EA Worldwide Studios executive VP was initially "puzzled" after seeing Switch, says "it's a pretty special machine" - Nintendo Everything

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EA Worldwide Studios executive VP was initially “puzzled” after seeing Switch, says “it’s a pretty special machine”

Posted on August 16, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Switch

In the latest issue of EDGE, EA Worldwide Studios executive vice president Patrick Söderlund spoke about the possibility of the company further supporting Switch. The same interview also had some talk about Söderlund and Switch on a more personal level.

EDGE asked Söderlund if Switch has blindsided the games industry, in particular due to how Wii U performed. His response was “a little”, before adding that he was “puzzled” by the system when he first saw it. Söderlund admitted though that Nintendo probably understood something he didn’t, and now feels that it’s “a pretty special machine”.

Söderlund said:

“It’s doing really well, which I love. But I’ll be honest, when they first showed it to me years ago, I didn’t get the concept, I was puzzled by it. But then I was like, it’s Nintendo. They probably understand something that I don’t [laughs]. They usually do.

“I have a four-year old son and it’s like it’s connected to him. He will use it as a portable machine, he will plug it into the TV, but more importantly, he uses it like, ‘Do you want to play with me?’ Then he takes off the Joy-Con and we play Mario Kart together. He’s using it as intended, which just tells me that it’s working right.

“I think it’s a pretty special machine because it’s not just more of the same. I looked at it and thought, why would you play on that instead of this? But now it’s crystal clear to me why. That’s the Switch.”

Source, Via

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  • ben

    A lot of western publishers don’t get how people play games.

    • Rodrigo Coelho Costa Junior

      this

    • Roto Prime

      this!!!!!!!

      • red dog

        This!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Roto Prime

          THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Exy

      I’m still holding out for a publisher that ports games for the microwave I prefer.

    • Best comment so far

  • Busterblade

    I really don’t get developer’s confusions. Play it at home, or on the go, all it needs is great games to emphasize that, nothing more, nothing less.

    • Rodrigo Coelho Costa Junior

      old people…

    • Exy

      Those demographics aren’t equal. We still don’t have hard data on how many Switch owners prefer handheld, docked, or either, and that would be very helpful in making certain development decisions to make the most of the modes that would get played the most.

      • Eduardo Soares

        Exactly. I play more portable than I thought I would. I always was more of a home console gamer mostly because of higher quality(graphic quality) of those consoles over handhelds, but with switch high quality on the go why not play more on portable mode? Switch did change my way of play.

      • Busterblade

        That would be antithesis, since it would cause favouritism of handheld over home-console, which would ruin the Switch as a concept. If Game Freak, for example, make Pokemon for Switch handheld only, then that Fs with the entire system and it’s message.

        As far as I know, most people use both modes, equally.

        • Dayph

          Agree. Portability is a excuse to make cheap games.

      • Velen (Not WoW)

        Like Buster said, favoring one mode or the other would be suicide for the Switch’s concept. It’s meant to be both a handheld and a home console in one machine. This isn’t rocket science.

        • Reggie

          And yet that may inevitably happen. One of the 3DS’s main “selling points” was the 3D. Overtime, games stopped utilizing it altogether. It was a feature that no longer mattered and was barely advertised. Then it became a DS 2 (or a DS 3 if you count the DSi as the second).

          • Busterblade

            Again, it would be antithesis for the Switch’s message, and it’s entire core-concept. A separate Switch-like device that is purely handheld is one thing, but to use either mode of the device over the other, save for games like Voez and Severed, is another.

          • Reggie

            It’s still inevitably going to happen.

          • Busterblade

            Your proof for this?

          • Reggie

            “I don’t actually have proof since I can’t actually see into the future, I can only speculate. But I do still think it is likely”

          • Velen (Not WoW)

            First you say it may, then you say it’s inevitable.

            Sorry, Reggie, I’m with Fore on this one. Where’s your proof of that?

          • Reggie

            Okay you got me there with the words. =P

            I don’t actually have proof since I can’t actually see into the future, I can only speculate. But I do still think it is likely that overtime handheld and tabletop modes will be prioritized. The ability to play anywhere with anyone is a huge selling point for the Switch, much more than docked mode. Docked mode is really nothing more than an extra novelty.

          • Busterblade

            That depends on whome you ask. For many, it is AT LEAST equally important. For some, like myself, it is far more important. Both modes have merit, both modes are Switch, and both modes should be considered when making a game, excluding those that use a touch screen.

          • Reggie

            That’s just the thing. Different people will use the device differently depending on their circumstances. I for one play the Switch exclusively as a portable handheld, and I have my own reasons for that. And I’m sure that Japan, where people have limited space and where mobile gaming reigns king, it’s the same there.

