Miyamoto Talks Iwata and Yokoi’s Influences on Switch, VR

In an interview with TIME magazine, Mario creator and “Creative Fellow” Shigeru Miyamoto talked a bit about the Nintendo Switch’s design philosophy, and how to make VR work for him as a developer.

When asked about the design philosophy of the Switch compared to the late Gunpei Yokoi’s idea of “lateral thinking with withered technology,” Miyamoto said:

As a company, we take in all different kinds of new technologies as they become available. […] Companies […] tend to want to move forward and be at the top end of everything. But at Nintendo, we really place importance on finding something unique, something that only we can do. […] But as a company, Nintendo really puts the idea of fun up front, and I feel like that perspective was something Mr. Yokoi had established. […] In my younger days, we had a tendency to want to move forward so quickly, and we several times had Mr. Yokoi kind of hold us back and say, “You need to look, step back and observe everything.” […] And so we learned from him the importance of really putting ideas into forms of play. […] It’s not that Mr. Yokoi was against new pieces of technology. Sometimes, when he would get a new technology, he would just stare at it for an entire day. For example, he had this magnetic object that would float, and he would just put it on his desk and stare at it and play around with it and really observe it. In that sense, I felt like a lot of people were able to trust him, because he was really open and keen to observe things.

Miyamoto also talked about late president Satoru Iwata’s contributions to the console, saying:

Mr. Iwata, Mr. Takeda and myself provided feedback and made decisions, but ultimately Mr. Iwata was the head of development, so he put a lot of thought and time into Switch. I think that the idea of Nintendo Switch being a device you can take out and anywhere, and the idea of it being a system that really allows networking and communicating with people, I think that’s something Mr. Iwata put a lot of emphasis on. Because Mr. Iwata was tech-savvy, a lot of our discussion involved trying to figure out how to make the technical things like network capabilities or servers or whatever fun. For example, think about when we added the ability to use a browser on the DS. As time goes on, all of these services become more and more advanced, and so we need to think about “How do we incorporate mobile devices or new browser features that come up?” That’s something Mr. Iwata and I discussed a lot, really trying to decide what to do and what not to do in our hardware.

Finally, when asked about his opinions on the Nintendo Switch having VR support, Miyamoto said:

In terms of being together online in virtual reality, I think a lot of the problems have been solved or are starting to be solved. This is something that we’re looking into, too. But when I see people play virtual reality, it makes me worry, just as for example if a parent were to see their kid playing virtual reality, it would probably make them worry. Another issue and challenge that I think everybody faces is how to create an experience that’s both short enough while also fully fleshed out in virtual reality.

The Nintendo Switch launches March 3rd for 299.99$.

Matthew Sigler


Currently interning at Niche Gamer. I've been playing video games since I was three years old.