Did the Yakuza director really say that the Nintendo Switch is “for kids and teens”?

By Dom Peppiatt
7 December 2020 14:41 GMT

Yakuza director and chief creative operator of Sega, Toshihiro Nagoshi, has apparently claimed that the popular hybrid handheld/home Nintendo Switch console is for “kids and teens”.

In an interview that was conducted with the intention of celebrating Sega’s 60th anniversary, Toshihiro Nagoshi reportedly made some pretty inflammatory comments about one of the world’s most popular consoles.

The comments came during a segment of the interview covering Nagoshi’s work on the 2001 puzzle game Super Monkey Ball.

As per the official Sega translation, Nagoshi said: “I think even now the Nintendo platform is still a game console that is played by a wide range of age groups, but basically, I think it’s hardware for kids and teens. Amid all that, at that time, Nintendo was also putting a lot of effort into the kids market, and I thought it would suit.”

Watch on YouTube

The comments can be seen and read in the video embedded above, at roughly 11:59 in.

Commentators online have challenged Sega’s translation of the interview, though, saying that a direct translation lacks nuance and doesn’t quite convey the tone of the comments made.

One reading of the interview (below) sees the use of ‘basically’ called into question, noting that its function in conversation is applied differently in Japanese and English.

Reading the comments with that in mind, it could be argued that Nagoshi is basically saying Nintendo makes hardware more with a younger audience in mind – rather than Nintendo consoles only being suitable for “kids and teens”.

As ever with translation, it’s a tricky situation that’s often down to the interpretation of the individual interpreter.

We know that the Yakuza series has had a dodgy relationship with Nintendo and its platforms (the Yakuza collection flopped on Wii U, for instance) and we know that Nagoshi himself can be quite opinionated, but the reaction to the official Sega translation is certainly worth examining.

Recently, we’ve heard that another Yakuza producer wants “to get involved” with a “completely different” Sonic the Hedgehog game, and we’ve seen the launch of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which is a decent – if sometimes problematic – game, as per our review.

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