The Nintendo Switch is a rousing success, having sold close to 20 million units as of Nintendo’s last fiscal year. Although, It’s pretty well known that Pokemon CEO and president Tsunekazu Ishihara wasn’t always a believer in Switch. He’s known to have told Nintendo prior to its release that he thought it wouldn’t be successful and that smartphones made it so “no one would carry (out) a game console.” Ishihara believes this success is due to its software, “the key to a successful game is quite simple: software with absolute quality leads sales of hardware.”
In a recent interview with Famitsu, Ishihara spoke a little more about the Switch’s performance and how about how he feels about the system now.
“I don’t know if this has the ability to persuade the people who said a year ago that the Nintendo Switch wouldn’t sell [laughter], but up until that point a machine that integrated both handheld functionality and a home console was unheard of, so to be honest it was hard to know how it would sell. I didn’t see it selling. However, the overwhelming fun of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild made it popular. I think that had a big impact.”
“Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Mario Odyssey as well as other titles also had great timing and is helping widespread adoption. On top of that there are games like Nintendo Labo that include elements you don’t normally see in games, so it’s the ideal environment for a platform. I think this is a great opportunity for us to introduce new games and bring new experiences that will earn even more fans.”
Famitsu also asked about the timing for release for the Pokemon Franchise on the Nintendo Switch, pointing out how the franchise tends to show up when the hardware already has a certain popularity.
To which Ishihara responded:
“Exactly. However, the reason that we can release a title at this point in time is that we already had begun development at the time that the Nintendo Switch launched. That’s the point where thoughts like ‘maybe the hardware won’t sell?’ changed to a feeling of ‘our game will give the platform traction’. In a way, our second title this time around will be one of the driving factors behind that.”