Pokemon CEO Didn’t Believe the Switch Would Succeed

The boss of the Pokemon Company though the Switch would struggle in the smartphone era.

If you feel a secret shame for being one of the many people who thought the Nintendo Switch wasn’t going to be a hit, take comfort in the fact that many industry insiders wholeheartedly agree with you. 

In fact, some of the Switch’s biggest doubters also rank among Nintendo’s greatest contributors. 

“I told Nintendo that Switch wouldn’t be a success before it went on sale because I thought that in the age of the smartphone, no one would carry out a game console,” said Pokemon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara during an interview with Bloomberg. “It’s obvious I was wrong.”

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Many of us had the same reservations regarding the Nintendo Switch. What few recognized at the time of the Switch’s reveal, however, was just how desirable a truly portable home console is. Ishihara arrived at a similar conclusion once he actually started to work with the Switch. 

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“Unlike smartphones, the Switch is not a game device that assumes that there’s constant network connectivity,” said Ishihara. “So from our perspective, it’s really not that different from DS or 3DS in terms of connectivity.”

Ishihara also commented that the Switch helped him realize that “software with absolute quality leads sales of hardware.” At the same time, Ishihara noted that the Switch may need “one more step to attract a wider audience.” So far as that goes, Ishihara already has some ideas regarding how Pokemon for the Switch may live up to the considerable hype that surrounds the project. 

“With the Switch, we see it as a chance to create Pokémon that goes deeper and with a higher level of expression,” he said. “As a result, that makes it an extremely important platform.”

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