Reggie Fils-Aime, the president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America, has been a very busy man recently with the launch of Super Mario Odyssey. A handful of publications got to sit down with him at the launch night for Mario’s latest game. Forbes, being one of them, found out a little more about where Nintendo thought they went wrong with Wii U launch, the yet-to-be-revealed Switch online service and more.
On the problems with the Wii U launch:
Is it fair to say that one of the problems with the Wii U launch is that it didn’t have a big exclusive Zelda or Mario game?
Those titles came. We had Zelda experiences, we had Mario experiences. I would say the key learning was that first, we were not able to simply and directly communicate the proposition of Wii U. We rectified that with Nintendo Switch. The proposition is clear: Home console that you could take on the go, play anywhere with anyone at any time. And then the second key difference was the steady cadence of content. Again, you look at what we’ve been able to accomplish just so far and you compare to the Wii U launch time frame, there’s a significant difference. I would say also the third key difference is something that we did to support our third party business, and that was that we had the Unity and Unreal engines ready to support external development. That made a big difference and allowed Stardew Valley and Golf Story and all of this great independent content to come onto the platform, essentially to just keep reinforcing for the consumer who’s bought in with the hardware that they always have something to play.
On the Switch online service:
Tell me about Switch Online, and the plans for next year and when it becomes a paid service. What, exactly, is that going to look like?
I’m not going to tell you exactly what it’s going to look like. We’ll share more about that next year. But what I can tell you is that our vision is to have a robust online environment that not only provides the mechanism for you to have your multiplayer experiences and matchmaking, those elements are minimum. Our goal is to provide that extra Nintendo twist, and that’s what makes our company historically so effective. We don’t do things the same way everyone else does. We relish being different. We see that difference as an element that makes us more compelling to the consumer. And so having that differentiated experience is what we are focused on and we’ll unveil more next year as we’re closer to the launch of the service.
The interview is a lengthy one with Reggie also mentioning about Virtual Reality, the importance of third-party support for the Switch and you can read it in its entirety here.