Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aime on Esports: ‘We’re Going to Do it Differently’

Reggie Fils-Aime

Nintendo fans interested in esports and competitive gaming have a lot to look forward to this summer. In addition to a swatch of competitive titles releasing (or just released) on Nintendo’s new console, the Switch, the company’s president just addressed esports directly in an interview with the Verge.

Put simply, the Nintendo Switch is seeing a large number of exclusive competitive titles released on it, all within the first year.

“We’ve been fortunate with Smash Bros. to have a franchise that has been very active in this space,” said Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime. “What we’ve been doing is educating our developers and candidly creating some expertise ourselves in how to engage with the community. Now we have a fantastic relationship with the Smash Bros. community; Reggie Fils-Aime would say that was not true fix, six, seven years ago. Reggie Fils-Aime thinks that Arms can support a very vibrant community.

“We were in e-sports back in 1995 with the very first Nintendo World Championships. We’ve been in this space. I think what Nintendo is doing, as we always do, is our unique view on this, and finding ways to make it a bit more mainstream and a bit more massive, maybe than others have done. We’re going to do it differently.”

The quote adds a lot to the discussion about Nintendo Switch’s esports potential, which many think could be in jeopardy. A commonly cited problem? Referenced by Reggie Fils-Aime, Smash Bros. is considered by many to be the premier Nintendo-based esport—but the Switch has no stated release on the horizon.

Reggie Fils-Aime definitely dodges on whether Smash Bros. will see a Switch release soon, but his response does answer what its doing instead. “We’re going to do it differently,” he states bluntly—and incredibly accurately. Instead of going with the popular (and expected) title, Nintendo is trying something new: variety.

Nintendo is extending this approach even into its cross-platform ports.

Put simply, the Nintendo Switch is seeing a large number of exclusive competitive titles released on it, all within the first year. Already out are Mariokart 8 and the new Arms brawler, and later this year we’ll see Splatoon 2 and Pokken Tournament DX. Notably, all feature top Nintendo franchises in one way or another, and all have vastly different controls. Rather than giving Nintendo fans just one way to play competitive on its console, Nintendo is seeking to widen not only the experiences the Switch offers, but is likely fishing for new gamers to attract to its competitive arena.

Further confirmation of this approach is how Nintendo is extending it even into its cross-platform ports. Headlining that list, and heading to the Switch also within its first year: FIFARocket League, and maybe even Call of Duty. Again, very different from any other competitive title on the Switch line-up—but with lots of potential for becoming competitive hits among Switch gamers. A unique view indeed, and one that could make other console producers rethink their approach to esports.