Tsunekazu Ishihara, CEO of The Pokemon Company, has revealed that he originally told Nintendo the Switch would not be a success, but has since realized his mistake.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Ishihara explained: “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.”
In Ishihara’s view, the Switch’s success has less to do with hardware but rather comes down to the high quality games Nintendo has been able to release in the console’s short lifespan. “I came to realise 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.’
Although Ishihara is a big believer in the Switch now, he cautions that it still has a tough battle ahead now that Nintendo needs to start attracting a wider audience that goes beyond early adopters: “Currently [Switch is] popular among the early adopters and there needs to be one more step to attract a wider audience. I see more potential in Switch, but one shouldn’t overestimate its potential.”
Notably, Ishihara announced a core Pokemon RPG for Switch at E3 this year, which is expected to be one of the system’s biggest games when it releases. In a separate Bloomberg interview, Ishihara offered a few hints as to the design philosophy behind the upcoming game.
“With the Switch, we see it as a chance to create Pokemon that goes deeper and with a higher level of expression,” he explained. “As a result, that makes it an extremely important platform […] Right now we’re using 7 to 8 inch screens, but on a high-definition TV you can express a whole different world with graphics and sound.”
The CEO also vaguely touched on how multiplayer is shaping up on the Switch: “Until now, games were made as one for one person, but now you can go home and play with everyone – so how do we tackle these themes, and how do we make sure it’s not complicated?”
As for whether the Switch Pokemon game will come with any additional peripherals, Ishihara said “I can’t say that we’ll release accessories, but I’d like to think of that possibility.”
Pokemon for the Nintendo Switch currently has no announced release date, so it will likely be some time before we find out more about the game.