After a launch year “aimed at Nintendo fans and avid game players,” Nintendo is planning to target less-traditional game players in the Switch’s second fiscal year. That’s according to outgoing Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima, who spoke about widening the system’s appeal in a recent investor Q&A.
“In this second year, the initiatives we are planning come from our recognition that we also have to challenge ourselves to delivering Nintendo Switch into the hands of consumers who have never played a Nintendo platform before, and to those [who] have played before, but not recently,” Kimishima said. Those “initiatives” include a software lineup “meant to attract people including those who have not been playing video games recently,” he continued.
If that kind of phrasing sounds familiar, it’s because Nintendo used similar language in describing the “Blue Ocean” strategy behind the Wii over a decade ago. The strategy that brought us games like Wii Sports and Wii Fit was one “which aimed to bring in lapsed gamers and to capture non-gamers,” according to previous Nintendo Q&As. It was reflected in everything from the Wii’s marketing and software to its reduced price point and simplified controller.
The Wii, of course, went on to become Nintendo’s bestselling piece of TV-based hardware, selling over 100 million units worldwide. In the Q&A, Kimishima said attracting a similar broad base of customers will be key to increasing Switch sales to meet the company’s ambitious projections of 20 million units for this fiscal year.
But over its lifetime, the Wii also developed something of a reputation for cheaply produced shovelware and badly designed motion-control waggle-fests. Combined with underpowered hardware that couldn’t match the HD graphics of the competition, many of those “avid game players” that Nintendo says were the Switch’s focus so far abandoned the Wii (and later, the Wii U) for consoles from Sony and Microsoft.
Recent releases like Nintendo Labo (and launch games like 1-2-Switch) could show what a more “casual” software focus for the Switch could look like. But Nintendo also seems to be trying hard not to alienate its long-time fans, thus far. After a launch year that hosted a rare duet of major Mario and Zelda releases, Nintendo has already announced upcoming Smash Bros., Pokemon, and Metroid Prime games for Switch to keep the fanboys happy, not to mention Bayonetta, Yoshi, and Fire Emblem sequels.
In fact, looking at Nintendo’s announced first-party software plans for the Switch, it’s hard to see much sign of Kimishima’s claims of software aimed at “those who have not been playing video games recently.” Given that, we’re curious about the announcements Nintendo has in store for next month’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. Is it time for another Wii Sports sequel? Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick wants to know!
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