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Opinion Game Dev Platform Doug Bowser on Nintendo’s obsession with March 31, plus Joy-Con drift and the Switch Pro rumors

IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman
Dec 1, 2014
27,470
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ibiza

As a way to close out the year, we sat down with Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser to discuss the highs and lows of 2020 for the company and what 2021 might bring, from the possibility of a Switch Pro to the long-awaited Breath of the Wild sequel.

Is Nintendo holding back games for a Switch Pro?

We talked a little bit about it earlier, regarding the lineup and how the lineup sort of shifted throughout the year because of COVID. And I think it manifested in a few ways. I would not by any means call Nintendo’s lineup in the holiday season a light lineup. But again, just putting it against 2019, for example, with Link’s Awakening and Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Pokémon ... it’s obviously kind of a different beast, versus this year, which, you know, we have Pikmin 3, great game; Hyrule Warriors [Age of Calamity], great game; Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, also really good. But you don’t necessarily have the big new internally developed game. And I understand that delays happen, especially because of COVID.

But I also know that there have been some discussions that Nintendo may be trying to hold back certain titles for potentially some hardware changes in the future. I wanted to know if that’s something that you guys are looking at, strategizing around, to make sure that, “Hey, if we were to update the hardware in some way, we would have, like, a strong enough lineup to do that.”


Russ, the way I’d answer that is, as we look at the fourth year of Nintendo Switch, we continue to see very, very strong momentum. We see the platform appealing to a wide range of consumers. This year, in particular, we’ve seen more women gamers come into Nintendo Switch platforms, women that had not owned a Nintendo Switch platform in the past, and they’re engaging in our content in new and different ways.

We’ve been able to introduce not only games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but from our partners, games like like Hades or Minecraft Dungeons, or Ori and the Will of the Wisps. We have a number of different ways that players are coming in and engaging the content, and it’s not all AAA content.

But former AAA content is doing incredibly well, too. Some of the top titles that are still bought after someone buys a Nintendo Switch today are titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey. So that back catalog is still fresh and new for any new purchaser of a Nintendo Switch. And that plays into how we market and talk with our consumers.

So with a catalog of over 4,000 games available and Nintendo Switch selling very, very well — I think you saw the NPD numbers from October, where we sold 735,000 units, up 136% year over year — November is going to be an equally strong month for us. I can’t reveal the data because NPD will be talking about it this afternoon. But I think you’re going to see an equally strong month from Nintendo in the month of November, with a very strong both Thanksgiving and Black Friday week and Cyber Monday week. [Ed note: Nintendo sold more than 1.35 million Switch units in the U.S. in November, retaining its top spot for a 24th consecutive month.]

And where that points me is, we will be releasing content, as I mentioned earlier, on a regular cadence year-round. And there’s a lot more to come, obviously, as you think about our IP, and we’ll release it when it’s right and when it’s ready and when we’ve got great gameplay experiences. But in the meantime, we continue to lean into what I think is still a very strong lineup for this holiday and a very strong catalog.

Obviously, rumors of a “Switch Pro” have basically been floating around for years at this point. You know, for a while it was alongside the Switch Lite, and then that didn’t end up happening. These days, hardware strength is all the rage. Nintendo has never been one to push hardware, but obviously, at this point, a 720p handheld screen is getting a little bit creakier. How does that match with Nintendo’s long-held strategy of updating the hardware after, let’s say, three or four years?

Yeah. A couple of thoughts there. There were a few questions in there. Let me just break it down. First, we’re always looking at technology. And as we know, technology is constantly evolving and changing. And we’re always looking at what is coming to determine: How can it enhance and improve the gameplay experience? And whether that’s on a current platform, or whether that’s on a future platform, we’re always looking at that.

However, we also see right now — and we just talked about it — that the momentum on Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite in the fourth year is strong. And we believe we’re changing the trajectory of another typical console life cycle. And we will continue, for the foreseeable future, to really lean into both of those platforms and the content that comes with it, because it’s the symbiotic relationship that makes the real difference. And it’s why Nintendo Switch is so differentiated.

