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Nintendo Switch won't play Wii U discs and 3DS cartridges

Whether it has digital backwards compatibility is still up in the air.
Mariella Moon, @mariella_moon
October 21, 2016
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Nintendo might have crushed some fans' dreams with its Famitsu interview. The company told the popular Japanese gaming magazine that its upcoming hybrid console won't be able to play Wii U discs or 3DS cartridges. It's unclear if the Switch won't be able to run digital games either, but if you were hoping to play your favorite 3DS titles on a 50-inch screen just for the heck of it, you may want to temper your expectations.

The gaming titan also clarified that the Switch is a brand new platform and not a direct successor to either the Wii U or the 3DS. According to a Reddit thread, someone asked a representative during the Nintendo Investor Relations' Q&A if the console is replacing the 3DS. The rep reportedly answered that the company is still considering releasing a separate 3DS successor at a later date.*

Nintendo might have been merely trying to cover all the bases. By saying the Switch is not a direct 3DS successor, the company can release one without losing face if the hybrid ends up flopping like the Wii U. But it could also be seriously considering a new standalone handheld console, which is fantastic news for those immune to the hybrid's charms.

*Update: This article stated earlier that the rep said Nintendo has plans to release a 3DS successor. However, Engadget's Japan Editor (Mat Smith) said his answer's exact translation is "We're still considering a separate successor to the 3DS." We can't confirm the identity of Reddit's source, however, and Nintendo still hasn't gotten back to us with more details about the console, so take this with a grain of salt.

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