
“We were clear when we did the first two Classic series that, for us, these were limited time opportunities that were a way for us as a business to bridge from the conclusion of Wii U as a hardware system to the launch of Nintendo Switch,” he told Kotaku. “That was the very strategic reason we launched the NES Classic system.”
With the Nintendo Switch’s recently launched online subscriptions service, Nintendo has started rolling out classic NES games on a monthly basis. Fils-Aimé said that Nintendo Switch Online is where Nintendo fans should look for that kind of retro content in the future.
So while there may be hints that an N64 Classic is coming, and the success of the NES and SNES Classic make another mini-console seem like a no-brainer, it may not actually happen any time soon. And if it does, there are greater challenges for Nintendo with the N64. The system’s controller is certainly more complex to manufacture than the NES/SNES Classic’s, and putting together a compelling lineup of classic games will be harder, as rights issues will surface with titles like GoldenEye and Banjo-Kazooie. Still, as Fils-Aimé himself said, never say never.