A few days ago, Nintendo held a huge presentation for the upcoming Switch, during which the upcoming console’s official release date of March 3rd was finally revealed. Now, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime spoke recently with TIME magazine, and the Switch was the main focus of the interview. Reggie touched on the subject of the Switch’s demographic, third-party support for the upcoming system, as well as whether or not the Wii U was a failure.
First off, when asked about the Switch’s intended audience, Reggie replied with the following:
“Just like every system Nintendo creates, we believe in having a very wide footprint, and we are experienced enough in this industry to know that the footprint changes over time. We believe that by [next holiday season], with the launch of Super Mario Odyssey, that the footprint for Nintendo Switch will be very broad. Kids, young adults, parents, gamers will occupy that footprint.
But what’s going to happen is that, that space is going to be filled in at each point in time with the subsequent launches. So for example, if you look at the first 45 days, you’ve got Zelda, 1-2 Switch, Mario Kart 8. So the active gamer. And candidly, the more the active gamer sees, the more excited they’re going to be for that game.
I was a Zelda fan before I was a Nintendo employee, and I can tell you that as I’ve experienced that game, it just gets me more and more excited to play. 1-2 Switch is a party in a box. And so that is going to be an all family type of experience that will then broaden the footprint. And then Mario Kart 8 is going to expand it even further. And so that’s what I see happening. A game like Arms will have a diverse footprint. A game like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will be much more narrow.
And so, I think it’s the best way I could describe how the consumer base for Switch is going to evolve over time. And certainly by the end of our first full year, it’ll be kids, young adults, parents and gamers occupying that footprint.”
Next, Reggie addressed concerns about the Switch getting games on a regular basis, as well as his thoughts on third-party support for the console:
“I think in all candor, as executives, we can only say so much, and then the consumer believes or doesn’t believe. However, if the question is Nintendo first party development, I can say that our pipeline is quite robust, in what we are working on and that we will deliver next year and early into the year after that. We have that visibility in our pipeline.
From a third party perspective, I don’t want to oversimplify things, but third party developers look for a handful of things. First, they look for a straightforward development environment in order to create their games. And that was one of the challenges with Wii U. Now with Nintendo Switch, we have Unity as a platform. We’ve got the Unreal Engine as a platform. These are known development environments for content creators to build content.
The second thing they look for is a consumer demographic that’s going to meet their needs for the content they’re creating. And so again, you’ve got Zelda for the core. You’ve got 1-2 Switch for the family audience. You’ve got Arms. You’ve got Splatoon. You’ve got Mario Kart 8. You’ve got Super Mario Odyssey. That looks like a pretty wide and diverse audience to build content for.
And third, they look for a large install base. That’s what we’re trying to create.
And then lastly, they look for a full range of ways to monetize their investment. And that’s where having a robust online environment comes in. And again we are pushing the envelope, we’re doing things differently, and we’re working hard to make sure that environment exists. So as an executive for the company, I believe we’re doing everything we need to, to create that environment for third parties. So far they’re reacting extremely positively. Bethesda hasn’t been on a Nintendo platform. A fully featured FIFA, that has not been on a Nintendo console in some time.”
Reggie also went on to discuss the Wii U and whether or not the console had proven to have been a “failure.” In addition, he expressed interest in consumers’ want for a GameCube Virtual Console.
“I don’t recall who said it but, one of our executives said something similar — I think it might have been Mr. Miyamoto, the last time he was here in New York, where he made the comment “I hope consumers look back at Wii U as a necessary step, in order to get to Nintendo Switch.” Which is another way of saying what you did.
And it’s interesting, you know, as consumers think back, the fondness and the memories shift. I joined the company as GameCube was ending its life. And as we look at the install base of the platform, certainly it’s not one of our higher install base platforms. And yet it seems the talk now is all about how consumers are hoping that there’s a GameCube virtual console, which I just find interesting.
But yes, you can look at Nintendo Switch and certainly see a lineage, not only to Wii U, but as our Switch presentation highlighted, really to so many of our historical platforms. And there is certainly no mistake in that.”
To read the full interview with TIME, you can go here.
The Nintendo Switch will release on March 3rd, 2017.