Nintendo Switch Will Not Play Physical Copies of Wii U or 3DS Games; Digital Backward Compatibility Still Unclear

October 21, 2016

The Nintendo Switch uses 3DS-like cartridges the company has termed “game cards,” so while it was almost obvious from the get-go, we now have a confirmation that the new console will not play Wii U discs, nor is the platform suited for physical 3DS games, according to Famitsu (and translated by Perfectly Nintendo).

What’s interesting, however, is how the company specifies physical game copies, meaning it’s unclear whether digital Wii U and 3DS content will be playable on the Switch.

Nintendo isn’t ready to reveal further details just yet, but seeing as how the Switch is slated for a worldwide March 2017 release, that information has to be coming soon.


The company did provide Famitsu with minor details on the Switch’s battery life, saying users can play “comfortably” as much as possible without access to a power outlet. Additionally, the Dock and both left and right Joy-Con controllers will ship in the box. No word on the Grip, though, which places the left and right Joy-Cons closer together to form a more traditional controller.

Nintendo declined to comment yet on whether its mobile titles will be playable on the Switch; however, it did confirm the use of the Tegra processor yesterday, which is optimized for mobile devices.

Manny Vivas

Manny has been covering video games for more than three years. It's just about all he's good at. That and, well, playing them. He received his B.A. in multimedia and magazine journalism in 2016.

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