Editor’s Note: Nintendo has indeed confirmed (in a statement sent to CVG) that the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy will be removed from the Virtual Console in Europe on November 25. After reading a few comment threads and snooping through the NeoGAF forums, I can say bigglou appears to be right about the games already being removed from the North American VC.
I know Microsoft’s ownership of Rare is taking quite a bit blame for this but I think that blame is misdirected. Yes. The games were developed by Rare but Nintendo still has ownership over the DKC franchise and its characters. So this is likely due to licensing. While Nintendo does indeed own the franchise and its assets, it still has to register for a new license every time it releases (in this case re-releases) a new DKC game. My guess is Nintendo's letting the license to distribute the game on the Wii’s VC expire. I’d also wager the games will end on the Wii U eShop eventually. But this is purely speculation on my part of course, since Nintendo is keeping quite about it, at least for now.
It has been noted that Nintendo of Europe has confirmed that the DKC games are leaving from their Virtual Console on the 25th. Now it seems that we will feel the effect as well. I decided to check this out for myself and to my surprise, all three games have been removed from the Virtual Console in the US. So much for me debating on whether to buy DKC 3.