Nintendo talks Switch – origins / creation, going with one screen, name, online play, January event, much more
Takahashi: I was away on a business trip overseas these last two weeks, and forgot I left my Switch in sleep mode. But when I got back to the office, it still had some battery power left (laughs).
That’s amazing. Now, since there is no longer a community feature like Miiverse, do you have any plans to utilize SNS instead? The Miis are still there, after all.
Takahashi: People thought the Miis were gone, but they do still exist and are being used.
Koizumi: You now have choices other than just Miis to use for your avatar. Various games will require permanent user communities, but they’ll be taking on a different form this time.
Maybe they could connect to smart devices. You’re currently planning the details for the community features, correct?
Koizumi: That’s right.
There seem to be many aspects that make use of a smartphone, like the online service. It makes sense considering the current era, but why was there such an emphasis placed on them?
Takahashi: Everyone has a smartphone, after all, and they’re very convenient. So instead of fighting with them, we’ve chosen to make friends with them. We’ve also made Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes. For the Switch, we’re focusing on convenience with smartphone use. So we’re taking into consideration the ways in which they would be used to support games by examining whether existing applications are suitable, or whether we need to create something completely new.
I see. How much connectivity will there be with SNS like Twitter and Facebook?
Koizumi: Taking screenshots is a basic feature of the Switch, and you’ll be able to post them to Twitter and Facebook from launch. Since you can use unique hashtags when posting on those sites, I think sharing screenshots and thoughts are very well-suited to SNS. So we should befriend social media as well.
You’ve stated that the capture button will be able to record videos in future updates. How long can videos be recorded for, and how do you plan to let users make use of those videos?
Koizumi: You’ll have to wait a little longer for details on recording length and upload platforms. We’re currently examining the ways users can interact with the videos, so we’ll have more to say on it at another time.
I’m looking forward to that. Will there be features added in future updates that haven’t been announced at this time?
Takahashi: Of course there will be. We even have a roadmap, and will likely take user feedback into consideration. So it will be like we’ve done with past hardware.
Speaking of updates, I’m also interested in the expansion of Virtual Console…
Takahashi: There are many things we have yet to finalize, so I would like to say more on it once those are decided. Of course, we are taking various thing into account regarding it.
You also plan to start charging for the online service come fall. It’s only natural in this current age, but can you tell us again why you chose to charge for it, and what sort of services it will entail?
Takahashi: We decided to charge for the service because we are concerned with customer satisfaction. We’ll be maintaining the online service and providing new services that we haven’t had up until now, and there are costs associated with those. We’d also like to maintain a stable playing experience and provide proper support. We are working to prepare all of the features until the service begins in the fall of 2017, and details on the service will be available at a later time.
I thought that you might be planning to allow mobile game apps to be played on the Switch or connect to it in some way, considering the Switch’s CPU and the fact that you’re already developing applications for smart devices. Personally, I find it surprising that you have not.
Takahashi: We are still analyzing whether we will include connectivity to smart device apps. However, those applications were built for smart devices, so I don’t think they would be ported to the Switch. For example, Miyamoto really emphasized being able to play Super Mario Run with just one hand. That worked because it was built to be played on a smart device, but the Switch has controllers, so it should have games that are are appropriate for it.
By the way, there were some reports where president Kimishima (Tatsumi Kimishima, president of Nintendo) said that “we are considering including VR support”. Are you looking into VR at this time?
Takahashi: I think the statement about VR has been misinterpreted. It does not mean Switch would support VR. Naturally, we are always researching the latest technologies, which of course includes VR. If we are able to provide a VR experience in which both the player and the people around the player can enjoy, we will. That is what I believe he meant.
I see. So you’re saying Nintendo’s stance on it has not changed as of now.