Nintendo Had Doubts About the Wii and Switch

When it comes to launching new consoles and developing fresh tech, the Nintendo team isn't immune to doubt.

Nintendo: Yoshiaki Koizumi

Nintendo has really pushed the boundaries over the last decade or so, not just with regards to making great video games, but also by totally revamping the sort of technology that we play these games on. But this sort of industry-changing console development doesn’t come without risk, and now we’ve learned that there are “often doubts” from internal members of staff.

The Nintendo Wii provides one example of Nintendo forging its own path: this home console chose to ignore the push for HD graphics that other manufacturers were working towards at the time, instead opting to put its emphasis on interactivity and motion controls. The launch of the Nintendo Switch was an equally game-changing moment, with Nintendo creating a household/handheld hybrid while everyone else was thinking about game streaming and their next-gen consoles.

Now, Nintendo’s Shinya Takahashi and Hisashi Nogami have been chatting to The Guardian about this tendency to go against the curve, with Takahashi offering this interesting insight: “Even among our developers there are often doubts! When the Wii remote was first introduced as a concept, the reaction was: what is that? Is it real? Will it actually work? But once we’d all tried it, we were surprised and delighted by it, and that made us realize that it was going to work out.”

“With the Nintendo Switch, we all knew the concept,” he added, “but when we picked up the prototype for the first time and saw Mario Kart running perfectly on the smaller screen, we were flabbergasted. Even people who are well aware of the concept and design can’t always tell if something’s going to work.”

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Nogami added that actually creating the thing is often a lot better than trying to explain the idea: “It’s not good enough to put your idea into words; you have to give people a concrete example to show them how it works. It’s on us to create things that allow players to experience that ‘wow’ moment.”

There you have it, then. Even at one of the most revolutionary video games companies in the world, people question their ideas and doubt their projects, even when those projects and ideas have a tendency to evolve into really special stuff. There’s something quite inspiring in that, isn’t there?