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Nintendo's Koizumi on Switch's philosophy, bringing in new gamers, importance of two Joy-Cons & more

by rawmeatcowboy
16 February 2017
GN Version 5.0

The following comments come from Nintendo's Yoshiaki Koizumi...

“When you have a deck of cards, you can get family and friends together and play games that everyone knows the rules to. It’s very accessible, everyone can sit down and play together, and that became kind of a root for us as we thought about this. For generations, people would play eye to eye as they thought about strategy. We wanted to recreate some of that experience using technology.

You need a certain kind of hardware to make that social situation possible and in the past we’ve had that experience with NES and SNES of having two controllers and it definitely felt like the social experience where your friend would come over to your house and play with you, and so we wanted to make that situation not only more possible, but more visible outside the house, to see people playing together like that. It’s the addition of two controllers from the start that makes creating those things possible.

Of course you could go online and play video games with strangers that you’ve never met before, but something a little bit different is possible here, where you can take the system outside of your house and run into someone you’ve never met before, hand them a controller and start playing right there, and that’s the sort of thing that, when you experience it, makes the other person and yourself very happy.

...The original concept for Nintendo switch was trying to come up with these ideas for play which offer anybody the chance to play these games wherever they want, and that was really the genesis of the idea for Nintendo Switch.

In our goal to reach as many people as possible with interesting new gaming experience of Nintendo Switch, we had considered the needs of a lot of different types of people, you have more of the core gamers who want everything out of the system, and you want it to also appeal to people who might just be looking for new experiences and coming into it for the first time perhaps. But the thing that we decided that we wanted to focus on in both of those instances was the fact that they could carry it around with them. And not only that they would be able to carry it around but that they would be able to experience the same quality of gaming that they could in their living room outside of the house as well. For that reason we also wanted them to be sharing it with other people when they were outside, and that’s why we included two controllers, so that they could hand one to another person.

When thinking about trying to provide that play experience and what would be required of the hardware to do it, this is where we landed. In particular, the fact that there are two controllers is especially significant to us. When thinking about why that is important, the idea is that in previous generations we’ve had the experience included in one controller only in the hardware, and that really starts to railroad us into a situation of focusing on one player games. We didn’t want that to be the case this time round, we wanted people to go outside of their house and invite others to play with them, so having two controllers from the start was very important for this.

And we made the colours different so that it would be very easy to understand who was who. That’s how we settled on this iteration of hardware, based on trying to incorporate these various themes that could be applied in these situations.

Speaking as someone whose job it is to make as fun games as we possibly can, one of my biggest goals is to see people who have perhaps never played a game of this type experience it for the first time. We want to think about how we can create something that will fit into that person’s lifestyle, and for us that answer is Nintendo Switch.”