“A great idea is about timing as much as it is about technology.”
Phil Harrison certainly has a rich history in the gaming industry- from 1994 to 2008, he worked with PlayStation, overseeing its rise and dominance in Europe, before parting ways, and joining Microsoft and Xbox in 2012, where he tried to oversee the disastrous launch of the Xbox One. In 2015, he left Microsoft, too. However, he has kept up with the state of gaming since then- and one company that has managed to turn his head has been Nintendo.
“Nintendo has surprised me in a good way,” Harrison said in an interview with VentureBeat. “They’ve put some excitement back in, or at least added a dynamic to the console equation that wasn’t there previously. From my focus group of a household with younger children, Switch is definitely the console that gets used. Mainly because of the content types. Surprisingly, the TV-to-mobile use case works way more effectively than I expected. I really enjoy that.”
He also spoke about why the Wii U, in spite of being so conceptually similar, might have failed. “The tablet mode on Wii U just wasn’t powerful enough. It was rendered as a single frame from the console sent wirelessly from the console to the device. The Switch combined both modes into one and just switched the power state. When you’re tethered you get access to more wattage on the CPU and GPU. Maybe that technology didn’t exist when they were developing the Wii U. I suspect not. A great idea is about timing as much as it is about technology.”
Nintendo has certainly managed to make heads turn with the Switch and its subsequent success, as even those who expected the concept to be a non starter have found it to be surprisingly relevant in the modern lifestyle. It will be hugely interesting to see if this momentum is something they can sustain going forward.