Nintendo Switch Not Compatible With Physical Wii U, 3DS Games

Nintendo Switch Not Compatible With Physical Wii U, 3DS Games

Physical Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games are not compatible with the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s newly announced home video game console.

Japanese publication Famitsu asked Nintendo a few questions about its new hardware capabilities yesterday. “Since the Nintendo Switch is not meant to replace Wii U or Nintendo 3DS, it will not play Wii U optical discs or Nintendo 3DS cartridges,” a Nintendo spokesperson said.

Instead, Nintendo Switch will use its own form of physical media, à la “Game Card,” as seen in the image above. Comparatively, Switch cartridges are noticeably thicker than 3DS game cartridges — perhaps due to their increased storage capacity.

In addition, Nintendo told Famitsu that the Nintendo Switch is, first and foremost, a home video game console; however, players can easily transition the Switch to portable mode by removing the console unit from its dock unit.

It’s still unclear how the Switch will communicate with software designed for Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, smartphones, and tablets. However, one of Nintendo’s new partners, Ubitus, specializes in “deploying cloud-enabled rich media services,” according to the company’s website.

As the Nintendo Switch preview trailer (below) suggests, enhanced ports for games such as Splatoon and Mario Kart 8 looks like a promising option. A report from January claims Bandai Namco could already be hard at work on an enhanced port of Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo Switch.

Does the fact that Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games are not compatible with the Switch change your views for the new platform? Feel free to let us know your thoughts.

Nintendo won’t reveal Nintendo Switch’s technical specs, launch titles, or region-lock status until next year, ahead of the console’s planned March 2017 global debut.

First Look at Nintendo Switch

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Kevin's a snobby (but classy) tea extraordinaire, seasoned sushi connoisseur, and cold weather lover. He also likes Pokémon, exploring Japan, and has perfected the art of making the perfect matcha.


  1. If the Nintendo Switch is NOT a replacement of the Wii U and 3DS, then what is it? I thought the WiiU is a home video game console system… Any thoughts???

    • Think that means it’s just to complement the Wii U. Sony kept the PS2 active even when the PS3 was launched, so it might be similar to that.

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