Reggie Fils-Aime saw Nintendo through quite an electrifying period. As COO of Nintendo of America throughout the Gamecube, Wii, DS, 3DS, Wii U, and partially the Switch era, he saw the company handle bouts of success and failure. Certainly, he also observed how the company sought to come up with ‘unconventional’ ideas for new systems. Thus, when recently asked during an interview with Fanbyte what he thinks the company would do for its follow-up to the Nintendo Switch, his response was rather interesting.
Fils-Aime pointed to the company’s history of being very quirky when it comes to new ideas, and seeking to “[do] things fundamentally different.”
Thus, he expects that the successor to the Nintendo Switch “is going to be something completely different” from the hybrid system we have today.
He then leaned more into his explanation, now imagining himself as “King of Nintendo for a day.” With that, he said that if he had the ability to whip up this theoretical successor, he’d actually want it not to be a traditional system, but “a cloud stream type of experience,” with the only limitation of today being that not everyone’s Internet equipment is ready to offer a truly seamless result.
“I would bring the successor platform to bear . . . [in] another three to four years,” Fils-Aime says. This would be to rondeaux with the expected advancement in home internet equipment by that time.
Reggie’s aspirations sound very similar to what quite a few other major companies are doing. For instance, Google has Stadia, Nvidia has GeForce Now, Amazon has Luna, and Microsoft has Xbox Cloud Gaming.
Each of these services are still new, but are gaining ground—and fast. Of course, some are faster than others; Xbox Cloud Gaming is the undeniable king, overall.
Just recently, Microsoft released Xbox Cloud Gaming as an app on Samsung TVs and has plans on releasing an Amazon Fire TV Stick-esque streaming kit for non-Samsung TVs in the future. The goal here is clearly to remove as many barriers as possible for users; Microsoft (and other cloud gaming companies) want their games accessible on as many screens as possible.
In the same response that Reggie provided, he pointed to the benefits of such a service, including access to new and old content, as well as the fact that it’s a subscription service.
While he didn’t harp on the “subscription” portion much at all, it’s become no secret why so many business models have adopted subscriptions as the new standard. In short, it provides a consistent revenue stream.
As it relates to consoles, the vast majority of profit comes, not from the systems, but from the games.
This is because consoles are expensive to produce, and every game and bit of content has a license fee from the console maker stitched into its pricing. So, the more content a consumer buys for their system, the more profits are generated for the console makers (and the game’s creators, too, of course).
With a subscription, however, that’s a new charge every month, in most cases. Compare this to a single new game being bought once and then perhaps the user doesn’t buy another one for several months afterward.
A game subscription model would also remove all the costs that come with the R&D of a new system’s creation, shipping costs, retail costs, etc. Indeed, an all-cloud solution wouldn’t just be streamlined for the players, but the company, too.
As cloud gaming becomes more and more prevalent, time will tell to see which of the Big Three console makers adopt this formula on a massive scale first.