Nintendo’s president has discussed the company’s approach to developing and launching new gaming hardware.
Furukawa said Nintendo doesn’t have a specific time frame in mind for hardware development, rather it is “constantly researching technology” in a bid to create new experiences.
“The hardware and software development teams are in the same building, communicating closely and thinking about how we can propose new forms of entertainment,” he said.
“In order to create a single piece of hardware, we have to do a lot of preparation several years in advance, so we are working without stopping. In the end, the deciding factor in whether or not to commercialise a product is whether it can create a new experience.”
Switch launched in March 2017 and Nintendo hopes the console still has another four years on the market.
“We always say that we are in the middle of the Switch’s lifecycle, and since one piece of hardware can be used to play both stationary and portable games, we can offer a wide variety of software for this purpose,” Furukawa said. “The life cycle can still be extended.”
During a recent financial results briefing, Furukawa said releasing a wide range of software to ensure Switch continues to appeal to as many types of players as possible will be key to helping the system surpass sales of the company’s most successful console to date, Nintendo Wii.
Ushering in an era of motion controls and family gaming, Wii launched in 2006 and went on to ship 101.63 million units during its lifetime.
In the Nikkei interview, Nintendo’s president acknowledged that all kinds of entertainment, not just games, are now competing for consumers’ time.
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“The most important thing for us is to continue to provide new and interesting games,” he said. “The basis of Nintendo’s game creation is to make it as intuitive as possible for anyone to play. We want to lower the barriers to play, and create many games that can be played by as many people as possible, including family members, through communication.”
Switch had shipped almost 80 million consoles worldwide as of December 31, 2020, according to Nintendo.
However, Furukawa said he believed that, “no matter what kind of hit product you have, in the entertainment business, there will always be a point where people get tired of it.
“We have experienced many times in the past when our business took a nosedive,” he said. “That is why I, as well as others in the company, do not believe that this situation will last for long. Rather, I believe that every year is a critical time. If we don’t make fresh and surprising proposals to new customers, we will always be forgotten.”
Elsewhere in the Nikkei interview, Furukawa discussed Nintendo’s approach to improving its business through mergers and acquisitions. He said the company isn’t interested in “blindly acquiring companies” as it doesn’t believe that simply increasing the size of its teams will result in a higher quality games line-up.
The platform holder will hold its first full Nintendo Direct Broadcast in nearly 18 months on Wednesday evening, when it will livestream roughly 50 minutes of information on available games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and titles coming to Switch in the first half of 2021.