Pokemon boss told Nintendo the Switch wouldn’t be a success, but now admits his mistake

By Alex Donaldson
6 September 2017 09:19 GMT

The Pokemon Company is very close to Nintendo, but that didn’t mean their boss pulled his punches.

Prior to the Nintendo Switch launch chief executive officer of The Pokemon Company Tsunekazu Ishihara told the company that he didn’t think the console would be a success – but now, with stock shortages continuing and the system selling well, he admits his initial mistake.

“I told Nintendo that Switch wouldn’t be a success before it went on sale because I thought that in the age of the smartphone no one would carry around a game console,” Ishihara revealed during a Bloomberg video interview.

“It’s obvious I was wrong. I came to realize the key to a successful game is quite simple: software with absolute quality leads sales of hardware. Playing style can be flexible if the software is attractive enough.”


“Currently, it’s popular among the early adopters and there needs to be one more step to attract a wider audience,” he added, essentially warning caution around getting too bullish about the Switch. “I see more potential in Switch, but one shouldn’t overestimate its potential.”

As part of the Bloomberg interview Ishihara also offered some small updates on the status of Pokemon for Switch – something that is shaping up to be one of those key pieces of system-selling software for Nintendo.

“We see [the Switch] as a chance to create Pokémon that goes deeper and with a higher level of expression. As a result, that makes it an extremely important platform,” he explained.

“Right now we’re using 7 to 8 inch screens, but on a high-definition TV you can express a whole different world with graphics and sound. Until now, games were made as one for one person, but now you can go home and play with everyone — so how do we tackle these themes, and how do we make sure it’s not complicated?

“Unlike smartphones, the Switch is not a game device that assumes that there’s constant network connectivity. So from our perspective, it’s really not that different from DS or 3DS in terms of connectivity.”

Pokemon for the Switch is still a way off and doesn’t even have an official title yet – it was announced in a very casual fashion after Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, suggesting a Eurogamer report that a ‘complete’ version of Sun and Moon for Switch titled Pokemon Stars was false.

Pokemon fans can still look forward to Pokken Tournment DX for Switch and Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon for 3DS in the coming months, plus further extensive Pokemon Go updates.

“We are currently focused on providing different playing styles to our customers,” Ishihara cloncludes to Bloomberg. We think that means the time has come. It’s time for Pokemon Snap 2. Right, guys? Right?!

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