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Pokemon CEO on Pokemon GO goals, Pokemon Switch ideas, and how he didn't think Switch would succeed

Coming from a Bloomberg interview with Tsunekazu Ishihara, chief executive officer of Tokyo-based Pokémon...

- ability to trade Pokemon and battle one-on-one reconfirmed for Pokemon GO
- have only accomplished 10 percent of what Pokémon and Niantic are trying to do with the game

“Depending on location, there are many Pokémon with different characteristics. So what do we do with those and the real world? One view is to have chilly Pokémon in a cold climate, but then that would also mean that people born on a tropical island won’t be able to catch them. So we are always thinking of how to find the right balance between game design, how our Pokémon should exist, and how players feel about their collections. Right now, if you go to the coast you can catch water Pokémon. For example, if you have a setting for electric-type Pokémon (such as Pikachu) to appear at power plants, is that really a good idea for you to find one in such a location -- is it safe, and is it OK regionally? We see it as a very realistic problem.
On the other hand, it has created a lot of social problems. When too many people gather, it causes mass confusion. Also this isn’t limited to Pokémon Go, but the issue of staring at smartphones while walking is something we have to focus on and think about.”

- Switch allows the opportunity to create a Pokémon game that goes deeper and has a higher level of expression
- this makes it an extremely important platform to Pokemon Co.
- “Until now, games were made as one for one person, but now you can go home and play with everyone -- so how do we tackle these themes, and how do we make sure it’s not complicated?”
- no confirmation on Switch accessories for the Pokemon game, but it's under consideration
- Switch is not a device that has a constant network connection, so it's not viewed to differently from DS or 3DS
- Augmented Reality fits well with Pokemon Company's vision for the franchise

“With current AR, even if you say Pikachu is there, no one really thinks that. But that reality is just one step away. For example, you’ll be able to find Pikachu, and it can sense this table and jump on it, and you can see its shadow on the table, and then it faces you and starts talking to you. We will see the birth of this reality that is another step up from the current Pokémon Go. And I’ve only mentioned the visual aspect, but you can add haptic and rumble technology to that.

Voice-activated assistants are increasing. Whether it is Google Home or Amazon or Apple Homepod, there are many of them and we could see these dialogue-based devices give birth of a new form of entertainment.

Switch is just one of the possible platforms. I think we will open up more possibilities from all these platforms. Playing in a more realistic way should be possible.”

Mr. Ishihara also opened up about the Switch, saying that he didn't think it was going to be a success. He's changed his tune now, but still thinks another step to reach a wider audience.

“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. It’s obvious I was wrong. 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.”

Comments

socar
Wed Sep 06 17 03:52am
Rating: 1

Since the Switch is portable, its pretty obvious that a Pokemon game HAS to be made for the Switch. Don't get why they are considering too much on this since again, its a portable system like the 3DS only that it has the option to hook up a TV.

Damn, the Pokemon CEO sounds like a gaffer with the "switch is doomed" hot takes.

After the 3DS, did they really think a hybrid system wouldn't sale in this smartphone era? There's conservative thinking, and then there's just, well, crazy.

I just want to be able to see the nature and ability of a Pokemon before I trade for it on GTS.

The only thing i want is a normal Pokemon game on Switch. Like the games on the 3DS. I really don't care about that smartphone stuff.

There previous games ran fairly bad on Nintendo's past portables so they should have little excuse for bad performance on the switch. I'll keep an eye out to see if they do anything interesting on switch

The hybrid nature of the Switch was a damn smart move from Nintendo. Personally I use it mostly as a home console but I see some use it mostly as a handheldas others combine the two. It's damn brilliant and the hardware is enough to be both. Plus the arcade feeling I got when playing coop in Sonic Mania (I usually am a loner gamer) was definetly sweet. Even forgot how small and awkward the 1 joy-con can be. I have to agree somewhat with Clark2K that it was pretty pricy. If it it wasn't for Zelda at launch it would never be the hit it is. But now the games are "flooding" in. At least Nintendo's games and Indies. I find it sad that third parties have this wait and see approach though. It's selling really good and now is the time join the fun if you want your money. I know we need those mainstream games for it. So I am hoping FIFA and Skyrim do well. It seems like Mario + Rabbids is doing OK. It's at least on the top of the charts here in Europe. Looks better than I thought. We are also getting NMH again, and all the other nice exclusives. It seems we will get a lot of original content. Personally I am loving Fate/Extella and looking into Disgea 5 after the demo. And DB Xenoverse. I want to do my kame hame has :D. And, of course I need Spla2n and Mario Odd XC2 etc.

So third parties!: Get your acts together! This is NOT the Wii U2. No half assed ports, no ports coming way later than for the other consoles and do push some original content. We like that stuff obviously. And try to do that BEFORE Pokemon hits the Switch since that's going to send this console's sales to the fakkin' moon!

Wed Sep 06 17 01:17pm
(Updated 1 time)

His comments are interesting to say the least. I think he really wants mainline Pokemon to be a smartphone title and feels limited by Nintendo's insistence on it remaining on portable consoles; Pokemon GO is likely the culprit with its massive profits. This seems like a protest of sorts, which is kind of sad. This also explains why Pokemon Switch isn't further in development; they were in a holding pattern just like some of these 3rd parties.

I knew Switch would be a success just given the form factor and slick marketing materials. I had the same prediction about Splatoon when it was first shown and everyone was downing it. The character design, clothing design, and the nature of the game really made you think it was going to be super popular not only abroad but in Japan where shooters aren't really popular. The point is, marketing and design are just as important as the gameplay. When they all come together in perfect harmony, you end up with a massive success.

Ultimately The Pokémon Company plays a secondary role in the creation of the main series of games, so I think he's likely talking about his doubts of the platform rather than reluctance to bring the series over to the Switch.
Besides, as Junichi Masuda stated previously, there's very little chance if at all of the main series showing up on a non-Nintendo platform. Nintendo would veto that decision in a heartbeat.

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