Nvidia CEO: Nintendo Switch is 'very Nintendo,' shows the company's 'dedication to its craft'

Jen-Hsun Huang says Nintendo is focused on delivering a gaming machine first and foremost.


At a Q&A session following his CES 2017 keynote, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang answered questions about the company's many areas of interest such as Nintendo Switch.

"Nintendo Switch is a game console. It’s very Nintendo. That entire experience is going to be very Nintendo," said Huang (via Venture Beat).

"The beauty of that company, the craft of that company, the philosophy of that company—they’re myopically, singularly focused on making sure that the gaming experience is amazing, surprising, and safe for young people, for children," Nvidia's CEO continued.

Huang's words might serve as repellent to older players who have their fingers crossed for more mature experiences on Switch. What Huang seems to mean, however, is that Nintendo aims to deliver a gaming machine first and foremost.

"Their dedication to their craft, that singular dedication, is quite admirable," Huang said at the press event. "When you guys all see Switch, I believe people are going to be blown away, quite frankly. It’s really delightful. But it has nothing to do with AI."

Nvidia manufactured the Switch's hardware, a custom Tegra processor. Nintendo next Switch event is scheduled for this Thursday, January 12, at 11pm ET / 8pm PT. The company is expected to disclose a price—rumored to clock in at around $250—and exact launch date for the console/handheld hybrid, due out in March.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

From The Chatty
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      January 9, 2017 2:09 PM

      I really don't get the internet's insistence this has be such a powerful machine or it's going to fail. Why does it have to be more powerful than a PS4 Pro? And portable? And cost less? The internet and its haters are just noisy mouth pieces that need to be ignored.

      That said, sure he's spinning this to a degree. But, I'm liking what I'm reading about the newer dev kits being faster, pointing to a possible Pascal chip instead. That's not going to win any power wars, but it'll give it a great leg up in the long run.

      Eager for Thursday, and especially Friday to get my preorder in.

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        January 9, 2017 2:12 PM

        I think the internet is saying that because Wii U

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          January 9, 2017 2:13 PM

          GPU power wasn't it's main problem. It failed for other more significant reason, IMHO

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            January 10, 2017 5:29 AM

            Oh yeah what's that? Lack of third party support because of its lack of GPU power?

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              January 10, 2017 6:05 AM

              They made a few specific design choices, and the public just didn't appreciate them - the oversized controller for starters.
              Wii gave Nintendo a really odd problem. They sold millions of units to new players: your aunts and uncles who never played games before. So, they had a HUGE install base, but they also never bought anything after the initial purchase. So, it was the core-gamer crowd that bought follow-on titles. But, they weren't enough to give the Wii U enough of an install base to win support from 3rd party devs. The masses didn't buy it because they didn't understand it. I don't expect they'll have quite the same problem this time. But, I don't see them being able to sell this to the same aunt & uncle demographic. However, there is the newer millennial demographic to target; which is what the teaser did.

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        January 9, 2017 2:14 PM

        No one is saying it needs to be super powerful, just being on par with previous gen machines (the OG XB1 or PS4) would be enough. The rumors that it's less powerful than hardware that was released nearly 4 years has some people concerned.

        I'll end up buying one for Mario Kart and the new Zelda, but I'm not holding my breath for any good 3rd party titles./

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          January 9, 2017 2:19 PM

          Eh, I've read plenty of posts people flying off the handle "crying" that it won't be as powerful. Not necessarily here in chatty.

          And, ya, it's all about 1st party titles.

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          January 9, 2017 2:19 PM

          its definitely less powerful than those 2 because it doesnt have the luxury of a plug and tons of cooling by fans.
          But hopefully itll be closer to current gen than last gen and can run 3rd party games with less detail and post processing

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          January 9, 2017 4:55 PM

          I'm hoping for Monster Hunter.

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          January 9, 2017 7:10 PM

          Not gonna happen. Not if they want decent battery life, not if they want to position this as a DS replacement (which they need to).

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        January 9, 2017 2:22 PM

        It's essentially two generations behind now. So it needs to be either a) more powerful than leaks have pegged it at, or b) cheaper than leaks have pegged it at.

