The Nintendo Switch was launched on March 3, 2017. Just as the console passes the four-year point, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa discusses the hardware and its lifespan in a new interview with Nikkei Business.
“For our company, it’s a big topic what we should do next when [a console] passes its fifth year and the hardware’s lifecycle is in the process of getting longer,” Furukawa explained. The exec added that great care is given to Switch owners who are continuing to use the console.
Nikkei Business did not ask the exec about the recent Switch redesign rumors, but the interview does shed light into how Nintendo develops new hardware and the company’s approach to innovation. The publication did point out that depending on how things are handled, the console’s lifespan can get even longer.
“That’s correct,” Furukawa replied. “Regarding the Switch’s lifespan, I often say that’s entered its middle phase or so.” He explained that because the Switch can be played as a traditional home console and as a portable, there are a lot of possible games. “We are able to lengthen the life cycle.”
Furukawa was asked about development timeframes for hardware, to which he replied, “We are always doing R&D.” According to Furukawa, the hardware and software dev teams are in the same building and are in close communication. Therefore, they are able to come up with new ideas and proposals. “Because you must do all sorts of various preparations to make one [new] console, the truth is that you cannot stop. Ultimately, the deciding factor as to whether or not something becomes an actual product is whether or not it creates a new experience.”
But even though the first few years of the Switch have been wildly successful, Furukawa isn’t complacent. “Currently, the Switch’s sales are exceedingly favorable and achievements are also good, but I have zero peace of mind,” he said. “Not matter the hits, in the entertainment business, people someday do lose interest. Up until now, we have repeatedly had the experience of our business taking a nosedive.”
“Because of this, I myself as well as those within the company do not at all think the current state of affairs will keep going and going.” For Furukawa, he believes that every single year is a “do or die situation.”
“You must give new customers fresh surprises, and our existence can slip into obscurity at any time. I always have this kind of sense of crisis.”