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Quality over quantity is Nintendo's first-party focus as the Switch nears year 3

Despite the strong install base Nintendo now has with the Switch, the company’s leadership is hesitant to put the quality of its first-party releases at risk in order to get more titles out the door.

“I know some people say we just need to hire more developers. We aren’t merely focused on increasing development staff, but we are focusing on nurturing more developers adequately within Nintendo.”

- Shigeru Miyamoto shares his thoughts on Nintendo's current game development efforts. 

Despite the 32.27 million-strong install base Nintendo now has with the Nintendo Switch, the company’s leadership is hesitant to put the quality of its first-party releases at risk in order to get more titles out the door.

The topic of upping R&D spending with the goal of bolstering the number of first-party Switch releases in the next few years was brought up during a recent investor Q&A, with the goal of supplying existing Switch owners with a steady stream of new games.

In response, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto points out that the company’s third-party partnerships mean that “we’re working on a larger scale than what can be handled solely within the company in terms of managing software development.” But even despite that, he says that any expansion of Nintendo’s development scale must “firmly maintain the Nintendo-made quality of the software.”

“I know some people say we just need to hire more developers,” says Miyamoto. “We aren’t merely focused on increasing development staff, but we are focusing on nurturing more developers adequately within Nintendo. I want us to actively invest in the products we develop, in order to maintain the quality we desire.”

Nintendo’s current development cadence, especially in regards to how it’s changed across the lifetime of the company, was something also mentioned earlier on in the Q&A by Nintendo director and senior managing executive officer Shinya Takahashi. 

“Compared to the NES era, there are a lot more developers, larger development teams,” says Takahashi. “Even so, development is being managed more systematically than before. So although it’s true that the volume of software is increasing, there are more people involved in developing it, there are more development processes in place to bring it all together, and development scale has expanded, I believe.”

“One appealing aspect of the video game business is that you can create something a lot of consumers will react very positively to if you add just a little extra value, even if it's not dependent on hardware performance,” adds Miyamoto in response to that same question. “There are indie games spreading widely across consumers even though those titles were not large-scale titles developed by many people. We always value this point and want to nurture the people who can create ‘core components’ like that.

“And if we can continue to repeatedly refine the ‘core components of play’ that those individuals create into the future, I think we’ll be able to continue creating Nintendo-like products, and I feel that those individuals are steadily growing at Nintendo.”

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