For the first time ever, Nintendo has spoken about life after Switch and implied that its next console won’t be all that different.
Trying to predict what Nintendo will do at any given moment is never a good idea but that goes double when you’re talking about their new console plans.
Nobody could ever have imagined the Wii or Wii U, let alone the Switch, so trying to predict what they might create as a follow-up to the current console is all but impossible. Although they have dropped the first careful hints.
Speaking to shareholders during the company’s 80th Annual General Meeting the company’s execs were asked what they could say about their next console (although as is typical for their AGM the question is couched in fairly bizarre terms, as the questioner also seems to be asking if they can have video games without a screen).
Q. Could you tell us about the outlook for your next game system? Game hardware has always displayed an image on a TV or other kind of screen while you do something, and I think that’s where the limits for this format are. Would the hardware you’re thinking about go beyond those limits?
Shuntaro Furukawa (Representative Director and President):
Our current generation game system, Nintendo Switch, has entered its fourth year since launch, but its momentum is increasing. We believe there are two factors behind this. First is the existence of two hardware configurations with different characteristics, in Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite. The second factor is that Nintendo’s development resources are concentrated on developing content for a single platform, Nintendo Switch. We want to extend the life cycle of Nintendo Switch while maximising such advantages.
Ko Shiota (Director, Senior Executive Officer):
In addition to the performance aspects (higher technical specifications), Nintendo’s dedicated video game platforms are developed with a focus on providing a comfortable environment for consumers to play fun software. From the perspective of playing with the image displayed on a TV, we believe that because consumers can play Nintendo Switch on a TV or the game console screen itself, it has greatly increased the opportunities for gameplay in various scenes in their lives, compared to previous consoles. Through Nintendo Switch, we’ve made many discoveries about where a dedicated video game platform can fit into a consumer’s daily life. We see scenes on social media of children and their families sitting around a game console to play, which gives us a renewed sense of the value of our dedicated video game platform. We will utilise these experiences in carefully considering the form our future game consoles will take.
As you can see, the language is intentional vague but certainly the implication is that whatever follows the Switch will be a similar kind of hybrid system, not something completely different.
There’s no indication of when the new console would arrive though and not only has Nintendo said before that they expect the Switch to have a long lifespan but since it’s doing even better than last year at the moment there’s zero reason to fast-track any kind of a replacement.
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