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          January 9, 2017 2:52 PM

          Dark Souls 3 is running on it, Skyrim Remastered is running on it, and it would run MGSV, GTAV, and Rise Of The Tomb Raider way better than the 360 did.

          A portable that's between an XBox One and a Wii U (2-3x more powerful than a Wii U) doesn't sound two generations behind to me.

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            January 9, 2017 4:20 PM

            It's less powerful than the PS4 and Xbone. It's less powerful than the PS4 pro and the Xbone+. That's two generations behind.

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              January 9, 2017 4:40 PM

              The PS4 Pro and XBox One S aren't even half-step improvements over the original hardware. This might be a semantic argument but I wouldn't consider a meager three year update that isn't being targeted by developers as a generational improvement. I own a PS4 Pro and there's nothing 9th generation about it.

              Again, the point is whether or not a current gen game be ported over to the Switch. The PS4 and XB1 are both easy port targets for the Switch based on their relative settings in the Unreal Engine 4 master branch files. On a settings scale of 0-3 where "0" is low and "3" is ultra, the PS4 and XB1 are "3" while the Switch when docked is set at a "2" and undocked at a "1".

              Its a totally different situation from the Wii where straight ports were technically impossible based on the performance delta between it and the 360/PS3. This is a mere settings change, not a ground up rewrite of a totally new game.

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                January 9, 2017 7:01 PM

                YOUR point is whether a current gem game can be ported over. I'm not sure that's THE point, as you say.

                There's much more to be considered here than whether or not some half-ass, semi-playable port is POSSIBLE or not.

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                  January 9, 2017 7:42 PM

                  Why would it be semi-playable? Its the difference between high and medium settings on a PC. There are comparison screenshots out there and its not that big. The question then is if you want a portable and want Nintendo games. Its far from the difference in having what are essentially "non-port ports" as in period generations.

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                    January 9, 2017 7:47 PM

                    I want Nintendo games that are cutting edge. I don't care if the system is $400.

                    Nintendo doesn't think they can compete in that space (maybe not, but they haven't given it a go in 15 years). They are failing at what they've been trying though, that's for sure. The switch seems like another iteration of the same failed philosophy.

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                      January 9, 2017 7:51 PM

                      Their games already look awesome, and they put "Nex Gen's" 30 fps bullshit to shame. And this is at a fraction of the horsepower of the PS4 and XBOne.

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                        January 9, 2017 8:32 PM

                        C'mon, man, your arguments are hollow. Yes the Wii u games look good. Yes the switch games will look good.

                        But they could look so much better!

                        Nintendo fanboys have such Stockholm syndrome that they're always happy with whatever they get. It's ok to want Nintendo to push tech.

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                          January 9, 2017 9:05 PM

                          We're Nintendo fanboys because we're the type of people who don't give a shit if they "push tech".

                          That’s actually what's going on here. Most Nintendo fans that I know literally don't care if the graphics are as good other games. At all. It's a hard point to get across to people who don't feel that way because all they see when they look at a Nintendo console is underpowered while the fans see FUN.

                          Look if Nintendo fails miserably with this console then I'll concede that they might need to get with the times just to please the people who don't think the way I do about their consoles. Here's hoping this underpowered little guy succeeds with good games despite not pushing tech as you say.

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                      January 9, 2017 8:33 PM

                      Many of the best looking games of this generation are on the Wii U, gorgeous and pinned at 60fps.

                      I have a gaming PC with a GTX 1080, a PS4 Pro, and an XBox One, and I say that with no reservations. The idea that Nintendo is incapable of having games with gorgeous visuals is absurd.

                      Are you playing games or reading spec sheets? I'm not sure you understand how far art direction and engineering can go to push world class graphics. Nintendo is one of the few companies outside of Blizzard and Valve that gets this.

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                        January 9, 2017 8:36 PM

                        Nintendo's games are beautiful, serp. But you and I both know they'd look even better with modern tech.

