Maybe Nintendo had a foretelling about their Wii U consoles, or maybe Nintendo’s hard workers just wanted to get to work immediately after the launch of Wii U, but the idea of the Nintendo Switch went all the way back to 2012.
Speaking to Toyo Keizai Online (and translated by Kite Stenbuck), General Manager of Nintendo’s Entertainment Planning and Development Division, Shinya Takahashi, commented that the two early concepts for the Switch were formulated just after the Wii U was launched and was concretely set when the prototypes arrived in 2014.
Nintendo Switch’s General Producer, Yoshiaki Koizumi also added that they also wanted the Nintendo Switch to be an amalgamation of the pros of both smartphones and game consoles.
How did you decide on the concept of Switch?
Takahashi: Nintendo is always thinking about the next hardware. After the Wii U was released in 2012, we had already been debating about the concept for the next generation. We were set on 2 concepts that would become Switch’s prototype just before we entered 2014. Those two are: ① Leisurely use 2 detachable controllers called Joy-Con. ② While it’s [mainly considered as] a home console, it can also be carried outside.
Koizumi: What we’re conscious about is that the gaming population is getting polarized into two. In the recent years, we are in a situation where ‘People who want to play leisurely choose smartphone games, and people who play games deeply would play with PlayStation 4 and PC.’ The idea of combining the good points of smartphones and home consoles became the result of thinking a game that can be enjoyed by both audiences.