As we wrote in our Nintendo 2018 year in review, the house of Mario is riding high on the explosive launch of the Switch and the stellar first- and third-party releases (and ports) which have kept it going. The Switch is handily Nintendo's most successful system since the Wii, but that doesn't necessarily mean the company is married to living room hardware. In a recent interview with Japanese site Nikkei (translated by NintendoEverything), Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said the company could, in time, "shift away from home consoles."
"We aren’t really fixated on our consoles," Furukawa said. "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.
"It has been over 30 years since we started developing consoles. Nintendo’s history goes back even farther than that, and through all the struggles that they faced the only thing that they thought about was what to make next. In the long-term, perhaps our focus as a business could shift away from home consoles - flexibility is just as important as ingenuity."
This sounds like a ballpark prediction which will only be realized much further down the road, so naturally Furukawa didn't specify where Nintendo's focus may shift to. However, with regards to solidifying the company's yearly performance, Furukawa said: "I'd like to increase the [number] of games on smartphones that have a continuous stream of revenue. We're also dabbling in theme parks and movies - different ways to have our characters be a part of everyday life."
A reactionary doomsayer might look at this and wonder if Nintendo is going to abandon its console legacy in favor of the mobile market, but even as a hypothesis, that's a massive stretch. As Furukawa said, Nintendo's success is built on consoles and handhelds. It's not just going to jump ship because Fire Emblem Heroes made a chunk of change (over $230 million in 2018 alone, according to Sensor Tower's analysts). I'm sure we'll see more mobile games from Nintendo, but if anything, Furukawa's comments make me wonder if the company will double down on the portable aspect of the Switch with future systems, in the hopes of rekindling its handheld empire now that the 3DS is winding down. In any case, Switch owners can rest assured that the console will be supported for years and years and years to come.
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