                        It's ok to say "I love nintendo's art direction but I also would love them to continue to be on the cutting edge."

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                          January 9, 2017 8:46 PM

                          A "Playstation that plays Nintendo games" doesn't do enough to differentiate itself in the market while shutting out a good chunk of Nintendo's audience that's on handheld. It simply isn't practical in a time when mobile hardware is as powerful as its become.

                          As for current gen graphics, Bloodborne is one game I would put on its level of quality. Uncharted 4 is obviously in a league of its own, I can't even put other PC games up against it. Sadly the game wasn't great but that's another topic.

                          This isn't a discussion about the Wii U games looking "good" or "good enough", they really do look better than most of what's on other platforms. Believe me, I wish I could say more good things about my PS4 Pro. At least my XBox One was a gift from a friend at MS...

                          As for cutting edge, a hybrid console that literally gets every Nintendo game which is also capable of playing third party games seems pretty cutting edge to me. Utility and differentiation are what matter to me, otherwise I just play games on my PC.

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                            January 9, 2017 8:50 PM

                            Well, I don't really feel like arguing about this anymore. I want more from Nintendo. You're happy to take whatever they give you.

                            In the end, we're both rooting for them to succeed. I'll buy the switch no questions asked if it's $250. I might buy it at $300 depending on reviews.

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                              January 9, 2017 9:09 PM

                              Always cool to bail from a discussion by claiming the other guy is saying something he isn't. I wouldn't (and I assume Serpico74 wouldn't) be happy with "whatever" Nintendo gives me. I have been happy with what they have been giving me. There's a big distinction there.

                              I can't even begin to tell you how much more I've played my Wii U than my PS4. Hundreds upon hundreds of hours more. Because to me eyes the games look good and they are fun. That's all I want from Nintendo. They've delivered.

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                                January 9, 2017 9:15 PM

                                Nasty, serp and I are good and have been having this discussion for months. I'm not "bailing" on anything and will probably be back and forth with him again on the 12th. But thanks for chiming in.

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                                  January 9, 2017 9:17 PM

                                  From where I'm standing ending with "You're happy to take whatever they give you" seems passive aggressive is all I'm saying but maybe that's just me.

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                                    January 9, 2017 9:24 PM

                                    It ain't passive aggressive, it's plain aggressive son! And I know he can take it!

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                                    January 9, 2017 10:55 PM

                                    People can have bad opinions that lead them to poor conclusions, it happens all the time and its fine.

                                    I'm here with my GTX 1080, a PS4 Pro, and an XB1, and kind of shrugging at people talking about how consoles masquerading as shitty PC are so great. IDGI. Meanwhile Nintendo's games are still among the best looking of this generation despite being much lower specced than the PS4 and XB1. It goes without saying that they play great as always.

                                    Spec sheets are only as good as the art direction and engineering that goes behind it, and Nintendo is still one of the absolute best at that. I'm happy to take whatever they give me because they blow away most of what anyone else does.

                                    Feel free to jump in whenever but we know we're all good. :)

            • reply
              January 9, 2017 5:55 PM

              It's a PORTABLE system how dense are u

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                January 9, 2017 6:09 PM

                If it cannot beat a top of the line gaming PC with a 500 hour battery and an 8K display, I can't imagine how anyone would ever purchase it. And it should have holograms. Because otherwise I might as well just get an HTC Vive. It can't come close to beating the 0-60 of a BMW M3 either, which is an absolute disappointment.

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                  January 10, 2017 6:07 AM

                  Not to mention it better have free gigabit wireless internet so I can download all the games from every past Nintendo system. Otherwise, what's the point?

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                January 9, 2017 7:02 PM

                And will it be priced as a portable system, good sir shadowdane? I think not.

                I'll buy you a piece of pie if it's $199.

                • reply
                  January 10, 2017 6:29 AM

                  Congrats on successfully moving those goalposts.

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        January 9, 2017 2:42 PM

        it needs to be powerful enough to get ports of XB1 and PS4 games or else it needs to sell so well that 3rd parties make exclusives for it without additional financial incentives (like Nintendo handhelds of old). Otherwise it's the Wii U again, a piece of hardware with some great Nintendo games and little else. That wasn't good enough for most people. It wasn't good enough for Nintendo either.

