Nintendo has reason to celebrate. After much hype and anticipation, Nintendo launched its hybrid Switch console last week, which promptly surpassed the mighty Wii for the most sales of any Nintendo console during the first two days of retail availability. For the time being, Nintendo is vindicated in its decision to build another unique console, one that is built for gaming in the living room on a big screen TV and on the go. In an interview with The Washington Post, Nintendo of America president and CEO Reggie Fils-Aime talked about the Switch and how it compares to another popular mobile console, the 3DS.
In response to a question asking why a gamer would buy the Switch if they already own a 3DS, Fils-Aime explained that while it's still a fantastic handheld, the experience on the Switch is different, as are the games. Specifically, the Switch is the only place to play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a game that is garnering copious praise from review sites across the web.
"The 3DS is a fantastic machine with more than 1,000 games. Its key differentiator is the 3D immersive experience without need for glasses. But as good as that machine is, you can’t play a game like 'Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild' on it," Fils-Aime said. "The power required—not only the computing power, but the graphics required for that game are just not available on a Nintendo 3DS. That makes it a different type of experience. That is how I would separate out those two systems. Certainly we see consumers wanting and needing both of the platforms."
Fils-Aime also pointed to the Switch's hybrid nature as a reason why a 3DS owner might want to own both consoles. Unlike the 3DS, the Switch can be hooked up to a big screen TV like a traditional console. And if a gamer has to leave for whatever reason, they can take the Switch with them.
"The concept of never having to put a game down that you can play anywhere, anytime, as a gamer, is something you think about and want to have that experience," Fils-Aime added.
One of the criticisms surrounding the Switch is the lack of launch titles. Fils-Aime downplayed the issue, saying what's more important is the Switch's long-term success rather than what games are available on the first day of availability. We're not sure why Nintendo feels it can't have both—a strong launch lineup and a rich roadmap—but according to Fils-Aime, the games are coming.
"For the Nintendo Switch, we were very deliberate in wanting to make sure, from a Nintendo publish standpoint, that we had a steady cadence of great games in addition to strong titles at launch. My answer is to look at the games that have been announced and are in development, and that should drive your purchase decision," Fils-Aime explained.
The future indeed looks bright for the Switch, though its launch hasn't been without a few hiccups. Users have complained of connection issues related to the included Joy-Con controllers, and Nintendo caught some heat for a support document suggesting that dead or stuck pixels are normal for LCD panels and that users should ignore them on the Switch.
Nevertheless, the Switch is proving popular, which for Nintendo means that its gamble on a hybrid console is paying off.