The team over at Games Industry have managed to scoop an interview with Xavier Poix, the man in charge of Ubisoft’s French studios, to examine the company’s vision regarding the Nintendo Switch. Poix claims that even though the console pricing has been contentious it will still appeal to kids, teens and the wider market. It’s interesting how much faith they’re putting in Steep which didn’t exactly review particularly well.
GI.biz: What were your thoughts after the reveal of the Switch?
It will be interesting to see how the gamers, and not only the Nintendo fans but the whole market, will respond to it. Nintendo has proved it can surprise everybody. Even though we knew some aspects of the console, we were surprised by the high quality games coming. Plus, there are some very interesting features for it.
What I was very happy to hear about was the fact that Nintendo has followed its strategy of enlarging the gaming audience, with a console that could be appealing to a very broad audience of gamers. Yes, Nintendo fans first, but also in the longer term a more casual audience. The portfolio of games they showed reflected that.
GI.biz: The hardware and software seemed expensive. Do you still see the target market as kids and families?
Xavier Poix: It will still be for kids. The console itself is very modern and it can really answer the need of wanting some high quality gaming experience on your couch at home, with long-sessions, as well as being able to take it with you into another room, or on the bus. This should definitely appeal to a younger audience. I think there will be room for everyone.
On why the haven’t announced new titles yet:
GI.biz: Although you’ve announced three Switch games, with Wii and Wii U you developed completely original properties especially for those machines. Why not this time?
Xavier Poix: First of all, I think these are games that are a good fit the platform, even though we haven’t made an announcement of a brand new title. When you think about Just Dance for instance, that game was brought to the Wii first and uses the whole motion gaming aspect. But Just Dance is about playing with anyone and anytime, it is about accessibility, and what is interesting is that Switch brings that anywhere aspect to the table. So the ability that the gamse had on Wii and Wii U in terms of bringing people together into a room, well now that room can be anywhere. The room you want to play Just Dance in can be a kitchen or a garden, it can be anywhere.
The Switch has been made for Just Dance. Just Dance has sold more than 65m units, it has had more than 100m players that have used it. In the Switch box today, you have two Joy-Con controllers, so right from the first day you can play two player Just Dance – with each person holding a Joy-Con. Of course you can play in front of the TV, and also play on the smaller screen, which means you can now have a Just Dance party almost anywhere. It’s the perfect match for that game.
So we are bringing titles that we think fit with what Switch is all about. Of course, in the future we have other things that we will be very happy to share with you at a later date.
On why they didn’t choose Watch Dogs 2 or The Division:
GI.biz: In terms of your open world titles, you’re developing Steep for Switch. Why choose that over Watch Dogs 2 or The Division? Is it because of the violent nature of those other games?
Xavier Poix: Sorry to come back to the same point, but Steep has the same philosophy of Switch already in its DNA. Steep is about the freedom of discovering the alps, it is about doing multi-sport, it is about both long gameplay sessions and short sessions, and it is about sharing the experience with friends via sending them challenges or images – which the Steep does with its share feature.
Switch also brings the mobility aspect, and Steep is missing that. Imagine that you can keep having the Steep experience when you go to another room? For me, Steep was a no-brainer for Switch. In terms of audience, Steep is a good example of attracting a large audience, including older gamers who perhaps used to play SSX or other games like that, and you’re right, it should attract a new, younger audience.