Will Nintendo Switch support GameCube controllers?

Since the very first Nintendo console (Nintendo Entertainment System) all the way to the soon-to-be-released Nintendo Switch, the gaming company has drastically changed their controller each generation. Nintendo pioneered a few controller features — left and right shoulder buttons as an example — that are widely used by all types of controllers today.

Pro Controller

Pro Controller (Image credit: Nintendo)

The Wii and Wii U both allowed gamers to use Nintendo's older GameCube controllers, which many players preferred to use for competitive gaming; however, the Switch will have a dedicated Pro Controller as an additional accessory, leaving the fate of compatibility with GameCube controllers on the fence. Let's dip into all the information we know right now and see what lies ahead for the beloved GameCube gamepad.

A little history

When the Nintendo Wii burst onto the scene back in 2006, the Wiimote was a huge change from conventional game system controllers at the time and, speaking from personal experience, the transition was a little difficult.

Nintendo's decision to include GameCube controller ports on the Wii meant that a lot of Wii games could be played with the previous generation controller, giving plenty of gamers a comfortable backup. This became monumentally noticed when it came to Nintendo's arguably most successful game franchise in the competitive gaming field — Super Smash Bros.

In fact, it was the Wii U's version of Super Smash Bros. that even made it possible to use the GameCube controller with the Wii U, as Nintendo released a special USB adapter (pictured to the right) specifically allowing players to use GameCube controllers to play the game.

To this day the GameCube controller remains the favorite controller to play any Super Smash Bros. game, which has a lot of gamers curious about compatibility with the Nintendo Switch.

Will the GameCube controller work with the Switch?

To be brief, there's no official word on the GameCube controller functioning with the Switch; that doesn't mean there isn't hope.

Potential hope

The Switch Dock does include a USB port, which could suggest that the same USB GameCube controller adapter that functioned with the Wii U could also function on the Switch.

The adapter was only ever made to function with Super Smash Bros. Wii U and had very limited use outside of the game. Since no official plans for a Super Smash Bros. game for the Switch have been made public, we may not even know for sure if the adapter functions until if/when a Super Smash Bros. game is released.

I know for GameCube controller fans out there, this news can seem a little bleak, but a kernel of hope is better than nothing, right?

Do you love the GameCube Controller?

Hoping your GameCube controllers will work on the new Nintendo Switch? Let me know in the comments below!

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.

  • I still have the original Wii and still enjoy playing some of those blockbuster titles I have for the GameCube. So while I enjoy playing my GameCube games with that dedicated cube controller I don't need to use it for the new Switch. I'm a hardcore gamer and I'm all about the future of gaming tech. I don't want game re-makes on high tech hardware and I don't want re-made old hardware. I want new fresh tech that pushes the boundaries to tinker with but that's just me.
  • The GameCube controller is the best and most comfortable gaming controller ever made in my opinion. I also think the GameCube is the best gaming console, also in my opinion. I don't have a Wii U, but I did get the GameCube controller adapter so that I can play emulated GameCube games on my Mac via Dolphin emulator and it works tremendously well. I like how Nintendo gave users the choice to use a GameCube controller via a dedicated adapter for one of their more recent and modern consoles more than a decade after the GameCube's release, means that they still care about legacy users who prefer their legacy devices. That's much appreciated, can't say the same about other manufacturers who want to get rid of anything and make things obsolete that haven't been released yesterday. I don't see myself getting a Switch (unless there's a way to play older games on it), but I sure do hope Nintendo makes support for the awesome GameCube controller possible.
  • I love GameCube controllers too, they are incredibly comfortable. After writing this article, I spent a good chunk of time playing a few old GameCube games again and I forgot how nice it feel in your hands.