First, the hardware form factor, obviously, is something — that you have a gaming system that you can play at home as a console, and you can take on the go and play in handheld mode virtually anywhere — is unique and remains unique within the industry. But then the way we build games onto the platform, and the way partners build games onto the platform, is really what matters and the experience that you have when you play. So that’s what we’ll continue to lean into as we go into really what will be the fifth year of Nintendo Switch. And as Mr. [Shuntaro] Furukawa [president of Nintendo] mentioned in his corporate management policy briefing, we believe we’re just at the midpoint of this life cycle on this platform.

So I guess that that goes back to my question, which is to say, because of the success of the Switch and the Switch Lite, does that buy you time with hardware that, if it wasn’t doing as well, you would need to refresh sooner?

It allows us to to manage the life cycle differently, I would say. I think that’s the easiest way to put it. Right now, with the momentum that we have, our focus will be on the existing form factors.

Check the link for much more.
 

Coolwhhip

Member
Aug 26, 2019
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Mooooooooooooommmeeeeennnnnnnnntuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

 
Last edited:

Woopah

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Jun 15, 2019
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I admire the interviewer for asking those questions but many of them are things a corporate President would never answer (especially one as removed from decision-making as Doug).

It was good of them to attempt asking them though.
 

DadEggs

Member
May 26, 2011
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useless interview drivel

Switch pro has always been happening. Its called the next gen nintendo console.
 
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Petaya Berry

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Jun 21, 2017
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I hate this PR talking (it applies for all companys) always introducing names of games like hidden advertising.
I mean, Nintendo of América is just a PR branch. They don't have any word in games since Arakawa.

Doug Bowser don't know a thing about joycon drift, development... heck. He doesn't have any voice in Retro Studios too.
 
Jan 19, 2006
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" Obviously, rumors of a “Switch Pro” have basically been floating around for years at this point. You know, for a while it was alongside the Switch Lite, and then that didn’t end up happening. These days, hardware strength is all the rage. Nintendo has never been one to push hardware, but obviously, at this point, a 720p handheld screen is getting a little bit creakier. How does that match with Nintendo’s long-held strategy of updating the hardware after, let’s say, three or four years? "

Video game journalism has really declined over this past decade.
 
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Calverz

Member
Apr 27, 2014
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Most people i know who bought a switch now let it gather dust because they are either
A) casual gamer who bought one on a whim to play mario kart and have had their fill
OR
B) hardcore gamer who would rather play games on a competing console or pc without potato graphics.
Nintendo need to come through with new titles. Not rehashes of wii u games.
But as long as the money keeps flowing they wont bother.
 
Last edited:

UnNamed

18+ Member, acts like 12 year old console warrior
Dec 21, 2006
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Somewhere in Bananaland
" Obviously, rumors of a “Switch Pro” have basically been floating around for years at this point. You know, for a while it was alongside the Switch Lite, and then that didn’t end up happening. These days, hardware strength is all the rage. Nintendo has never been one to push hardware, but obviously, at this point, a 720p handheld screen is getting a little bit creakier. How does that match with Nintendo’s long-held strategy of updating the hardware after, let’s say, three or four years? "

Video game journalism has really declined over this past decade.
Video game journalism was always a joke.
 
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UnNamed

18+ Member, acts like 12 year old console warrior
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I wanted to talk a little bit about I know it’s kind of a four-letter word but Joy-Con drift. Obviously, Nintendo has a long reputation of really strong hardware, but this is something that has not gone away. I know you offer free repairs for people; they can mail in their Joy-Cons. It kind of feels like this continues to be, like, a Band-Aid that’s being put over it. And I wanted to know, long term, are there hardware designs planned to address this so that when people buy a new Switch, they’re not necessarily worrying, “Hey, I’m going to need to send in my Joy-Con every six months or so”?

First and foremost, we want every consumer to have a great experience with their Nintendo Switch and with the games they play on Nintendo Switch. That’s of utmost importance to us. Our mission is to put smiles on faces. And we want to make sure that happens. If consumers have any issue with our hardware and/or software, we want them to contact us, when we will work through the proper solution to get them up and running as fast as possible.

Specific to the Joy-Cons themselves, we’ve been working very closely with consumers if and when they might have issues, whether it’s a replacement or repair. And then, what I will say, as we look at our repair cycles, we’re always looking at what is being sent in and for what reasons, and understanding that better. And without going into any details, it always gives us an opportunity to make improvements as we go forward.