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        January 9, 2017 3:00 PM

        It just needs to be powerful enough to get straight third party ports. The fact that it supports Unreal Engine 4, supports Unity, and supports low level APIs like Vulkan says that the main factor in getting ports will be the size of the userbase.

        To put it another way, the Xbox 360, an 11-year old console with only 512MB of RAM and an ancient hardware/software architecture got ports of Rise Of The Tomb Raider, Far Cry 4, and Metal Gear Solid 5. The Switch has 4GB of RAM and an ultramodern hardware/software architecture (Nvidia Tegra, OpenGL 4.5, Vulkan, UE4 support, etc etc).

        This seems like a very different situation from the Wii where a completely different game would have to be created when making a port for it. That's the main fear people have but the Switch looks like it will be much easier to make ports for. Install base will be the main factor for third parties so Nintendo needs to come out swinging in its first year.

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        January 9, 2017 7:05 PM

        Thinking cheritably, I'd say it's because people want new games to be able to run well on it. But I really think it's just a form of 'mines bigger than yours'.

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          January 9, 2017 7:10 PM

          I don't care whose is bigger than whose. I want Nintendo to be the runaway winner because they have the best games. But their hardware decisions make what should be a slam dunk for them into a toss up between companies.

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            January 9, 2017 8:03 PM

            Have you considered that doing that might end up with them selling fewer consoles, and losing money?

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              January 9, 2017 8:34 PM

              I'm not on nintendo's board and neither are you. As consumers we should only be concerned with having the best product.

              Regardless, as I (and plenty of others) have pointed out many times, nintendo's stock has not been doing well on their current path.

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                January 9, 2017 9:06 PM

                No one would argue the WiiU was a success, but it wasn't because of its lack of horsepower. Lack of 3rd party support and a bad name/poor differentiation from the Wii caused that.

                I see the Switch as Nintendo altering their path to try to improve. Clearly you disagree, but the Switch is their most conventional console since the GameCube imo and has a significantly better chance of success as a result.

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                  January 9, 2017 9:17 PM

                  I half agree with you. The switch is a step in the right direction, though i would argue not a big enough one.

                  The Wii u was not a success. Good horsepower may or may not have saved it, but it certainly wouldn't have hurt!

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                    January 9, 2017 9:23 PM

                    It certainly would have hurt Nintendo's bottom line even more if that more expensive hardware still didn't sell!

    • reply
      January 9, 2017 2:54 PM

      It doesn't really appeal to me. I don't care about portability and phone gaming scratches that itch for me even though it's kinda generic and shitty for the most part.

      I'd rather them create a dedicated portable that competes w/ current gen stuff but I know that would never, ever happen. Those days were over once the Wii came out.

      I guess we'll see how strong the library is. Hopefully the games look halfway decent too but I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.

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        January 9, 2017 2:55 PM

        Err create a dedicated portable console...

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          January 9, 2017 4:22 PM

          It'll happen. They've probably got one more console in them if the switch bombs before they give up on hardware forever. You gotta figure they'll swallow their pride at that point and finally deliver a real, competitive home console

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            January 9, 2017 4:49 PM

            If Nintendo ever puts that console out, I'll buy you one.

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              January 9, 2017 5:13 PM

              If you have any intention of buying a nintendo console, it would probably be for the games, games that specifically are not on other consoles. And if that was the case, why would you not buy a Switch? If a chance to playing remasters of some of tbe best games of this generation doesn't appeal to you, what difference would a different system make? Are the games not the point of buying the system?

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                January 9, 2017 6:01 PM

                Intent of my comment is that I don't think the console that AM is describing will ever happen.

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            January 9, 2017 4:51 PM

            Nope. Just nope. Nintendo doesn't need to waste a few billion dollars trying and failing to play the mass market console wars with the two entrenched powers. It didn't work in 2001, it's not gonna work now.

