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.