The Pokemon Company CEO Warned Nintendo That Switch Would Fail
Well, look how that turned out.
The Nintendo Switch has become Nintendo’s most successful device ever, and it has continued to sell out worldwide, moving to consumers at a hugely rapid pace. In hindsight, the Switch’s success seems like a foregone conclusion- a new, highly sophisticated and appealing portable from Nintendo with unique capabilities, as well as a killer lineup in the first year: why wouldn’t it sell well?
But we already know that many companies were unconvinced by the Switch when Nintendo first shared it with them- we have heard EA, Capcom, and Level-5 admit that they were simply caught unawares by how successful the Switch turned out to be, contrary to what they expected. As it turns out, it wasn’t just them- one of Nintendo’s closest partners, The Pokemon Company, also expected the system to fail.
“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,” The Pokemon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara told Bloomberg. “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.”
That said, he also specified that he is still not convinced regarding the Switch’s long term capability. “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,” he said, pointing out that while it is successful now, it needs to sell at this rate for a while before it is an unqualified success.
The Pokemon Company’s own Pokemon, which has been announced for the Nintendo Switch for next year, will probably help ensure that success.