Pokemon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara talked with Famitsu in the latest issue about a slew of topics. The ones most notable for us gamers deals with how the company viewed Switch heading into making Let’s Go Pikachu, Let’s Go Eevee, and the as of yet unveiled new generation of titles arriving in 2019. Here is what he had to say on being tepid on the Switch’s success:
“I don’t know if this has the ability to persuade the people who said a year ago that the Nintendo Switch wouldn’t sell [laughter], but up until that point a machine that integrated both handheld functionality and a home console was unheard of, so to be honest it was hard tto know how it would sell. I didn’t see it selling. However, the overwhelming fun of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild made it popular. I think that had a big impact.”
Beyond that, he also thought other titles played a key role in pushing the platform to a larger consumer base:
“Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Mario Odyssey as well as other titles also had great timing and is helping widespread adoption. On top of that there are games like Nintendo Labo that include elements you don’t normally see in games, so it’s the ideal environment for a platform. I think this is a great opportunity for us to introduce new games and bring new experiences that will earn even more fans.”
The final point addressed started with Famitsu pointing out how Pokemon titles seem to start to arrive after there is a big enough install base. However, the response this time around is interesting as it makes reference to next years game’s intent from day one to be a massive system seller:
“Exactly. However, the reason that we can release a title at this point in time is that we already had begun development at the time that the Nintendo Switch launched. That’s the point where thoughts like ‘maybe the hardware won’t sell?’ changed to a feeling of ‘our game will give the platform traction’. In a way, our second title this time around will be one of the driving factors behind that.”
What this means for their expectations of their first crack at the system, Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee, is unknown. But given the 4.5 hour wait at E3 just to experience 5 minutes of the games, something tells me there may be a new best selling Switch game of all time by the end of the next holiday period.