As we all know, Nintendo started life not as a video games company but as a maker of Hanafuda playing cards more than 100 years ago in Japan, and according to Switch's general producer Yoshiaki Koizumi, this inspired the local multiplayer approach taken with the new console.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Koizumi said:
When you play cards, you look opponents in the eye to read their strategy, and that is fun. And we realized no video game devices have been able to offer that kind of entertainment.
What we learned was that people can play video games without looking at a screen if the information coming from other channels is precise enough.
Koizumi also reveals that one of the core principles of the hardware was the idea that players can come together and game wherever they like, even if only one of them has a Switch:
We looked back at what Nintendo has done, and when you think about it, it's really been an amusement provider. When the concept was set, most of the Switch's basics came together quickly. Things like, you have to be able to take the controller outside, and you'll need two of them.
You could go out with a hand-held game device, but you can't play with others if they don't have the same device. We wanted to provide people with more options to play games.
I want people to share the fun of playing games not just over social media but also on street corners. When we see people playing the Switch at various places and with different styles, then we would call the Switch a success.
The notion of playing face-to-face is something which has perhaps fallen a little out of fashion in the era of online gaming, where it's possible to find an opponent any hour of the day. However, those of you old enough to recall the days before the internet will no doubt have fond memories of playing Street Fighter II with a friend on your SNES, or beating a pal at John Madden or FIFA.
This social play arguably has more impact than a match against someone thousands of miles away - but the question is, can Nintendo convince the market that there's room for such a concept? Let us know what you think by posting a comment.