With the Switch, Nintendo made a bold decision to choose portability over power. It has certainly been a controversial move — especially when considering the focus that Playstation and Microsoft are giving to 4K gaming. However in a recent interview with Gamasutra the Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, offered complimentary remarks regarding the Switch and Nintendo’s vision for gaming.
Spencer feels that the company has a great track record for innovation and success. In the interview he cites both the “second screen with Wii U” and the “motion gaming in the room” of the wildly successful Wii. Spencer stated he was impressed with Nintendo’s ethos to innovate and thought the concepts were really interesting. He also believes that Nintendo has done the same with the Switch by “picking mobile”, which he claimed was a “cool thing” to do. The Switch has been incredibly successful since its release and perhaps the portability is one of the main factors of its high sales.
“Having innovation that really brings third parties along is critical”
Spencer goes on to state the importance of third-party partners to Microsoft, and how it can sometimes take longer for Nintendo to get the support from those same developers. He thinks that this is because “Nintendo creates things that are less like other things”, forcing developers to either redesign or reformat their game for Nintendo consoles. Spencer believes that Nintendo’s vision is “a fantastic part of the industry” and an important part, too. Fortunately third-party support for the Switch has been a big, largely positive topic of discussion for many developers, with Ubisoft and Square-Enix considering support.
Nintendo and Microsoft have very different approaches to gaming, which are reflected in their consoles, and it’s fantastic to see Phil Spencer offer praise where it is deserved. Nintendo consistently aims to change or enhance the way players engage with their games while offering something different from the other market leaders. It seems the choice to focus on portability over graphics is becoming more and more warranted after each day.