Nintendo’s next console: Shareholders ask questions about backwards compatibility and more | VGC

Nintendo faced fresh questions about its next-generation console plans at its 83rd annual general meeting of shareholders last week.

In May, Nintendo reported a slowdown in sales of the Switch console but suggested that no new hardware would be launched before April 2024.

Following its sales update, Nikkei Asia claims that a source close to Nintendo has informed that work on the company’s next console appears to be going well.

Not surprisingly, many questions at this month’s shareholder meeting were about its plans for future hardware, including backwards compatibility support.

Nintendo 3DS and Wii U games purchased through the Nintendo eShop cannot be transferred to the Switch, and one shareholder suggested it would be disappointing if the same was the case with Nintendo’s next console.

When asked his thoughts on this, company president Shuntaro Furukawa responded (translated by VGC contributor Robert Sephazon): “We are always considering various things regarding the details of future hardware, but at this stage, I would like to refrain from making any specific comments about future hardware.

“Regarding the sales style of Nintendo Switch software, there are different types such as physical package software purchased in stores, download versions of package software, and download-only software.

“Many of our customers play games on Nintendo Switch using download software or download-only software, and compared to previous game consoles, the ratio of digital sales is increasing.

“As a company, we want to continue to offer unique gameplay through dedicated game consoles that integrate hardware and software in the future, so please look forward to it.”

Asked if the company could share any specific strategies for transitioning from the Switch to its next console, Furukawa told shareholders that the company wants to use Nintendo Accounts to help smooth the transition process. for customers.

Nintendo's next console: Shareholders ask questions about backwards compatibility and more

“Regarding the transition to the next generation, in the past, hardware was the only way we connected with our customers, and every time we released a new console, we had to rebuild our relationship with our customers,” he said.

“However, with Nintendo Switch, we are able to connect directly with different customers through the Nintendo Account system. Nintendo Account is not only available for those with game consoles, but also for customers on mobile devices, and the current number of accounts exceeds 290 million.

“In transitioning from Nintendo Switch to the next-generation console, we want to make sure customers can seamlessly transition while still using their Nintendo Accounts.”

Nintendo has also previously emphasized the importance of Nintendo Account integration for its next console.

Nintendo Accounts were introduced in 2016 as a way to unify the user experience between Nintendo’s mobile games, online store and consoles. Mobile players can receive rewards for completing challenges in console games and share a list of friends.

Accounts were integrated into the Nintendo Switch when it launched in 2017, tracking user data such as friend lists, save files, experience data, software purchase history and more.

Nintendo said last month that it sold 17.97 million Switch consoles during the fiscal year that ended in March, bringing its lifetime sales to 125.62 million, a feat bested only by its Nintendo DS handheld (154.02 million) and Sony’s PlayStation 2 (155 million).

With the Switch now entering its seventh year on the market, Nintendo expects to sell 15 million units in the current fiscal year, which represents a 16.5% year-over-year decline.