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Reggie – Labo meeting expectations, Switch will have “very long” lifespan; third-parties, mobile, collaborations

Posted on June 15, 2018 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, Mobile, News, Switch

At E3 this week, Forbes caught up with Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime for a lengthy chat. The two sides spoke about Nintendo Labo, Switch’s lifespan, third-parties, mobile, and collaborations.

We have these excerpts from the interview below. You can read the full discussion here.

On whether Labo has met Nintendo’s expectations and any expansion plans…

So it’s absolutely met our expectations, and to put this in perspective, we see Nintendo Labo as a title and a platform that will sell for extended periods of time, much like we experienced with Brain Age on the DS or Wii Fit on the original Wii. And so for us, what we need to make sure we do is continue to drive engagement with parents and their kids. There’s a lot of activity happening this summer as parents are looking for experiences for their kids while they’re out of school. Here in the Americas, we have activity going on in the fall in the educational market, showing how Labo can be used for an entry into coding, as well as the maker community and the creation of the Labo toy-cons themselves. And so it is going to be a key product for us, and something that we’re going to continue to support, not only through the balance of this year, but well into the future.

On third-party games for Switch…

Our ultimate goal is for the very best of the third-party content to be on Nintendo Switch and to be on date with the other platforms, absolutely that’s our goal. The way we’re making that happen is first, the developers need to see that Nintendo Switch is a vibrant platform, and we’re delivering on that. The fact that the Nintendo Switch was the best-selling console in U.S. history in its first 12 months really highlights the momentum that we have.

The second thing that developers need is they need a strong development environment, whether it’s for their own development engines, like Frostbite for EA, or for those developers that are using development tools like Unity or Unreal engine. And those are all supported by Nintendo Switch.

And then thirdly, these developers need to see a vibrant and engaged player base. And we’re delivering on that as well. There have been so many independent developers saying that of all of the platforms they’ve released content for, that their content is selling best on Nintendo Switch. And that’s because we support these developers with marketing activity, participation in our own first-party initiatives, Nintendo Directs, our own curation activity that we do, both on the device and off the device with Nintendo dot com. And so that’s why we’re seeing all of this great content come to Nintendo Switch, and our focus is to continue making sure that we do get the best content available launching on the platform.

On whether Switch is in a weird place with rumors about the PlayStation 5 and next Xbox…

We’re talking about a platform that launched last March in the Nintendo Switch. And we’re just getting started. And so we want to continue driving the understanding of the platform, the desire for the platform, the support for the platform, and if we do that effectively, Nintendo Switch is going to have a very long, very effective lifespan, and that is our mission right now.

On mobile…

Fils-Aimé: Our mobile business is doing quite well, and the way we look at it is certainly, there’s a monetization aspect to the mobile business. As you touched on, Fire Emblem Heroes is monetizing exceptionally well. The other piece we look at, though, is the ability of mobile to drive consumers into our dedicated games business after they’ve had a first taste of a particular franchise in mobile. We saw that be quite effective with Pokémon Go. Our dedicated handheld business two summers ago after the launch of Pokémon Go was extremely strong, and consumers are gravitating toward the device to play those great Pokémon games that were available only for a Nintendo 2DS and 3DS. We believe we’ll see that similarly when we launch Fire Emblem: Three Houses next year, with all of the consumers that are experiencing Fire Emblem now and the ability to transition them to a dedicated games device. We think also with Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu!, Let’s Go Eevee!, the transition from the Pokémon players on mobile to playing a Pokémon experience on Nintendo Switch is going to be very powerful.

So the strategy’s working. We are continuing to experiment with a variety of different monetization schemes. And we believe that monetization needs to be tied to the gameplay mechanic itself. For Super Mario Run, we believed that the best monetization was one price for the entire content available. For other games, whether it’s Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp or Fire Emblem Heroes, we’re taking a different strategy. We’ve announced that Mario Kart Tour is in development and that will launch in our current fiscal year. We haven’t announced the specifics of the monetization scheme for that, but rest assured that monetization will be consistent with the gameplay that we offer.

On collaborations…

We’ve had a history of strong collaborations. We collaborated with Activision, for example, on Skylanders and toys-to-life, having some of our intellectual property be included in that game. We’ve partnered with a number of Japanese developers in the past. So we have a rich history with partnerships both inside our industry as well as outside our industry. In the end, though, it’s important that the partner we work with has a strong understanding of our business philosophy, that there’s a strong understanding of the intellectual property and how the intellectual property is used. And certainly as we look to relationships, for example, with Universal Studios, with our theme park initiative, or with Illumination with our motion picture initiative for Super Mario, you know these are things that we are always looking at. But we want to make sure we’re working with the best partners.

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