          • Busterblade

            That doesn’t invalidate those who do use it home-console, nor those who use both modes equally. Again, they’re both Switch, both part of it’s identity, and both integral to it’s design.

            Let’s not divide this into a “home-console vs handheld camp”.

          • Reggie

            Whoever said I was invalidating you for using it as a home console? No, play it however you like. All I just said is that I speculate that gradually, overtime, certain features will get prioritized over others. Heck I’ve spoken with people who dislike the docked mode simply because they don’t like home console gaming.

          • Busterblade

            Your examples only speak in advantage to handheld, hence you’re already dividing it. If any mode takes priority over the others, they may as well dump the Switch entirely, and separate them into a dedicated home-console and handheld respectively.

            Hell knows, it avoids pointless arguments like this.

          • Reggie

            Shrug. Whatever then. I don’t think they’ll ever outright get rid of docked mode entirely, but it wouldn’t surprise me either if they lean toward one route. Have a good day.

          • Busterblade

            The same to you.

          • Velen (Not WoW)

            Even though it was literally shown that the whole point of the console in the reveal trailer was to take it on the go, then come back and dock it when done?

          • Reggie

            Yeah. Things change. If Nintendo finds that more and more people prefer the portable aspect, they’ll cater to that.

          • awng782

            Nintendo will not be making any touchscreen-only Switch games, that’s for sure…

          • Reggie

            I don’t expect them to do that. That’s not what I’m suggesting.

          • Busterblade

            I’ll stick to my thoughts that even if a lot of them use handheld a lot, they’ll also appreciate being able to dock, sit down, and enjoy their game on a big screen. That’s the power of Switch.

            Plus, one can’t put their pro-controller in the Switch by itself, and I have seen that it gets quite a few sales on it’s own, hence validating home-console.

          • Reggie

            I don’t appreciate it.

          • Dayph

            An only handheld Switch would be the worst thing that could happen to the console. It would only attract cheap, lazy or indie games (look at Vita). Games like Zelda Breath of the Wild would never be possible in a handheld, no matter it’s power. Developers (especially the western ones) don’t get, don’t understand, why someone can play on it (read this article) so they won’t spend time, effort, money on making a a huge game.

          • Reggie

            “Games like Zelda Breath of the Wild would never be possible in a handheld, no matter it’s power.”

            Lmao, I played Breath of the Wild from start to finish entirely on handheld mode without ever docking the Switch once, and enjoyed every second of it. Come up with a better argument.

          • Dayph

            You should read me again. Developers (specially western ones) don’t care for the halhends. No matter the power of the console, they would never make a huge massive game like Zelda Breath of the Wild for a portable system. That’s what I said. And that’s what some companies are implying, for example Game Freak, when they wanna know how the people use the Switch. If portable is the general tonic they will make the minimum effort in their Switch’s productions. Handheld users know a lot of examples of this disregard. We’d never see again a hard worked/built game like Resident Evil Revelations on 3DS or a Killzone Mercenary on Vita. So wanting a dedicated Switch handheld is to want its death. Come on! We already have smartphones for bad cheap games. Nintendo asks and has got, with Switch, the best option to recover respect for portable entertainment.

          • Reggie

            And? So what?

            It doesn’t matter if western devs don’t care or “get” handheld gaming. It has no effect on however people like to play games. If people prefer playing Switch as a handheld, they’re going to play it as one regardless of what.

            And please, comparing handheld Switch to the likes of mobile phone apps? Get real. BotW and Nintendo’s other games are not even in the same league as cheap mobile phone games. I cannot believe you are even comparing them. I guess you may as well say that Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, DS and 3DS are also mobile phones.

          • R.Z.

            What would be so bad about having cheaper/indie games on the Switch too though ?
            These games are what makes the success of all handheld consoles, especially the Nintendo ones since Sony tends to overpower their portable hardware.

            I really hope we will see these “cheap” games alongside bigger ones on Switch instead of mobile or whatever when the 3DS finally dies out.
            It’s like you’re wishing for a giant segment of the videogame industry (the most creative one i would add) to completely die out just because it isn’t up to the AAA standards.

          • Busterblade

            So, R.Z., you’d preferably see the Switch become primarily handheld and drop the docked part? (Judging by your upvotes)

          • R.Z.

            No, I want both modes to coexist, but I don’t want developers to feel like they necessarily need to make use of both.
            If some want to make Docked exclusive motion controlled games, I want them to do it and not feel like they absolutely need to limit themselves to controls that are also possible in handheld.
            If devs want to make touchscreen-only games, i don’t want them to choose another platform because you need to be able to play docked.

            And most importantly I want smaller devs/publishers to feel free to make/edit games with smaller production value comparable to that of 3DS games and not feel intimidated by the raw power of the console or feel like they can only charge an “indie price” (below 20€).

