The Nintendo Switch releases this Friday, and interviews from Nintendo staff have been getting more frequent with each passing day. The latest is from alistdaily, who interviewed Nintendo America President Reggie Fils-Aime. Many questions were asked, but a few questions in particular stood out the most.
The first noteworthy question was about the lessons that were learned from the Wii U and Nintendo 2DS/3DS that Nintendo has applied to the Nintendo Switch. His response was lengthy, saying that “Our goal with any console launch is to deliver an entirely new game experience for players. With a platform like Wii, the appeal was obvious. You move the controller like you would a tennis racquet, or a sword, and the payoff is instant. With Wii U, the value of a second screen in gameplay was not instantly recognized, and often problematic for developers to fully take advantage of in terms of what the system could do. However, with Nintendo Switch, the unique appeal of our ‘anywhere, anytime, anyway’ approach is readily apparent. So we think consumers will get the appeal right away, and developers will embrace how it can bring their ideas to life. The concept of ‘constant engagement’ was also built into our Nintendo Switch planning. You’ll be seeing this in a number of ways, but most importantly to gamers, it means a steady flow of big first-and-third-party franchises becoming available to play on the system in 2017. These games will launch starting on March 3 alongside the Nintendo Switch hardware and will continue through the holiday.”
The second question that Reggie was asked was how he sees the Switch connecting with the Wii’s broad audience. Once again, he gave a detailed response, explaining that “the clearest early example of this at launch is the game 1-2 Switch. It contains more than two dozen activities like quick draw, sword fighting, copy dance and one called ‘Ball Count,’ which takes real advantage of the advanced HD Rumble feature of the Joy Con controller. This game is going to resonate with anyone who played Wii Sports—or for that matter, even if you didn’t. The difference, of course, is this. With Wii, you could invite your aunts and uncles and grandparents to join in the fun when they were over to your house. But with Nintendo Switch, you can take that multiplayer fun to them, wherever they are, due to the portability of the system. So the opportunities to experience a new kind of gaming fun are dramatically increased.”
Another question was what the smart phone and tablet gaming audience would open up for Nintendo developers as they work on Switch titles. Reggie responded by saying “a typical Mario or Zelda game can literally eat up hours of your attention during a sitting. But sometimes everyday life gets in the way, and you can’t always play the games you want to play in long uninterrupted stretches. What the mobile space has proved is that there’s a huge audience for ‘bite-sized’ games that fit into a busy schedule. So in a sense, this is a liberating experience for developers, including those working on an advanced platform like Nintendo Switch. And you can see evidence of that with 1-2 Switch. It applies a bite-sized approach to local multiplayer entertainment. You can play for a very short amount of time . . . and either demand a rematch, or turn the Joy Con controllers over to someone else to take a turn.”
The final noteworthy question was about meeting the Switch’s demand. This time, Reggie gave a shorter response. He says “well, the market will decide that answer in the short-term. We hope it’s very popular. But the fact that Nintendo Switch arrives in March . . . rather than a typical Thanksgiving launch window . . . means that many of the first-year purchases will occur over the course of many months, rather than just several weeks. So we’re optimistic we’ll meet demand.”