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              January 9, 2017 7:06 PM

              So many (actually only 2 or 3 vocal shackers) fanboys defending nintendo's bad decisions.

              You know, it is possible to like Nintendo and hope they do something different, right? That doesn't make you a bad fan. It's ok to want to play a Mario or Zelda game that isn't running 4 year old specs. I want the BEST Mario and the BEST Zelda I can get.

              Neither one of us is on Nintendo's board, but Sony and Microsoft sure think it's worthwhile to "waste" a few billion dollars chasing new tech. Nintendo has been wasting a few billion dollars chasing gimmicks, so might as well try the other.

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                January 9, 2017 7:38 PM

                Gamecube was faster than PS2, it failed.

                And don't say it was the tiny discs, because it wasn't the tiny discs.

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                  January 9, 2017 7:42 PM

                  I don't know why it failed. It certainly didn't fail because it had competitive specs (lol). That seems to always be the inherent argument here.

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                    January 9, 2017 8:55 PM

                    The point is that competitive specs don't make it more competitive. Gamecube had tons of good games, it's just he Playstation brand (and now Xbox) are more attractive to a larger portion of the population. Nintendo can't change its identity overnight to be a "cool" brand to play with bros.

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                      January 9, 2017 8:59 PM

                      Utility is another thing that made the PS2 more successful despite having the weakest specs. The "gimmick" of being one of the best and most affordable DVD players on the market pushed it into a lot of homes. Third party games flat out looked way better on the Gamecube but it didn't matter, DVDs pushed the PS2 over the top for many people.

                      Utility matters. Utility carried three of the weakest consoles of their respective generations (PS2, Wii, DS) to be the three best selling consoles ever.

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            January 9, 2017 4:52 PM

            They'll go third party before they only make a home console. Handhelds are way too much a part of Nintendo's DNA and a hybrid makes sense from that standpoint. Note that Pokemon Sun & Moon was the biggest selling game this holiday, had the highest number of console game pre-orders in the last five years, and was the fastest selling Nintendo game ever.

            They would be idiots not to lean into the strength of their handheld business, and this is before we get into Nintendo staying in their own lane and addressing a separate market instead of overlapping exactly with what everyone else is doing.

            The successor to the Switch will be a faster Switch.

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              January 9, 2017 7:08 PM

              Handheld is dead for Nintendo. You say it's a waste of time playing catch up with Sony and Microsoft in the home space, I say it's a double triple HUGE waste of time chasing apple and Samsung in the mobile space. They're dead in the water there.

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                January 9, 2017 7:24 PM

                You must be joking

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                  January 9, 2017 7:26 PM

                  Go ahead and throw those 3ds numbers at me and I'll say ancient history!

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                    January 9, 2017 7:30 PM

                    Record setting sales after six years on the market is old news, sure

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                      January 9, 2017 7:40 PM

                      Yeah, this is the take home message. There is a strong market there. Maybe not 100 million, but 50-75 million if they play their cards right. That's enough to keep doing their thing.

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                        January 9, 2017 7:43 PM

                        They're not going to get that market at $250. 3ds didn't sell till it was priced at $200.

                        They're positioned in no mans land right now and it's a dangerous place to be.

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                        January 9, 2017 7:44 PM

                        But don't you see, a PlayStation that plays Nintendo games is what the market wants!

                        Its incredible how many people come to conclusions while ignoring empirical data a that is right in their faces.

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                          January 9, 2017 7:48 PM

                          There's been NO evidence that the market would ignore a PlayStation that plays Nintendo games.

                          There is plenty of evidence that the market will ignore what Nintendo is trying, however.

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                            January 9, 2017 7:49 PM

                            Absence of evidence and conjecture is not evidence

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                            January 9, 2017 8:05 PM

                            "There is plenty of evidence that the market will ignore what Nintendo is trying, however."

                            I'll say it again, it is remarkable how some people will jump to conclusions while ignoring empirical evidence.

