Polygon had the chance to talk to Nintendo's Doug Bowser to discuss a number of topics. Check out a round-up of select interview segments below.
On Animal Crossing: New Horizons success
“Well beyond expectations” is, I think, the simplest way to put it in. I don’t know that we expected it to be truly the cultural touchpoint that it became across the globe. And what we were pleased to see is how it redefined how people thought about video games and how they incorporated it in their lives.
We saw people celebrating graduations; having birthday parties; weddings, even — virtually, through the game itself. And we were pleased to see that we were able to provide a bit of a respite in what was pretty chaotic times and challenging times for folks. So it’s a result of many things. First of all: Developers did a wonderful job of creating a great universe, a great environment, great characters, and so that was very much engaging. But then, of course, the time of its release allowed a number of people who hadn’t even played video games to come in and enjoy and understand not only video games, but understand Animal Crossing much further.
On Switch Online
We’re continuing to watch how people are engaging with the service. The top two reasons that people today purchase a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online are the ability to play our games online, and the second is the ability to engage in content like you just mentioned — and not only Super Mario Bros. 35 or Tetris 99, but also the catalog of NES and SNES titles. We’re at over 100 titles that are available right now. Some of those now have the ability to be played in multiplayer form, where the originals did not. So there’s a high level of engagement on that side. But those are the top two reasons people choose to subscribe, along with cloud save and some of the other benefits, and we’ll continue to evolve the service as we go forward, making sure we’re providing new and fresh functionality and games for folks.
On the potential for a Game Pass-like service
We are always looking at various ways that we can engage our consumers right now. We have found that our catalog and the third-party publishing catalog that’s available, whether that’s through Nintendo Switch Online or through frontline game purchase, has really been allowing us to do that.