As the gaming industry finds its footing with the ninth generation of consoles, the lingering question in the minds of many fans is how Nintendo will follow up the success of its Switch hybrid console. Former Nintendo of America executive Reggie Fils-Aime believes that following up on the console’s success will be no small task for Nintendo.
Despite stepping down as the president of Nintendo of America in 2019, Reggie Fils-Aime still keeps an eye on the gaming industry and chimes in from time to time with insight and analysis about where the industry is heading. Fils-Aime makes regular appearances at Geoff Keighley’s Game Awards and just recently authored a memoir about his time at Nintendo titled Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo.
In promotion of his new book, Fils-Aime was interviewed at CNET, where he offered his insight about the future of Nintendo and looked back at the history of console successors to predict the company’s upcoming challenges. Fils-Aime’s argument states that, on the whole, major console manufacturers regularly struggle to find success for their new platforms after already having a popular console on the market. The former executive cites Sony’s transition from the PS1 to the PS2 and Nintendo’s transition from the Game Boy to the Nintendo DS as the only instances where these companies managed to find renewed success. Fans can find his full quote below.
“Going from a highly successful platform to the next highly successful platform… you can make the argument that it’s only been done a handful of times in the video game industry. Sony, from the original PlayStation to PlayStation 2, clearly went from strength to strength. Nintendo, from the Game Boy family of systems to the Nintendo DS. It hasn’t been done since, as I look at the industry. For Nintendo to go successfully from the Switch to whatever comes next is going to be a significant challenge that they’ve already said they’re thinking deeply about.”
Fils-Aime’s analysis could come as a shock, but it isn’t far from the truth. Looking back at Microsoft’s jump from the wildly successful Xbox 360 to the ill-received Xbox One paints a similar picture. Not to mention Nintendo’s Wii U, which failed to capitalize on the success of the Wii and lived a short life as a result. With the Nintendo Switch as popular as ever, Nintendo could, in fact, face a challenge in getting players to adopt a new console if industry trends continue to ring true.
How Nintendo decides to tackle the ninth generation of consoles and what shape the Switch could take in the future remains unknown. The company believes that the Switch is still in the middle of its life cycle, and its recent console refreshes and growing catalog of games accentuate that fact. However, market competitors like the Steam Deck and a rising number of fans displeased with the Switch’s power relative to new consoles could indicate that the company is likely looking toward the future.