Nintendo Doesn’t See Xbox or PlayStation As Competitors, Says Reggie Fils-Aime

Today’s gaming market is still quite competitive, although it’s not nearly as cutthroat as the days of, say, Sega versus Nintendo. But Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo, recently spoke at the Geekswire Summit and proclaimed that the company doesn’t necessarily see Microsoft and Sony as “competition."

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Sure, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have a leg up over the Switch in terms of power and third-party support, and have been on the market longer, but Fils-Aime noted that the main thing the company competes for “is time.” He notes that people spend a great deal of time each day with work, play and other activities, and says that Nintendo focuses on trying to get consumers’ attention with their “entertainment time,” instead of competing on a level like Sony and Microsoft would.

“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,” he said.

He said the three “pieces of business” he’s focusing on involve the dedicated video game brand (“the way most of our consumers interact with us”), the mobile gaming business that continues to thrive, and “leveraging our intellectual property in a variety of ways.” This includes the recent deal with Universal to bring Nintendo brands to their theme parks, along with the forthcoming Super Mario film.

In general, Fils-Aime reiterated how Nintendo follows the beat of its own drum when it comes to video game business. “Nintendo's approach is to do things differently. We have a much different suite of experiences than our competitors offer, and we do that in a different way. This creates a sort of yin and yang for our consumers. They’re excited about cloud saves and legacy content but wish we might deliver voice chat a different way, for example,” he explained.

"What we see is a situation where we know that Nintendo Switch is being played in the open, at a park, on a metro bus. We believe the easiest way for you to connect and have a peer-to-peer experience with voice chat is with your mobile phone. It’s always there, it’s always with you."

Finally, he did note that the failure of the Wii U helped push the Switch forward to great success. “Without Wii U, we would not have the Nintendo Switch, in terms of what we learned and, importantly, what we heard from our consumers. They told us, 'I want to play with this gamepad on the Wii U, but as soon as I get more than 30 feet away, it disconnects.' The core concept of taking it any time, that was compelling."

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We’ll see if we can get video of his full summit speech soon.

(Hat tip to Ars Technica for the scoop!)