Pokemon CEO Thought That Nintendo Switch Would Be A Failure


The Nintendo Switch has been all the rage in the gaming console market ever since its launch. The console hit 1.5 million sales in Japan since its launch in March. However, the Pokemon franchisee, a long-time partner of Nintendo, was not very sure that the Switch would be a success.

Pokemon CEO: Switch’s success a lesson for me

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Pokemon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara confessed that he was doubtful about the success of the Switch, but now the supply scarcity says it all.

“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 around a game console,” Ishihara revealed during the interview.

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Further, the Pokemon CEO said the success of the Switch, contrary to what he believed, had been a learning experience for him. He stated that the key to a successful game is that “software with absolute quality leads sales of hardware,” and that playing style can be flexible if the software is attractive enough.

According to the Pokemon CEO, the Switch is popular with early adopters at present, but it needs to work more to attract a wider audience. Ishihara, who sees a lot of potential in the Switch, says one should not overestimate its potential. Ishihara, however, feels that the Switch is not very different from Nintendo’s traditional handhelds. Unlike a smartphone, the Switch does not need a permanent network connectivity, which makes it similar to other handhelds like the DS or 3DS in terms of connectivity.

Pokemon Company and the Switch

Ishihara thinks that the Switch is an essential platform for the company. Currently, The Pokemon Company is working on a Pocket Monster game for the console.

Niantic, The Pokemon Company and Nintendo have gained immensely from Pokemon Go, a smartphone game that encouraged people to wander around outside and look for virtual monsters. Ishihara believes that this is just the beginning.

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

Ishihara stated that at present, the Pokemon team is using a 7- to 8-inch screen, but on a high definition TV, it would be a whole new game with exclusive graphics and sounds. He also stated that the culture until now was to make a game that can be played by one player, but the landscape is changing and the Pokemon team is looking to tackle these opportunities.

Meanwhile, the Switch has beaten the PS4 to become the fastest console to reach 1.5 million in sales in Japan. The console took 26 weeks to hit that figure, while the PS4 took 69 weeks to reach the 1.5 million mark. We will find out whether or not the Switch continues to maintain this lead in October when the console makers disclose fresh sales numbers.