A new Nintendo financial Q&A has shed some light on how the Switch had such a high quality and consistent first-party line-up in its inaugural year.
Nintendo Switch was a hit in 2017, and continues to be. A big reason for this is the first-party software releases. This isn’t just about the masterpieces that are Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, but also the regular releases in between. Every month we received a big game, whether it was Arms or Splatoon 2, and this kept the positive momentum of the system up.
Question 9 in the Q&A (you can read the whole document here) applauded this positive start for the Switch. Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima replied by confirming that they “… prepared a lineup of major titles, thinking our most important task was getting game fans and Nintendo fans quickly on board with Nintendo Switch.”
The big concern is that Nintendo has spent their big guns now. We won’t see such major Mario or Zelda games for a long time now, and there are doubts that Nintendo can keep up such a steady flow of great games. It turns out we may not need to be worried – Kimishima continues on, to say that there is no plan to slow down: “… our focus in the second year will be to continue to release numerous software titles that provide that experience and hammer home that concept and encourage consumers to discover their own ways of having fun.”
The follow-up from Managing Executive Officer Shinya Takahashi goes more in-depth into how restructuring back in the Wii U days is reaping profits now. This next paragraph is really worth reading, as it touches on a more cohesive network of teams at Nintendo:
“Behind the unceasing stream of Nintendo Switch software releases to date is an approach to development that concentrates on development, itself the fruit of efforts several years ago to integrate the software development teams, which has made it easier to organize teams. Another major factor is our approach inside Nintendo whereby not just the software, hardware, and system development teams, but also the manufacturing, global marketing, and sales teams join together now for closer discussions about “what can be developed when” and “what can be sold when.”
It really seems as though Nintendo learned massively from the failings of the Wii U. They merged not only their two console outputs into the Switch hybrid, but also merged the separate parts of their company into a tighter unit.
Representative Director Shigeru Miyamoto himself ended the joint reply to this question with a big vote of confidence for the Switch, and Nintendo as a whole. Up until now, the hardware lifecycle has trended at around five or six years, but it would be very interesting if we could prolong that life cycle, and I think you should be looking forward to that.
Let’s hope the Switch has a long and happy existence!