Switch development information

I’m still fascinated by the Switch and what it may be hiding. There’s a fantastic interview here you can read, talking with the two designers of it. For the most part it’s standard information you’d expect, but I find some of it worthy of note:

There was a move away from “Old Nintendo” (ie. Miyamoto) to the younger staff who are full of endless ideas but usually don’t have opportunities. That’s a very important thing to consider about Nintendo today. Pokemon Go, Mario Run, Breath of the Wild, and Mario Odyssey all feel more thoughtful than the awful Star Fox Zero created by Miyamoto. The old staff is being pushed aside to make way for the young (who are probably still in their 30’s and 40’s, but just young by comparison).

Nintendo wants to make sure there’s a “continuous line” of products to keep the Switch interesting to people, and even their announcements are being treated as events. This is different from companies like Microsoft and Sony, who race to announce everything under the Sun, even when those games will never be released (such as the Rockstar game Agent or the Xbox One exclusive Scalebound). This makes it harder to judge, but they say they want to surpass past consoles in terms of the number of games available, which is why they included compatibility with Unreal engine, etc.

Here they claim that the Switch is primarily as “home console at heart”, but I still think this is just being cute with the marketing. The fact that it functions perfectly as a home console makes it hard to dispute, though.

When discussing the name “Switch” for the system, they give the straightforward answer that it would mark a break away from old hardware, and make it easy to understand for people overseas. I wouldn’t expect them to say anything about being able to switch the pieces of the hardware out, but there is this interesting bit…

Time will tell whether this is the true legacy of the Switch.

Why the Wii U will be a great console

The Nintendo Wii U, codenamed “Project Cafe”, was officially unveiled at E3 just days ago. It’s already the subject of much debate and concern. I believe these concerns are stupid, and based on a few critical misconceptions.

The critic’s argument goes like this:

“The Wii was supposed to be revolutionary, but in the end it just sat on our shelves and collected dust! Only some of the first party titles developed by Nintendo were cool, and the rest were crappy. It was a huge disappointment, so therefore we should expect the same from the Wii U.

“The failure of the Kinect and Move motion controls, as well as the mediocrity of the Nintendo 3DS, also reinforce that Nintendo’s strategies are filled with bad ideas and they can’t be trusted to innovate.”

Nintendo Wii U console and controllerEven if I agreed that the Wii was a failure (which I don’t,) it’s a fallacy to argue that its failure translates into some kind of doom spell for the Wii U. In fact the only problem the Wii really had was the misunderstanding of what it was trying to do! And that was thanks to the ridiculous interpretation given by gaming sites and magazines.

For those of us who bothered to pay attention, we know that the Wii was trying to appeal to people who never normally played games. This is called the blue ocean strategy, in which a company targets new demographics instead of always trying to satisfy the same small group of devotees. This was a stroke of genius, even if it made them unpopular in the eys of the old fans. Millions of people who never paid attention to consoles were suddenly intrigued and willing to give videogames a try, so yes, the Wii was a success, not a failure.

However, the game industry (and other millions of gamers) felt betrayed, so they left the Wii out in the cold. The old paradigm was having trouble coping with the fact that Nintendo was returning to it’s family-oriented origins and shrugging off the imaginary “debt” that they owed to the 20-30 year old nerds who supposedly kept the industry afloat. “You can’t break up with me! I’m breaking up with YOU!” The Wii got a bad name for no good reason, and to this day I can’t talk to a fellow gamer without hearing about how the Wii was a “gimmicky failure”. They just can’t comprehend that Nintendo wasn’t trying to impress them, and that’s okay.

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