                            You are willfully ignoring Nintendo's dominance in portable gaming. Call it old news but the 3DS is the hardest console to find right now. Even after five years they just had their fastest software launch ever, with the most preordered game at retail in five years, with the highest selling game of the holidays. This is after a year of several other record breaking launches, the fact that the 3DS is the only console that matters in Nintendo's home territory of Japan, etc.

                            Its obvious why Nintendo would lean into that while also combining their handheld and console teams into one unit. Ignoring that data is ignoring the market.

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                              January 9, 2017 8:39 PM

                              I suspect that trying to serve two markets with one product will be a losing proposition. But we will see. I hope Nintendo succeeds.

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                                January 9, 2017 8:47 PM

                                Every new product launch is a gamble and nobody has a crystal ball. That said, they are leaning hard into their strengths with this new machine, so we'll see.

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                January 9, 2017 7:45 PM

                weird you mention mobile space. noone really makes money in mobile outside of F2P. monument valley made something like 5 million, and mario run with all the advertisement in the world made like 20 million?

                compare to pokemon sun selling 10+ million copies and nintendo making mad bank off it

                • reply
                  January 9, 2017 7:49 PM

                  Nintendo's stock (with the exception of the Pokemon blip) has been a dumpster fire. I wouldn't talk about them making mad bank.

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                    January 9, 2017 8:27 PM

                    They've been far and away the most consistent at making money. A worst case scenario like the Wii U resulted in a flat period over five years. In the meantime a success like the PS3 erased everything that was made on the PS2 and then lost billions more. Their conservative approach with the PS4 combined with Microsoft's failure at launching the XBox One saved them (that is one of the few things going well for Sony right now, a first).

                    Sales successes like the XBox and XBox 360 again lost billions for Microsoft. They launched cheaper, had a one-year head start, lost billions, and at the end of the day they still barely tied with the Playstation. They're so in the hole on the XBox that they stopped reporting those numbers in their quarterlies and hid them among other products. Not surprising for a company that lost $10 billion between the Kin and Nokia, but its still better to hide the truth from investors in a case like that. The gaming division is getting enough internal scrutiny as it is.

                    Point is that Nintendo pulling a Microsoft by laying billions on the line trying to go head-to-head in the living room against an entrenched brand like Sony (twenty-one years!) is fiscal suicide, not to mention stupid by ignoring handheld and shutting out such an important part of their audience.

                    What is known is that their handhelds still generate revenue and have a very dedicated userbase. What some people mistakenly conflate is handheld gaming and smartphones. This is a big mistake and I think its where you are confused. The idea of smartphone gaming eradicating handheld console gaming holds as much water as smartphones killing standard console gaming (which the Switch also is) or the PC.

                    Until there is a radical shift in the market I don't see games with greater depth and physical controls going away.

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                      January 9, 2017 8:41 PM

                      I think they would be better served releasing a 4ds as well as a new dedicated home console with current gen tech. It doesn't have to be cutting edge, the R&D budget doesn't need to be huge, and it doesn't have to sell at a big loss.

                      But what do I know.

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                        January 9, 2017 8:55 PM

                        Instead they are releasing a console that will play every Nintendo game being made going forward. This means no more droughts on handheld or console since they're one and the same thing. That alone is pretty huge. It will also play cross-platform close to what is on the other platforms right now. Comparison screenshots between recommended UE4 settings for PS4/XB1 and Switch were surprisingly close.

                        I mostly play Nintendo console games with a smattering of 3DS stuff. Knowing that the handheld franchises will bolster the same platform that 3D Zelda and Mario games are on is pretty exciting. Pokemon and Monster Hunter means that the Switch will do better in Japan alone than the Wii U did globally.

                        We'll see how it goes!

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                  January 10, 2017 6:51 AM

                  pokemon go made $440 million in the first two months.

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            January 9, 2017 5:58 PM

            ^^Said during the N64 and Gamecube launches

    • reply
      January 9, 2017 6:55 PM


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      January 9, 2017 7:59 PM

      Grain-of-salt rumor, Day T-3:
      Monster Hunter for the Switch

      • reply
        January 9, 2017 8:28 PM

        Monster Hunter is definitely going to be on the Switch. Capcom likes money.

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