How I hate this type of comments:
How do you fix problems?
Oh, we love our customers, we want the better experience for them!
We don't ask you if you love us, we ask you when you'll fix that goddam problem, idiot!
 
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16levels

Neo Member
Dec 10, 2020
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I think the message was clear.

Switch is doing very well and they are gonna milk it as long as they can. There is no rush to update hardware.

I mean, it was clear as day. Not sure what you all are crying for.
 

ultrazilla

Member
Sep 17, 2011
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www.scifijapan.com

As a way to close out the year, we sat down with Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser to discuss the highs and lows of 2020 for the company and what 2021 might bring, from the possibility of a Switch Pro to the long-awaited Breath of the Wild sequel.

Is Nintendo holding back games for a Switch Pro?

We talked a little bit about it earlier, regarding the lineup and how the lineup sort of shifted throughout the year because of COVID. And I think it manifested in a few ways. I would not by any means call Nintendo’s lineup in the holiday season a light lineup. But again, just putting it against 2019, for example, with Link’s Awakening and Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Pokémon ... it’s obviously kind of a different beast, versus this year, which, you know, we have Pikmin 3, great game; Hyrule Warriors [Age of Calamity], great game; Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, also really good. But you don’t necessarily have the big new internally developed game. And I understand that delays happen, especially because of COVID.

But I also know that there have been some discussions that Nintendo may be trying to hold back certain titles for potentially some hardware changes in the future. I wanted to know if that’s something that you guys are looking at, strategizing around, to make sure that, “Hey, if we were to update the hardware in some way, we would have, like, a strong enough lineup to do that.”


Russ, the way I’d answer that is, as we look at the fourth year of Nintendo Switch, we continue to see very, very strong momentum. We see the platform appealing to a wide range of consumers. This year, in particular, we’ve seen more women gamers come into Nintendo Switch platforms, women that had not owned a Nintendo Switch platform in the past, and they’re engaging in our content in new and different ways.

We’ve been able to introduce not only games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but from our partners, games like like Hades or Minecraft Dungeons, or Ori and the Will of the Wisps. We have a number of different ways that players are coming in and engaging the content, and it’s not all AAA content.

But former AAA content is doing incredibly well, too. Some of the top titles that are still bought after someone buys a Nintendo Switch today are titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey. So that back catalog is still fresh and new for any new purchaser of a Nintendo Switch. And that plays into how we market and talk with our consumers.

So with a catalog of over 4,000 games available and Nintendo Switch selling very, very well — I think you saw the NPD numbers from October, where we sold 735,000 units, up 136% year over year — November is going to be an equally strong month for us. I can’t reveal the data because NPD will be talking about it this afternoon. But I think you’re going to see an equally strong month from Nintendo in the month of November, with a very strong both Thanksgiving and Black Friday week and Cyber Monday week. [Ed note: Nintendo sold more than 1.35 million Switch units in the U.S. in November, retaining its top spot for a 24th consecutive month.]

And where that points me is, we will be releasing content, as I mentioned earlier, on a regular cadence year-round. And there’s a lot more to come, obviously, as you think about our IP, and we’ll release it when it’s right and when it’s ready and when we’ve got great gameplay experiences. But in the meantime, we continue to lean into what I think is still a very strong lineup for this holiday and a very strong catalog.

Obviously, rumors of a “Switch Pro” have basically been floating around for years at this point. You know, for a while it was alongside the Switch Lite, and then that didn’t end up happening. These days, hardware strength is all the rage. Nintendo has never been one to push hardware, but obviously, at this point, a 720p handheld screen is getting a little bit creakier. How does that match with Nintendo’s long-held strategy of updating the hardware after, let’s say, three or four years?

Yeah. A couple of thoughts there. There were a few questions in there. Let me just break it down. First, we’re always looking at technology. And as we know, technology is constantly evolving and changing. And we’re always looking at what is coming to determine: How can it enhance and improve the gameplay experience? And whether that’s on a current platform, or whether that’s on a future platform, we’re always looking at that.

However, we also see right now — and we just talked about it — that the momentum on Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite in the fourth year is strong. And we believe we’re changing the trajectory of another typical console life cycle. And we will continue, for the foreseeable future, to really lean into both of those platforms and the content that comes with it, because it’s the symbiotic relationship that makes the real difference. And it’s why Nintendo Switch is so differentiated.

