Nintendo Exec on the Two Reasons Why Switch Won't Struggle Like Wii U Did

Reggie Fils-Aime believes the Switch has a bright future.


It's no secret that the Wii U underperformed, selling around 13 million units compared to 100 million for the Wii. Nintendo's next system, the Switch, comes out in March and Nintendo doesn't want to stumble again. Speaking to GameSpot, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said the company has "thought deeply" about why the Wii U came up short and concluded that there were two main reasons.

The first was that Nintendo did not effectively communicate the novelty of the system, which uses a tablet-like controller to enable different gameplay experiences. The "clarity of the consumer proposition" was not strong enough, Fils-Aime acknowledged. The second, according to Fils-Aime, might be more important--that there wasn't a steady flow of compelling games.

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For the Switch, Fils-Aime believes, as he's been saying for a while now, that Nintendo has done a better job communicating what exactly the Switch is; he also believes there won't be a lack of strong games.

"Nintendo Switch is a home console you can play anywhere, with anyone. Clear. Compelling," he said. "We see the reaction by consumers whether it's measured in Twitter trending topics or views of videos on YouTube or just the frequency with which I get called by old high school buddies that I haven't heard from in 30 years who are asking me how to get their hands on Nintendo Switch. We have communicated the proposition clearly and it is compelling."

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The second piece, that of strong games coming out frequently, is a "critical" component to selling Switch consoles and to keep existing users engaged, Fils-Aime said.

"Wii U will go down as having fantastic content--the issue was as you look at the reality of exactly when the games were launched, there were large gaps in between," he said.

For Switch, there will be at least five launch titles, including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which Fils-Aime called a "masterpiece." Though it's not a launch title, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is coming out at the end of April; it's one of Nintendo's biggest and most recognizable brands and will surely help sell systems. Looking further into 2017, Splatoon 2 comes out during the summer, while Super Mario Odyssey is on tap for release this holiday. There will of course be third-party support as well in the form of games like Skyrim, NBA 2K18, a new FIFA title, Minecraft, and more.

All told, Fils-Aime said the Switch will have a "steady cadence of content."

By comparison, the Wii U had 23 launch titles. Responding to that relatively low figure, Fils-Aime said in a separate interview that it's not all about launch.

For more on the Switch, check out all of GameSpot's previous coverage here.

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