Backwards compatibility, new hardware and subscriptions

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There aren’t many reasons for Nintendo to aggressively make generational changes at this point. The Nintendo Switch continues to sell well and Switch Online subscriptions continue to rise. Nintendo now has 36 million active subscriptions.

At the investors’ meeting, of course, the shareholders wanted to know how the coming financial year was going. On the one hand, it is of course important for investors to maintain the momentum of the switch. On the other hand, the next piece of hardware should be there as the momentum wears off.

Next year will be the seventh year since the Switch launched. An investor fears that things are inevitably going downhill here and would therefore like to know what Nintendo has come up with in other areas of its business.

Initially, Nintendo’s efforts would focus on the Christmas business, explains President Shuntaro Furukawa. They want to surpass the sales plan and also believe that the Nintendo Switch can maintain its momentum in its seventh year.

Other types of question

“In terms of initial purchases, there are definitely differences from what we’ve seen in the first few years after launch,” Furukawa said. But now there would be different kinds of demand for the Nintendo Switch. Many would like multiple systems in one household and others would like to replace the old Switch with the OLED model. Both factors are amplified with the release of Splatoon 3 and Pokémon Crimson and Crimson.

In principle, the approach for the coming financial year is exactly the same as for the current one, which will not expire until March 31, 2023. In other words, keep the momentum going. According to Furukawa, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Pikmin 4 should help with this.

Strengthen other business areas

Of course you also want to strengthen other business units. “As you said, The Super Mario Bros. Movie will be very important to us and is an example of one of our new initiatives,” Furukawa said. To connect these initiatives, they want to keep trying to create as many points of contact between people and Nintendo brands as possible and to connect people to Nintendo.

The latter should work with the Nintendo Account and Nintendo Switch Online. The Nintendo account should work across generations, Nintendo has passed that on more than once and here too the new joint venture with DeNA speaks volumes.

Increase and keep subscription numbers

Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions continue to grow, Furukawa said. As of September 2022, there are 36 million subscriptions. Of course you want to achieve even more. “The goal of Nintendo Switch Online as a service is to help users enjoy long-lasting gaming on Nintendo Switch. That is why we are considering several initiatives, including further expanding the content of the service,” said Furukawa.

Since the launch of Nintendo Switch Online, there has been a lot of criticism from fans, but also some new content. Initially, an N64 and Mega Drive library was available. New games are added here regularly. Recently, a trophy-like reward system was introduced. In addition, DLC content is occasionally included. There have been rumors about the addition of GameBoy games for some time, but this is not official yet.

Backwards compatibility with new hardware

Of course, these subscriptions must also be transferred to the “next generation”. Something investors care about too. An investor pointed out that this is very important, but also brought up classic backwards compatibility so that games from the last generation are preserved in the new ones. More content, more possibilities. The investor wanted to know if Nintendo was involved.

In answering this question, Shigeru Miyamoto first refers to services such as Virtual Console, which allow classic games to be played on new hardware. But he also explains that a lot has happened in the development environment. In the past, software was always developed for specific video game systems and it was impossible to bring it to new hardware without making changes.

However, now it has “generally become easier to implement an environment where software released for earlier hardware can be played on new hardware.” Of course, Miyamoto doesn’t mean native backwards compatibility, but services like the Virtual Console and Nintendo Switch online.

There’s a good chance we’ll see Switch games on new hardware within a service. The switch from the Wii U to the Switch showed that Nintendo has no hesitation in relaunching games that are only a few years old.

But Miyamoto also makes it clear that this is not the focus: “As I said, Nintendo’s strength lies in developing new entertainment offerings. So as we release new hardware in the future, we want to continue to offer new and unique ways to play that are not feasible on existing hardware.”

through NintendoArtwork: Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, Ubisoft

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I am the Editor for Gaming Ideology. I love to play DOTA and many other games. I love to write about games and make others love gaming as much as I do.

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