Nintendo Switch Development Road Bumps And Prototype Ideas

Nintendo Switch Development Road Bumps And Prototype Ideas

Previously we covered a bit on Toyo Keizai Online interview with Shinya Takahashi and Yoshiaki Koizumi on Satoru Iwata’s contribution to the Nintendo Switch, as well as, the Nintendo Switch’s ideation back in 2012. Thanks to Kite Stenbuck via Japanese Nintendo, we got to delve deeper into Nintendo Switch’s development.

As with every development, not everything was rosy at every point of time. The Switch team really struggled between making the Nintendo Switch a high spec device for high requirement games and making the Switch portable, cool, and light. It was a hard balance to meet.

In which parts of the development did you have hardships at?

Koizumi: In any rate it was the battle against “balance.” Coming from a game software developer, there is a strong demand to make it a hardware with simply high specs by employing good memory and GPU. Personally, as I am also a software developer, I do have the desire to do that.

On the other hand, we also had to make it light and small so that it can be carried outside, and also with a cool design. We need to consider the price and life time of batteries as well. Furthermore, there is a deadline in the development period, and development resources in our company are also limited. The most difficult part was on how to take an overall balance while we were getting entangled with all of those in complexity.

The two were also asked on the Switch prototypes. One of the interesting things that were brought up was how the controller was going to connect with the main console, like at one point the team used magnets to keep the console and Joy-cons together.

How far did you make the prototype?

Koizumi: I don’t remember that. It’d be hectic if we were to give numbers to prototypes so we didn’t count them (laughs).

Takahashi: From what I’ve actually seen, there were around 5 of them.

Koizumi: We tested a number of variations for just the method of attaching the Joy-Con to the console. Ultimately we settled with the method of sliding them into the rails on the console, but at the prototyping phases we tried a lot of methods like sticking them with magnets and putting them on dish-shaped parts.

Overall, it was a good read to understand some of the difficulties the team faced when making such a sophisticated device that arugably took the world by storm this year.