Nintendo has historically been a very secretive, and sometimes very odd, company in the broader context of the gaming industry. Fans are sometimes frustrated by the way Nintendo does things, wishing that the company might be more transparent in its plans and communicate more effectively with its massive fanbase, but the company has worked a certain way for quite some time and it doesn’t seem intent on changing soon.
Reggie Fils-Aime addressed this topic of Nintendo’s philosophy in a recent interview. He says that the company isn’t nearly as out of touch as it may seem, the idea is that Nintendo like to keep secrets until that time is right so that it can ‘surprise’ people:
The fans should know that we are not a company that is sitting in a little ivory tower and not thinking about all of these dynamics. [We’re] a company that likes to keep our information very close to the vest, and announce information when it’s ready and when all of the elements are fully fleshed out.
We love to surprise people. We also believe that the consumer should have the information when they’re ready to act on it. Telling someone about a game that’s four of five, six years away from actually launching? Just doesn’t make a ton of sense to us. But sharing information in order to frame how we are looking at a franchise, looking at an IP, that’s something we do very thoughtfully.
A hypothetical on one message board gets picked up on another message board as fact. That is the nature of the state of the industry today. And that’s why we do want to manage our messaging so closely.
As an example of this, Reggie cited the two Metroid announcements at E3 this year, saying that the company announced both games at the same time so that fans of the series could be excited for their options and so Nintendo could better “frame the conversation”.
Later on, he also touched on the Switch stock concerns, stating that Nintendo actually over delivered, but it still hasn’t been enough to meet the demand.
As we look at the overall business, we’re constantly looking to do the right thing for the consumer. We actually sold through almost 2.8 million (Switch) units, so we dramatically over delivered. And yet, demand outpaces supply. So what do some of the consumers on Reddit say? ‘Gosh, Nintendo, if you would’ve made more you would’ve sold more.’ Well, we did make more! And certainly we’re on a pace to supply in the current fiscal year 10 million units.
I think if you were to go back and look at some of these comments, you would actually see that the issues have been resolved, but it’s happening at a pace that is later than maybe where the commenters would like the resolution to be. But it happens. And the solution is there.
What do you think? Is Nintendo in touch with what fans want? Do you think Nintendo has been doing good job with stock for the Switch? Share your thoughts in the comments below.