          • Busterblade

            The touch-screen only games have, and are, already happening. I’ve contacted Nintendo about that, and they say it’s up to the developers.

            But surely you can see what happens if a mode receives favouritism over another, or if a “definitively popular” mode becomes a thing in Switch? It’s something I’ve always feared considering it’s dual nature.

            Home-console specific games can still work in tabletop mode, and wouldn’t require the dock. The whole thing of docking should not be just a novelty though, as people appreciate coming home from work, and being able to play their games on a big screen, and vice versa (in that, those who primarily play home-console, would take it off sometimes when having to go somewhere, but dock it again as soon as they’re home)

            I hope Nintendo themselves realize this, and that they won’t let Game Freak focus on handheld as primary mode.

          • R.Z.

            At present I feel like the Switch is seen primarily as a home console, and I mean this in terms of production value of the games released on it (excluding indie games that are also on other home consoles and sold for cheaper) so I really think it could use some more portable-type content to establish it as a handheld too. I think Nintendo needs to be the one to make this move to really make it significant too.
            To me it would really achieve hybrid status if it can games can make both but also either one.

            The way I see it, having both types of games shouldn’t impact the production of either type of content on the platform, only broaden the offer.
            Of course I’m putting faith into third parties to not use that as an excuse to only ever publish the cheap games on the console.

          • Busterblade

            But it already has what you’re talking about, R.Z.! Voez, Severed, these are but 2 games, and they use the touch-screen, making handheld only a thing for those games.

            Nintendo should stick to using the Switch’s full capacity, as them going either way or the other would set a dangerous precedent. If ever one side becomes the dominant one, they may as well ditch the Switch and bring a dedicated handheld and home-console each.

          • R.Z.

            About your exemples, yes, and no. Voez I guess fits the bill though rhythm games are a very specific case, but Severed is only ever an indie game, and while it is glorious it doesn’t have the depth and content of even a decent medium sized handheld project.
            What if that kind of project had come from an established developer ? It could probably have been even better.

            About the precedent, I think it is actually important to set it, though I’m not sure I’ve been entirely clear because I have been mixing production value as well as play modes, and while the former is not that important to me the first I think is vital to ultimately get the current third party support that the 3DS is enjoying on Switch.
            And I believe it can only be achieved if you “free” the developers of a theoretical production value threshold derived from the processing power of the console.
            As an exemple to what I mean I’d take the production of Atlus in the recent years. They have managed to make only a couple of HD titles while they produced a really impressive number of handheld games.
            How many titles could they have put out if they concentrated on HD platforms ? Probably a lot less. And they are a company that has the luxury to “chose” what they do.
            If you think of all the smaller devs that regularly put out JRPGs on 3DS and don’t do much else, I’m not sure they will feel like they can continue their activity on Switch without blowing up their budget because it needs “HD titles”.

            Finally I really don’t see why one side would dominate the other, as long as as Nintendo keeps producing both (and so far they only do the home console type).

          • Busterblade

            That’s great and all, but I can’t see how that relates to the topic of “handheld vs TV mode” and handheld taking dominance over TV mode (due to popularity and games overall)

          • R.Z.

            Right, I was more interested in the production value argument that Dayph was having against a portable only Switch.

          • Busterblade

            Oh, fair enough. There’s a place for both of those types of games, but there also has to be a place for both types of use for the console.

            Sometimes, I wish the Switch was a power-box, as it would avoid a consumer base split due to favoured method of use, and games catering to said mode.

          • Tlink7

            There is a massive difference in importantance between ”portability” and ”3D”… you’re comparing apples and oranges. Plus, what would be the point of going soley portable or home console mode? Either offers literally no advantage (save for the touch screen in handheld mode). There wouldn’t magically be more power or more battery

    • Back in my time SEGA did the same similar thing and didn’t success.
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0bd87c579ae7c1adb67451396c4a5035c5abac850c97c7ff12ef1f19684de433.jpg

      • Busterblade

        Times change, and Nintendo isn’t Sega.

        Without home-console part, the Switch isn’t Switch, neither without the handheld part. Both these tried and true concepts make the machine, ignore either, and you’ve but a handheld/home-console with an extra load that makes sense to no-one.

        And as I’ve said to Reggie, if the Switch becomes handheld only, then what of the home-console Nintendo players? Will you send them to Sony yourself, Khan?

        • No doubt times change, and everyone know Nintendo isn’t SEGA. Again, I’m surprice Switch have this kind of success SEGA didn’t back then, wonder why? Nomad is very similar to Switch and back then SEGA had lot of support from third parties.

          • Busterblade

            Remember when Nintendo did the Virtual Boy back in the day to no success? And see what VR is doing now? Simply too early.

          • I remeber perfectly then, sadly Nomad didn’t have unimpressive 3D effect, lack of true portability, health concerns, and low quality games. Actually VR isn’t early where you get that fact? Or have the issues of VR? at least in my perception is to pricy, VR lack of consumer perception for the price.