First, the hardware form factor, obviously, is something — that you have a gaming system that you can play at home as a console, and you can take on the go and play in handheld mode virtually anywhere — is unique and remains unique within the industry. But then the way we build games onto the platform, and the way partners build games onto the platform, is really what matters and the experience that you have when you play. So that’s what we’ll continue to lean into as we go into really what will be the fifth year of Nintendo Switch. And as Mr. [Shuntaro] Furukawa [president of Nintendo] mentioned in his corporate management policy briefing, we believe we’re just at the midpoint of this life cycle on this platform.

So I guess that that goes back to my question, which is to say, because of the success of the Switch and the Switch Lite, does that buy you time with hardware that, if it wasn’t doing as well, you would need to refresh sooner?

It allows us to to manage the life cycle differently, I would say. I think that’s the easiest way to put it. Right now, with the momentum that we have, our focus will be on the existing form factors.

Check the link for much more.

All dat P.R. talk................

 
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N1tr0sOx1d3

Given another chance
Nov 28, 2014
919
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Are Nintendo still repairing Joy Cons for free? My family have 3 switch consoles and each one of them has drift issues.
Disgraceful really.......
 

BigBooper

Member
Feb 28, 2018
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Imagine if these executives really cared about what they were saying and were enthusiastic about their products beyond how many they sold.
 
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Sub Boss

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Mar 6, 2013
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Last thing i want from a Switch Pro is a fancy new screen, 720p handheld is fine, main issues are the amount of sub native resolution games and low framerates. Many games don't even take advantage of the screen the system already has becuse they are struggling with rendering the graphics
 
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gamer82

Member
Aug 26, 2020
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It will happen or it won't they are not going to say anything that will hault sales of the other consoles.

Just think the money if someone buys a switch then a month later ends up buying switch pro win win.
 

gamer82

Member
Aug 26, 2020
132
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Most people i know who bought a switch now let it gather dust because they are either
A) casual gamer who bought one on a whim to play mario kart and have had their fill
OR
B) hardcore gamer who would rather play games on a competing console or pc without potato graphics.
Nintendo need to come through with new titles. Not rehashes of wii u games.
But as long as the money keeps flowing they wont bother.
Exactly mines has been collecting dust for while i still have my launch day console no drift here .

i had my fill with mario games for a while nothing else really interests me currently on switch which is abit of a letdown . I will pick up 3d for bowsers fury.

Would love more donkey kong or other Nintendo franchises.


An updated duck hunt game x dr mario

Ive never really gotten in metroid i expect it will look great , so glad thats coming but still away off.
 
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Woopah

Member
Jun 15, 2019
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Exactly mines has been collecting dust for while i still have my launch day console no drift here .

i had my fill with mario games for a while nothing else really interests me currently on switch which is abit of a letdown . I will pick up 3d for bowsers fury.

Would love more donkey kong or other Nintendo franchises.


An updated duck hunt game x dr mario

Ive never really gotten in metroid i expect it will look great , so glad thats coming but still away off.
A Donkey Kong game from the Mario Oddysey team could be coming this year.
 

jason10mm

Member
Feb 3, 2009
2,448
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How to not answer a question with 600 words. How does ‘are you holding games back for a Switch Pro?’ get an answer talking about the increase in women playing on the OG Switch? Lmao
I'm very curious just how women are engaging with the switch in "new and different ways". Are they playing games we aren't? Using the switch as a make-up mirror or some such nonsense?
 

#Phonepunk#

Banned
Sep 4, 2018
18,541
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there really is no need for them to do so. it's not like PS5/XBSX are swimming in brand new next gen games. even the last gen consoles are suffering for games right now.

Nintendo meanwhile is selling the evergreens and slowly amassing a giant sales base on the og and Lite Switches. no need to rush anything. if the industry/world bounces back this year, then no doubt they have some aces up their sleeves.

i know people are tired of the COVID "excuse" but it really threw a wrench into so many releases last year. and we are still in the middle of it.
 
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Hudo

Member
Jul 26, 2018
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I feel like interviewing management personnel is almost always a huge waste of time unless you can get the CEO.