“My competitive set is much bigger than my direct competitors in Sony and Microsoft.”
Nintendo occupies a very unique place in the gaming industry. At this point, they’re largely out of the high end arms race as far as graphics and technology go, instead delivering cheaper technology, but with more unique propositions than anyone else. Their software is so strong, people are willing to buy their consoles just to play their games, and their hardware is cheap enough to have fostered a very healthy development community among mid tier and indie third party developers.
All of which is to say, the Switch is not directly competing with the PS4 and the Xbox One, a point that Nintendo executive Reggie Fils-Aime seems to be aware of, and doubling down on. Speaking to Ars Technica, Fils-Aime specifically said that he is competing for customers’ time against all entertainment activities, specifically because Nintendo is targeting a broader set of customers to begin with.
“All of the rest of [a customer’s] time is entertainment time,” he said. “That’s what I compete for, minute by minute. That time you spend surfing the Web, watching a movie, watching a telecast of a conference: that’s all entertainment time we’re competing for. My competitive set is much bigger than my direct competitors in Sony and Microsoft. I compete for time. When I do that, I have to be creative and innovative in order to win that battle.”
Which is fair! It is pretty clear Nintendo doesn’t want to go head to head in a never ending arms race with Microsoft and Sony anymore. It’s more than happy to have conceded that battle to them. Simultaneously, it’s also now chasing a far broader audience than either of them are. Can it achieve that kind of market penetration with the Switch, and will the audience be more sustainable this time than it was with the Wii? The next few years should be very interesting to observe as a Nintendo fan, that’s for sure.