With such a focus on standing out from fellow console manufacturers while leaning on elements that can be perceived as “gimmicky”, consumers can’t be blamed for doubting the future success of a Nintendo console despite the company’s pedigree. It turns out that even Pokemon’s CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara, someone we’d assume is a great deal more in-the-know when it comes to Nintendo, didn’t think the Nintendo Switch would be successful.
Ishihara had a lot to say about Pokemon in his interview with Bloomberg, as reported by GoNintendo. He spoke of the potential of a mainstream Pokemon game on the Switch platform, which we know for certain is coming eventually. Pokemon GO has been quite successful, but Ishihara believes Pokemon on Switch presents an opportunity to go deeper. Accessories like the GO wristband are being considered and he even said that augmented reality falls into line with the Pokemon Company's vision for the franchise.
His current faith in the Switch platform wasn't always as strong as it is now and Ishihara even broke down exactly why he didn't think the Switch would do well once it hit retailers.
“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 out a game console," he said. "It’s obvious I was wrong."
Wrong indeed. The Switch has been moving pretty impressive numbers in Japan and North America, even giving Gamestop's quarterly earnings a boost. What element of Ishihara's analysis was missing? He believes it was software, something Nintendo has a wonderful track record in. Even then, he's careful to heap praise on the console.
"I came to realize 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. Currently, it’s popular among the early adopters, but 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.”