It’s hard to believe now, given the success of the Nintendo Switch, but prior to the console’s launch the jury was out on whether or not the new device would be a contender. Nintendo’s recent history in the console market had been less than impressive, and the Switch appeared to be yet another in a long line of innovative but ultimately unprofitable tech from a company that could do no wrong prior to the Wii.
Nintendo‘s faith in the way its engineers constantly push design space in consoles finally paid off, however, and the Switch can barely stay on shelves long enough for the ever-increasing number of gamers who want one to be sated. For those who feel foolish about doubting the Switch, however, a candid and telling interview with Pokemon CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara conducted recently revealed even some of the smartest minds in the industry had their reservations. Ishihara had this to say about the Switch:
“I told Nintendo that Switch wouldn’t be a success before it went on sale, because I thought that in the age of the smartphone, no one would carry around a game console. It’s obvious I was wrong.”
Those of us who were decrying a portable console in the age of powerful phones weren’t too far off in our risk analysis, then, although the outcome of Nintendo’s device launch certainly suggests that there is a huge market for something like the Switch. Ishihara, who is involved with projects like Pokemon GO and the yet-to-be-named Pokemon Switch game, shared some insight on what made the Switch a success as well:
“I came to realize the key to a successful game is quite simple. Software with absolute quality leads sales of hardware. Playing style can be flexible if the software is attractive enough.”
Ishihara’s belief makes a lot of sense when taken into context with Nintendo’s recent successes and failures – the Wii U, despite the innovation it offered, never felt as though it had a must-own title, whereas the Switch had Breath of the Wild to immediately bolster sales.
Ishihara might have been wrong about the Switch, but Pokemon hasn’t been wrong about much else. Pokemon GO and augmented reality are just one of the many ways Pokemon has remained relevant after twenty years, and Ishihara indicated that the company was always looking to expand:
“Switch is just one of the possible platforms. I think we will open up more possibilities from all these platforms.”