With the launch of Nintendo Switch just a few weeks away, the company is talking more about its vision for the hybrid console. In a new interview, Shinya Takahashi (the GM of Nintendo’s Entertainment Planning and Development division) and Yoshiaki Koizumi (EPD’s deputy GM) discussed the possibility of an upgraded model of Switch, potential accessories, and more.
Speaking with Time, Takahashi was asked about Switch’s life cycle and how it might compare to Nintendo’s consoles versus its handhelds. “Certainly, we’ve designed Nintendo Switch in a way that it can be used by consumers in the way that best suits them,” he said. “I think we may see that people who have bought a Nintendo home console in the past traditionally, they may treat Switch like a home console and buy it and use it for a long period of time.
“Whereas people who have been traditionally Nintendo handheld gamers, they may buy Nintendo Switch. And then, for example, if a new version were to come out later, maybe they would decide to upgrade to that. Or, for example, because you can take the Joy-Con off the system, then I guess that leaves open the possibility of something else that might get attached. There’s obviously a lot of different developments that we could look at from that perspective as well.”
As you’d expect, given it hasn’t even hit store shelves yet, Nintendo hasn’t spoken about the prospect of releasing a revamped Switch before. It’s not something the company has done much in the console space, whereas it’s been a key part of its handheld business (see: 3DS XL, DSi, DS Lite, et al).
This is hardly confirmation that such a thing will ever surface, and the possibilities for such a device are seemingly endless. Some have even speculated Nintendo will eventually release an even more portable-friendly of Switch.
His openness to Joy-Con replacements will come as exciting news to many, following Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima’s previous comments. Fans have already suggested the possibility of Joy-Con replacements, be it alternate color designs or functionally different ones (such as this).
Also of note were Koizumi’s comments on where Switch stands in relation 3DS. While he didn’t bring up the latter, he laid out a scenario which seemingly leaves little room for it.
“We’re hoping that Nintendo Switch will be a system that will be the constant in your gaming life,” adds Koizumi. “Whereas previously, you would play certain things on your home system and certain things on your handheld. Our hope is that Nintendo Switch can be the system that bridges both of those and becomes the constant system that you’re always using.”
“But my hope is that with Nintendo Switch being a system that you can play at home and bring with you, we’re going to be able to find more of those moments where we’re able to play the games that we all enjoy and be able to enjoy them that much more,” he added.
It’s an interesting proposition, as it conflicts with what Nintendo has said previously in insisting Switch won’t replace 3DS. Some have argued that’s merely an argument meant to avoid having interest drop off in 3DS, which has experienced something of a resurgence in the last year. Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, however, says Switch is a home console “at its heart,” which leaves 3DS as the more portable-centric device.
“3DS has a long life in front of it,” he said last month. “We’ve already announced games that will be launching in the first couple quarters of this year. There are a number of big games coming. And in our view, the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo Switch are going to live side-by-side. You’re going to be meeting different price points, you’re going to be meeting different types of consumers, you’re going to have the newest, freshest content available on Nintendo Switch, you’ve got a thousand-game library available on Nintendo 3DS, plus some key new ones coming. They’re going to co-exist just fine. We’ve done this before, managing two different systems.”
You can read Time’s full interview here. It also has an interesting interview with Takahashi discussing his rise in the company from someone who experimented with 3D graphics in the ’90s to one of its top executives today.