Nin­tendo ex­ec­u­tive talks about Switch, its new con­sole.

The firm’s U.S. pres­i­dent ad­dresses 3DS com­par­isons and lack of stream­ing

The Washington Post Sunday - - BUSINESS - BY HAY­LEY TSUKAYAMA hay­ley.tsukayama@wash­

Nin­tendo’s new con­sole, the Switch, is out and fly­ing off shelves. It has be­come Nin­tendo’s fastest-sell­ing con­sole in the United States, out­pac­ing the record-sell­ing Wii in its ini­tial sales, the com­pany said, al­though it would not pro­vide ex­act num­bers.

I talked with Nin­tendo Amer­ica’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, Reg­gie Fils-Aime, about the Switch. I par­tic­u­larly wanted to know why I would buy the Switch when I have Nin­tendo games on my 3DS, how they’re go­ing to de­liver on their game prom­ises and whether this tablet-like de­vice has nongam­ing func­tions. This has been edited for length and clar­ity.

How should peo­ple look at the Switch as com­pared to the 3DS?

The 3DS is a fan­tas­tic ma­chine with more than 1,000 games. Its key dif­fer­en­tia­tor is the 3D im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence with­out a need for glasses.

But as good as that ma­chine is, you can’t play a game like “Le­gend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” on it. The power re­quired — not only the com­put­ing power, but the graph­ics re­quired for that game, are just not avail­able on a Nin­tendo 3DS. That makes it a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence. That is how I would sep­a­rate out those two sys­tems. Cer­tainly we see con­sumers want­ing and need­ing both plat­forms.

So you see it as dif­fer­ent in the types of games you can play?

It’s the types of games. And with a Nin­tendo 3DS, you can’t plug it in and dis­play it out on your 50-plus-inch big-screen TV. That home ex­pe­ri­ence that you can take any­where is the defin­ing propo­si­tion of Nin­tendo Switch. The con­cept of never hav­ing to put a game down that you can play any­where, any­time, as a gamer, is some­thing you want.

Many re­view­ers, in­clud­ing me, would have liked more games at launch. How do you re­spond to that?

When you think about a new plat­form, what will de­fine it as a long-term suc­cess are the on­go­ing range of games and ex­pe­ri­ences that come to the plat­form — not what’s avail­able on Day One. For the Nin­tendo Switch, we were de­lib­er­ate in want­ing to make sure, from a Nin­tendo pub­lish stand­point, that we had a steady cadence of great games in ad­di­tion to strong ti­tles at launch.

My an­swer is to look at the games that have been an­nounced and are in de­vel­op­ment, and that should drive your pur­chase de­ci­sion.

How should peo­ple look at the Switch as be­ing dif­fer­ent from a PlayS­ta­tion or Xbox?

Our plat­form is the only place you can ex­pe­ri­ence our IP: Zelda, Mario, Fire Em­blem. [Note: IP, or “in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty,” is in­dus­try-speak for a game or fran­chise.] You’re not go­ing to see that on the com­pet­ing home plat­forms.

From a mul­ti­plat­form stand­point, you’re able to play a dif­fer­ent way than you can with our home com­peti­tors. They’re only on that big-screen TV, but with the Switch you can then take it with you, have it on the sub­way. That ex­pe­ri­ence, we be­lieve, is com­pelling.

An­other thing I wanted to see on the Switch were some tablet func­tions such as stream­ing ser­vices or a Web browser. Is that some­thing you’d look into down the line?

What I would say is this: We built the Nin­tendo Switch to be a world-class gam­ing de­vice, mean­ing we want you first and fore­most to play games on the sys­tem and have an in­cred­i­bly fun ex­pe­ri­ence.

We’re talk­ing to a range of com­pa­nies about other ser­vices, com­pa­nies like Net­flix, Hulu, Ama­zon — things that will come in time. In our view, th­ese are not dif­fer­en­tia­tors. What dif­fer­en­ti­ates us is the way you play with the Nin­tendo Switch and what you can play.


Reg­gie Fils-Aime is pres­i­dent and chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of Nin­tendo of Amer­ica.

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