Nintendo Switch: Reggie on initial target audience, launch line-up, paid online, more

Following the Nintendo Switch Presentation, Reggie Fils-Aimé held several interview with various media outlets. In this post, we’re going to focus on two specifically:

When asked about the initial target audience for the Nintendo Switch, in an interview with CNet, Reggie Fils-Aimé explained that it would be “young adults with disposable incomes”. Two reasons for that: the price of the console, but also its line-up (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and then Xenoblade Chronicles 2 later this year). But ultimate, Nintendo does want to reach all kind of players, regardless of their age.

Regarding the launch line-up, Reggie Fils-Aimé explained that launch day was “not the be-all and the end-all”, and that a steady stream of releases was even more important (something the Wii U suffered from, as there was literally nothing for months following launch). The goal is to show players who have bought the console that they have made the right choice.

As for online, the reason Nintendo decided to start charging people for it is simple… money. All these servers required to run games like Splatoon or Super Smash Bros. are not exactly cheap:

The reality is, the way that online experiences have progressed, it’s an expensive proposition. The amount of servers we need to support Smash Brothers or Mario Kart — these big multiplayer games — is not a small investment.

In the interview with TIME, Reggie Fils-Aimé talked a bit more about the audience for the Nintendo Switch:

Just like every system Nintendo creates, we believe in having a very wide footprint, and we are experienced enough in this industry to know that the footprint changes over time. We believe that by [next holiday season], with the launch of Super Mario Odyssey, that the footprint for Nintendo Switch will be very broad. Kids, young adults, parents, gamers will occupy that footprint.

Basically, every time new games are launched, the “footprint” will become wider, reaching more and more people. Reggie also confirms that Nintendo wasn’t abandoning the family/kids audience just because the reveal video focused on young adults.

Regarding third-party developers (and the “80 third-party games in development” mentioned during the Nintendo Switch Presentation, Reggie Fils-Aimé talked about the various things publishers are looking for when it comes to supporting a platform:

First, they look for a straightforward development environment in order to create their games. And that was one of the challenges with Wii U. Now with Nintendo Switch, we have Unity as a platform. We’ve got the Unreal Engine as a platform. These are known development environments for content creators to build content.

The second thing they look for is a consumer demographic that’s going to meet their needs for the content they’re creating. And so again, you’ve got Zelda for the core. You’ve got 1-2 Switch for the family audience. You’ve got Arms. You’ve got Splatoon. You’ve got Mario Kart 8. You’ve got Super Mario Odyssey. That looks like a pretty wide and diverse audience to build content for.

And third, they look for a large install base. That’s what we’re trying to create.

And then lastly, they look for a full range of ways to monetize their investment. And that’s where having a robust online environment comes in. And again we are pushing the envelope, we’re doing things differently, and we’re working hard to make sure that environment exists.

Reggie Fils-Aimé cites games like EA Sports Fifa releasing on the Nintendo Switch, or Bethesda finally releasing something on a Nintendo platform, as proof that third-party publishers have reacted positively to the console so far.

When asked whether the Wii U was a necessary failure, here’s what he answered:

I don’t recall who said it but, one of our executives said something similar — I think it might have been Mr. Miyamoto, the last time he was here in New York, where he made the comment “I hope consumers look back at Wii U as a necessary step, in order to get to Nintendo Switch.” Which is another way of saying what you did.

But yes, you can look at Nintendo Switch and certainly see a lineage, not only to Wii U, but as our Switch presentation highlighted, really to so many of our historical platforms. And there is certainly no mistake in that.

Make sure to check out the links above for the full interviews!

Finally, here’s an interesting quote from Yoshiaki Koizumi (General Producer of the Nintendo Switch), from an interview with the Wall Street Journal:

“When you play cards, you look opponents in the eye to read their strategy, and that is fun. And we realized no videogame devices have been able to offer that kind of entertainment.

I want people to share the fun of playing games not just over social media but also on street corners. When we see people playing the Switch at various places and with different styles, then we would call the Switch a success.

The Nintendo Switch will be launched on March 3rd worldwide!



Founder and main writer for Perfectly Nintendo. Tried really hard to find something funny and witty to put here, but had to admit defeat. Also known as Maintenance Guy by some.

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