Well over five years into the Switch’s lifecycle, questions about Nintendo’s next console are becoming increasingly prevalent, and even if Nintendo itself continues to insist that the Switch still has plenty of life in it, speculation grows rampant that a successor is perhaps not as far away as the company might have you believe.
Of course, concrete details on the Switch successor are next to non-existent at this point- but Nintendo has given some intriguing insight into one particular aspect of the console. The Japanese company introduced Nintendo Accounts back in 2016, which have since then become a central service that Nintendo has used as the backbone of the Switch eShop, and even for experiences beyond the Switch.
Speaking in a recent investors Q&A, Ko Shiota – director and senior executive officer at the company – said that thanks to its hardware and software integration, the Nintendo Account service has grown increasingly important, and is likely going to be continue being central to Nintendo’s strategy. While the Japanese publisher isn’t yet ready to talk about its next console, it will likely feature similar integration.
“In the Nintendo Switch generation, it feels like we have gotten closer to our consumers via Nintendo Account,” Shiota said. “I think an integrated hardware-software business that captures the spirit of Nintendo will continue to be central to many of the activities that spring from the strategy described in today’s briefing. The most important thing with our dedicated video game platform is to deliver a unique gaming experience. In our development of both hardware and software going forward, we must consider ways to more easily connect our core video game business with the consumer experiences outside of our dedicated video game platform through Nintendo Account.
“We are not at a stage where we can talk about the next-generation platform. But we think it is most important to create unique integrated hardware-software products. The activities we leverage through Nintendo Account should be well connected to those products.”
Recently, Nintendo announced that it had established a new joint venture firm called Nintendo Systems in collaboration with DeNA, with a view to enhancing the company’s services and online functionalities, which may very well point to further focus on Nintendo Accounts in the future. Of course, when transitioning from the Wii U to the Switch, Nintendo ditched the old Nintendo Network ID framework in favour of Nintendo Accounts, so there’s no guarantees that something similar won’t happen in the future with another new console.
In its recent Q&A, Nintendo also spoke about backward compatibility, which it seems reluctant to confirm for its next console. Read more on that through here.
Recently, Nintendo also announced that the Switch’s subscription service, Nintendo Switch Online, has exceeded 36 million subscribers worldwide.