Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime Discusses the Success of the Switch

Nintendo Switch

As of late, Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime has been talking about the Switch console a lot. Whether it’s his desire to see Red Dead Redemption on the system or the process in bringing over strong Wii U ports and third party games, he’s discussed it at great length.

Continuing on that trend, he recently spoke with the Hollywood Reporter, digging into what makes the system such a success. Nintendo had just come off the failure of the Wii U console, which only sold just over 12 million units in its lifetime; and the Switch toppled that number before it had been on the market for a year.

First, he talked about the company’s success over Black Friday, in which it set a sales record. “First, consumers look at Black Friday as an opportunity to get their holiday purchasing going,” he said. “They look at values out of the marketplace and for us, it was really important to message the type of value that we will have with Nintendo Switch during the holiday season.

Fils-Aime then discussed the special bundle introduced specifically for the sales weekend. “For Black Friday, specifically, we had a hardware bundle that included Mario Kart 8 Deluxe- arguably one of our best-selling games- a game that consumers are already voting with their wallets that they want. That bundle sold out immediately. Then, we had a strong dedicated offer for Cyber Monday and this was offering $35 in eShop credit when you bought through the dot-com retailers.

“What we saw that was gratifying is that both of those deals sold out quickly and then consumers started buying stock at regular price. That’s what we expect to continue. There’s going to be no more significant deals for Nintendo Switch. We’re only in our second holiday and the consumer is indicating that, for them, this product, with this great alignment of software really is a must-have product and something that they need to have now.”

He also brought up the impact through games, as we’ll be seeing some big titles in 2019 starting right off the bat with New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, set to release on January 11. “The key driver is the steady pace of software,” he explained. “We’re very thoughtful of how do you sequence out the software. How do you make sure that you’re constantly giving the consumer a motivation to participate in the platform? And not only to buy the latest new thing, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but we’re great in having a library of high-quality games that they’ll go back and purchase and experience.

“Whether that’s last year’s game of the year, Breath of the Wild; whether it’s one of our newest franchises in Splatoon 2; whether it’s Super Mario Odyssey, the consumer will go back and gravitate to those games as well, and for that new consumer it’s new to them. That’s a really good business driver for Nintendo.”

And he also brought up how many of the company’s franchises have become big hits in the long term. “This is where I have to give our game developers the credit. I think the best example of this is Breath of the Wild. The Zelda franchise- which I love, my favorite franchise of all time- there was a formula to Zelda games. You would go into a dungeon, you would beat the mini boss, you would get a weapon that would allow you to progress to the next stage of the game, and that would continue.

“The development team for Breath of the Wild blew open all of those conventions with a brand-new construct. You could start right at the very beginning, go and try to beat Ganon- good luck to you, it doesn’t work very well. Even the weapon construct, you would progress, get these ultimate weapons, that was the previous Zelda formula, but in Breath of the Wild there’s tons of weapons. The only problem is they break. It’s that kind of thinking, to understand what is foundational in the franchise- in this case, it’s Link, Zelda, the legends of Hyrule- and constantly look to innovate and provide something new. That’s Zelda, that’s Super Mario Odyssey. It’s constantly taking that approach. That’s why these franchises endure and that’s why these franchises become must-have products of [each] generation to experience and to share with others.”

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With next year, the Nintendo Switch could see even more success. Yes, perhaps bigger than Pokemon Let’s Go and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

(Hat tip to the Hollywood Reporter for the details!)