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Nintendo Was Envisioning The Switch In 2012 Just After The Wii U Was Released

A recent interview reveals that the concept for the Nintendo Switch came about in 2012 however it wasn’t fully realised until later, but the core idea was there. The news comes from an interview with Shinya Takahashi and Yoshiaki Koizumi translated by Japanese Nintendo. Have a read below for the origins of the Nintendo Switch system:

Takahashi: Nintendo is always thinking about the next hardware. After the Wii U was released in 2012, we had already been debating about the concept for the next generation. We were set on 2 concepts that would become Switch’s prototype just before we entered 2014. Those two are: ① Leisurely use 2 detachable controllers called Joy-Con. ② While it’s [mainly considered as] a home console, it can also be carried outside.

Koizumi: What we’re conscious about is that the gaming population is getting polarized into two. In the recent years, we are in a situation where ‘People who want to play leisurely choose smartphone games, and people who play games deeply would play with PlayStation 4 and PC.’ The idea of combining the good points of smartphones and home consoles became the result of thinking a game that can be enjoyed by both audiences.


33 thoughts on “Nintendo Was Envisioning The Switch In 2012 Just After The Wii U Was Released”

    1. The consoles strength was never fully realized, even by Nintendo. What sold me on the Wii U was the asynchronous local multiplayer: the idea that you could have a group of players playing on the couch with one person having their own screen opened the door for so many possibilities. We saw the fun of that in a lot of the Nintendo Land games and Zombie U actually had an okay multiplayer mode that let the tablet player spawn zombies for the survivor to fight. I wanted more games like that.

      But since people didn’t get excited for that idea, they seemed content to sell it as the home version of a DS, letting you use a touch screen interface to control games on the TV. Of course, even that didn’t get explained all that well.

    2. As an adult with a family, the point of the Wii U was to be console gaming when I don’t have access to a tv because someone else is using it. The Switch does that too, and better obviously, but in 2012 the Wii U was the only game in town.

    1. Next will be Switch 2 or something similar. Bet on it. There’s no way Nintendo goes back to a console stuck to the TV.

      1. “It’s a shame how the Wii U ended up being a mere stepping stone. I remember being so excited for it.”

        One thing I would like to know but likely never will is what exactly Nintendo was struggling with in 2009-2011. They seemed to preemptively give up on the Wii, with the console’s last years getting very little support. Then, with the launch of the Wii U, they had a software draught right at launch. Mario Galaxy 2, Kirby Return to Dreamland, and NSMBU can’t possibly have taken that much development effort. Galaxy 2 was on a reused engine and NSMBU was universally considered lazily built. If you remember, Nintendo had talk at the time, around when Pikmin 3 launched, about the process of making HD games being more complicated and taking longer than expected. Was that the real reason? Something odd must have happened at Nintendo in this window, I’m sure of it. I suspect multiple titles that were worked on got scrapped, accounting for the time loss in release schedule. Maybe the they were really planning on going with the Switch design for a good while and when they had to scrap it and make it a true console they had to cancel games they were already working on in the process?

        At any rate, I’m convinced that the deathknell of the Wii U was the lack of consumer interest from multiple weak Wii years, followed by an immediate weak first Wii U year. At that point, the situation was basically not recoverable and they just tried to please their close fans to tide them over until the Switch. For what money making games they had (smash), they released on 3DS as well with an actual install base. If they were still trying to save the Wii U at that point, they’d have made it an exclusive.

  1. Pingback: Nintendo Was Envisioning The Switch In 2012 Just After The Wii U Was Released – My Nintendo News | tech-1st

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  3. I have to wonder; What gimmick can Nintendo come up with to beat the Nintendo Switch? The Nintendo Switch arguably has the best gimmick of all of Nintendo’s consoles, being able to play console quality games not only on the TV but also on the go. Combine that with the Joy Con feature and you have a system that really is very flexible and easy on the consumer. What else can Nintendo do? They probably do have something in mind but how can it top the Nintendo Switch?

    1. Same. If they make a console with a gimmick, it would have to be a bigger change than the Wii. I don’t think Nintendo would be able to live off the Switch’s concept for 10 years.

      1. Sony did it, and it was a concept far more limiting than that of the Switch.
        I hope they don’t invent something stupid just for. This is the best concept already: unite console and portable worlds plus motion controls. What else can they invent?

  4. i have a theory where Nintendo is developing a complete home dedicated console for the western audience and graphic intensive games and the switch is whats called a Nintendo handheld console (3ds predecessor) where you can plug to the TV. we can see that by their actions to move the pokemon franchise to the switch.

  5. I think people confuse a feature with a gimmick. They might seem similar, but the core concept of the Switch, the hybrid nature of the console, is a feature and not a gimmick. A gimmick is something like the Wii’s motion controls or Wii U’s touchscreen; where those things were not essential to the majority of the titles released on those systems and many (not all) of their titles did not require the use of those inputs, the Switch’s ability to take the same game played on your TV screen on the go is built into every title, and that functionality is a feature and not a tacked on or unnecessary schtick.

  6. Personally. I believe the Wii U was “N” (meaning Nintendos) last attempt to go after that damned casual crowd while pulling in those dedicated “N” diehards.

    But they knew, more like arrogantly knew- Lol, even if the Wii U was a not well received the games would be its saving grace.
    & boy, WERE THEY WRONG in the long terms of this system was not well received. The games were top notch but not to advertise for them OR THE CONSOLE is pure idiocy!

    1. Marketing was DEFINITELY not a thing at Nintendo last generation. Their ads and commercials were barely existent and when they did exist, they were horrible on every level. At first, they couldn’t even accurately explain their own console and why to buy it. Later, they focused so much on kids, they hopelessly lost every other demographic.

      Compare that to Switch marketing such as the live-action “Jump Up Super Star” commercial, which I see as one of their best since Super Mario 3. It was lively, energetic, whimsical, and featured kids, adults, and teenagers. It was like nothing seen from Nintendo since the 90’s.

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