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Nintendo wants everyone to buy a Switch

The blue ocean strategy is back

A blue Nintendo Switch Joy-Con being held sideways in someone’s hand James Bareham/Vox Media

In a question-and-answer session held after Nintendo’s latest quarterly financial briefing, investors asked company executives to discuss potential issues they’re facing now that the Switch is entering its second year on the market. One of the company’s biggest names proposed an answer that should set the Switch up to succeed, according to him, and it says a lot about Nintendo’s thinking and strategy for the console.

“The marketing strategy going forward is to instill a desire to purchase Nintendo Switch among a wide consumer base in all the regions of Japan, the US, and Europe,” Nintendo creative fellow Shigeru Miyamoto stated. “Our ultimate ambition is for a Nintendo Switch to be owned not just by every family, but by every single person.”

That’s a pretty standard answer; every company would like to sell its products to a lot of people. But what Nintendo is talking about here is hardware ubiquity, and what that could bring to the platform.

“The biggest attraction of Nintendo Switch is that the console can be carried around and used easily for competitive gameplay via local wireless connection,” Miyamoto continued. “If consumers come to take it for granted that everybody has a Nintendo Switch, then we can create new and very Nintendo genres of play, and Nintendo Switch can have a life apart from smart devices and other video game systems. Expanding the Nintendo Switch world this way is a means of eliminating risk.”

The idea is that, if you don’t have to question whether a friend or a family member has a system, Nintendo can begin taking certain things for granted. The company can focus on local multiplayer games, for instance, or even release new modules for Labo that require multiple systems. Or it can even work on ideas no one has yet thought of.

This is an example of the “blue ocean strategy,” a marketing idea that’s based on finding large areas of a market that you can own without having to fight competitors. Right now, Nintendo has no real competition in the console or portable space, which lets it make interesting moves without fear. The Switch isn’t battling the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 — at least, not directly — and Nintendo can continue to try new things, assuming that friends and family all have access to the system when designing and releasing games for it.

For now, Nintendo is in a great competitive situation. The challenge is going to be to keep that momentum going.