Home Gaming The Nintendo Switch isn’t backwards compatible with physical Wii U and 3DS games

The Nintendo Switch isn’t backwards compatible with physical Wii U and 3DS games

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I'm the Backwards Man the Backwards Man, I can walk as fast as you can I can walk as fast as you can

The Nintendo Switch has finally been unveiled, just in time for the gamer who dreads the thought of having to attend a trendy rooftop party without any means whatsoever of challenging their friends to some one on one Mario Kart. Unlike its predecessor the Nintendo Wii U, I think it’s a rather sexy-looking piece of technology. Sleek, hopefully ergonomic and perfect for people who have hands small enough to strangle a Smurf (Hint: You’ll know that a Smurf is choking when they go really blue).

The Nintendo Switch is meant to reflect the Big N’s outlook on the quality of life, emphasising play sessions on the go and with friends. One thing it won’t be doing however? Allowing people to play any games from their Nintendo 3DS or Wii U libraries. Although not physically at least. While it’s no surprise that the Nintendo Switch is maintaining a svelte design by ditching a disc drive entirely, it looks like the cartridge slot won’t be able to fit 3DS carts in either.


That’s according to Famitsu via GameSpot, who pressed Nintendo for answers regarding legacy support and got that bit of bad news. Digital versions of 3DS and Wii U games however have not been ruled out, so we’ll see what the future holds for the new Nintendo Switch when the Japanese company reveals more about the device in 2017.

Bit of a bummer really. With my current first-gen Nintendo 3DS starting to show signs of age (it keeps yelling at my newer, hipper consoles to cut their braided HDMI cords), I was kind of hoping that the Nintendo Switch would be the perfect new home for my terrible addiction to Pokémon. Looks like I’m going to need to cash in on Matty’s organs if I want to afford a pair of upgrades next year.

Maybe that new partnership with Apple taught Nintendo a few unsavoury lessons then.

Last Updated: October 24, 2016


  1. Maybe now we’ll finally get a good, fully 3D pokemon game?


  2. Admiral Chief

    October 24, 2016 at 09:52

    Why not just upload to the device?

    That being said, what is the storage limit on the device?
    (goes to investigate)


    • VampyreSquirrel

      October 24, 2016 at 10:00

      Not a lot 😛


  3. VampyreSquirrel

    October 24, 2016 at 10:01

    Not sure if this is a good or bad thing really.


    • Pariah ???

      October 24, 2016 at 10:01

      Well it’s no different to every other console that was ever released.


      • VampyreSquirrel

        October 24, 2016 at 10:14

        This is true. Hopefully your Ninty account keeps track of what you own and the Switch allows you to download the games to an SD card or External HDD if they do actually allow that.


  4. HairyEwok

    October 24, 2016 at 10:04

    We all knew the Switch wouldn’t play 3DS and WiiU games. Nintendo wouldn’t hamper their sales on previous gen electronics just to please their fans.


    • Krabby Paddy

      October 24, 2016 at 10:12

      Well I think the logic is that a true fan will love you even if you produce rubbish or do questionable things. Evidence out there seems to point towards the fact that this is true.


    • Super JLee 2600

      October 24, 2016 at 16:00

      WiiU – plays Wii games
      Wii – plays Gamecube games
      3DS – plays DS games
      DS – plays GBA games
      GBA – plays GB games


      • HairyEwok

        October 24, 2016 at 16:51

        So riddle me this. If the GBA could play GB games, why could the DS not play GB games? It’s because the process is different. The Switch also has such a different complex process architecture already that adding the ability to play 3DS games and WiiU games would just be too much.


        • Super JLee 2600

          October 24, 2016 at 17:02

          Just pointing out that if the Switch is not BC, it’s not because Nintendo doesn’t want to hamper sales on previous hardware like you mentioned.


      • Keith Blanchard

        October 24, 2016 at 17:04

        Yea but Wii U has 2 screens and the NX has one. The Will U is an oddball.


  5. BakedBagel

    October 24, 2016 at 10:06

  6. Ottokie

    October 24, 2016 at 10:14

    Then they HAVE to bring an original Pokemon game to the switch…they just HAVE TOO!


  7. miaau

    October 24, 2016 at 10:22

    Backwards compatibility, after a certain point in development (and that point is different depending on the nature of the development, of course), is hard. It also hampers new product development, meaning you may weaken the new product to have legacy support. Difficult one.

    Perhaps Nintendo will have a far better product as a result of no legacy support.


  8. Viking Of Science

    October 24, 2016 at 10:26

    Oh No! A non disc based system isn’t backwards compatible with a disc based one?!?

    What has the world come to?!?!!? I’ll just kill myself.


    • VampyreSquirrel

      October 24, 2016 at 10:29



  9. HvR

    October 24, 2016 at 10:27

    But what about the hardcore Ninty fans who bought all 5 WiiU games


  10. Francois Knoetze

    October 24, 2016 at 10:31

    SO this literally means Freddy got fingered?


  11. Dungeon of JJ

    October 24, 2016 at 10:45

    Did people actually expect backwards compatibility? Seems obvious that it wouldn’t be.


    • Daniel Morse

      October 24, 2016 at 14:44

      WiiU games, yes, but not for 3DS games as it was rumored that it was going to be the same company making the cartridges for the NX.


      • Dungeon of JJ

        October 24, 2016 at 15:28

        To be honest, I didn’t know the WiiU was a handheld. I’ve never seen one before. So yea, then one might think that it could be compatible.


        • David

          October 24, 2016 at 15:57

          The WiiU is uses a standard console set up. The game pad you see can’t go more than 20 feet or so from the console. It’s really meant to be a second screen / stylus for games and things. Not a portable gaming device.


          • Dungeon of JJ

            October 25, 2016 at 12:13

            Oh, I see. Shows you how little I know about it. The switch does feel like a move in the right direction though. I think they may be on to something there.

  12. Keith Blanchard

    October 24, 2016 at 17:01

    This is a very good thing. Nintendo needs to break away from dual screen gameplay. Very few games actually do the multi screen gameplay well. I can think of 2 (Splatoon and Star Fox). Playing a game with an extra screen in your face is lame. Even if you are using a pro controller you can’t turn it off. DS and Wii U dual screen is at an end. We probably won’t see any new games using dual screen for a while if ever again.


  13. Keith Blanchard

    October 24, 2016 at 17:03

    The docking station on the Nintendo Switch is very nice. The only time anyone uses the Wii U screen is when someone else is using the TV or playing one of the 2 games that use it. And the fact that I can take my games any anywhere with me is awesome. I don’t have to own 2 systems or buy 2 copies of each game. The only thing that can’t make the Nintendo Switch fail is lack of good games. As far the hardware, it looks solid.


  14. Ross Woofels Mason

    October 24, 2016 at 18:48

    I stopped buying physical media awhile ago, so think the only physical wii U media I own is Mario that came with it. Everything else is digital in the estore, so good news for me at least =p.


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