          • Busterblade

            True, but it’s actually on the road now, and if it was a failure, then Sony and others who are into that business would’ve bailed already.

        • Well Switch is the simple upgrade from Wii U, hell I know people I meet in the past wished Wii U gamepad could be portable. I highly doubt Nintendo goes handle only, isn’t their thing. Why you bring Sony in this debate, ForeVision? I was just point out SEGA didn’t success in the past I was surprise Switch did it, as Switch owner I feel surprise.

          • Thesuffering

            Because the Nomad needed like 6 AA batteries for 2 hours of play time.

          • Well for that time was good! I dont remember GameBoy was better then, pretty much I think every handle console at that time had short baterry life.

          • Thesuffering

            The original gameboy is said to have an average battery life of 15 hours on 4 AA batteries.

          • Absolutelyright my bad but actually Gameboy lasted 10 hours on Alkaline batteries, yet pretty good better than Nomad in that one.

          • Sega wasn’t real successful in the handheld realm whereas Nintendo as always had a stranglehold on the portable gaming market. The Game Gear didn’t sell that particularly well and the Sega Nomad wasn’t as revolutionary as the Switch is

          • Well that I can agree with you SEGA wasn’t succesfull even with third party support, that will be the cause SEGA didn’t make it, like you said SEGA wasn’t successful to any handle device.

            The concept revolutionary depend of times, sadly I can’t agree on that one. If you back then October 1995 I wonder how many home-handle console we had? If we look 20 years in the future Switch will be an obsolete tech standards. I respect your opinion but not agree on this one.

  • Rodrigo Coelho Costa Junior

    A lot of western publishers don’t get WHY people play games.

    • AJK

      This. So many western companies these days barely add any actual gameplay into their games, instead making barely interactive, badly written films and calling them videogames.

      • FutureFox

        YES!

      • Justin McQuillen

        agree

    • FutureFox

      So much…

  • monkeyrun

    It’s EA, so they are most likely working on porting Plants VS Zombie to Switch. Then in a year complaint about Nintendo fans not buying 3rd party games.

    • Jaxon Holden

      The only way they’d complain fans don’t buy 3rd party games is if fans actually aren’t buying 3rd party games. In the Wii U era that was definitely the case.

      But this is a new era and a new audience who actually buys games. If PvZ2 came to Switch it would likely exceed sales expectations, like Disgaea 5 and Lego City Undercover and USFII and most other 3rd party Switch games.

  • Blanco8x8

    “They probably understand something that I don’t.”

    Third parties in a nutshell.

  • Tlink7

    It is a portable home console/handheld you can plug into a television… what is not to get o.o

    • hi-chan!

      Exactly, even a 8 year old can understand the concept

  • metalpants

    When you’re a major game publisher, but your four-year-old understands gaming hardware better than you

  • FutureFox

    When the only reason to have a son is to serve as a marketing experiment.

  • Garcessist

    As a 33 year old gamer dad who spends a lot of time with this wife and son. There is very little time to be able to sit down in front of a TV or computer desk and dedicate an hour+ to gaming. Being able to pull out my Switch while my wife and I are on the couch watching TV or while I am next to my napping son. I get in significantly more game time now than I did before. I just wish more developers realized that this is a significantly better way to play games for many people and brought over more titles.

    • masterjedi

      This is EXACTLY the appeal of the Switch to people like you and me. My wife hates watching me play video games on the big TV but the Switch’s ability for me to play without monopolizing the TV is such a big plus in my house. Nintendo really struck a chord with me with this device and I truly feel like it was born from the WiiU because it had off-TV play as well which was its most appealing factor for me.

  • awng782

    Söderlund probably saw the Switch and assumed it was just a portable Wii U, and since he probably didn’t understand the appeal of the Wii U, he thus didn’t understand the appeal of a portable Wii U either.

  • Busterblade

    I’d say this is an interesting graph, as it gives some insight in how people used the Switch, in light of the “handheld vs TV mode” discussion above: http://i.imgur.com/H8D6kQJ.png

    • FireThunder25

      Seriously, it makes me wonder how that guy could be “puzzled” over a hybrid console in the first place. Isn’t it’s purpose clear from the its introduction?

      • Busterblade

        I’d say Nintendo’s messaging was very clear this time, even if people have a tendency to see it as “handheld that can dock” the numbers above prove that both modes hold equal prominence.

  • TT

    Quotes are great and all but EA is about one thing and one thing only pleasing their investors, so don’t mix up what EA used to be and what they are now. Sega was way ahead of it’s time in hardware, and the only reason they folded their hardware (console) division wasn’t because they couldn’t make good games or good hardware it was because Sony and Microsoft spent Billions to destroy Sega…