It’s been a weird decade for Nintendo. After the massive success of the Wii and DS, the Japanese giant saw themselves crouched in a defensive position, admitting they overcharged for the Nintendo 3DS and having to cut the price dramatically. The Wii U shook confidence both in and within the company, becoming one of Nintendo’s biggest failures in their long history. Now the Switch is on fire, but Nintendo’s new president Shuntaro Furukawa isn’t quick to forget how the company’s fortunes were just recently tied to flagging consoles.
In an interview with Japanese newspaper Nikkei translated by NintendoEverything, Furukawa posited the idea home consoles are not the end-all, be-all for Nintendo anymore.
“We aren’t really fixated on our consoles,” Furukawa told Nikkei. “At the moment we’re offering the uniquely developed Nintendo Switch and its software – and that’s what we’re basing how we deliver the ‘Nintendo experience’ on. That being said, technology changes. We’ll continue to think flexibly about how to deliver that experience as time goes on.”
Furukawa went on to explain that Nintendo has always operated from the idea of what to do next and hasn’t ever committed to just any one thing beyond making creative works. “In the long-term, perhaps our focus as a business could shift away from home consoles – flexibility is just as important as ingenuity,” he says.
Unlike the late Satoru Iwata, Furukawa is more of a businessman with no real background in game development, which means that a lot of his statements come from the point of view of business and profit. That isn’t really a negative, it is actually quite really why he was chosen first non-interim president since Iwata. As the company moves to diversify its portfolio with things like the Universal Studios theme park, mobile development, and upcoming animated Mario movie, Furukawa seems to be thinking about what avenues the company hasn’t considered.
Does it mean Nintendo’s going to stop doing hardware anytime soon? With the Switch doing as well as it is, almost certainly not. Does it mean that in an age where hardware falls out of favor with the market, Nintendo will let it go? That seems to be what he’s indicating.