The “console wars” have been going on ever since the golden age of Nintendo competing against the likes of Sega and Atari throughout the 80s and 90s. Eventually, the two latter companies fell to the wayside and were replaced by Sony and their PlayStation brand of consoles, and later on Microsoft and its brand of Xbox consoles. Since 2001, it’s been these three companies squaring off in the console space for domination. Though, Nintendo has played by a very different set of rules for quite some time now. While the company used to be focused on staying ahead of the pack from a hardware standpoint, ever since the Wii and DS it has taken a much more different approach—appealing to the general consumer. This is why when asked if the PS4 and Xbox One are in competition with the Switch, Nintendo of America’s President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime said that he doesn’t see it that way.
This statement from Fils-Aime came from the recent Geekswire Summit which took place in Seattle. Reggie had more to say on the topic of competition, stating that he competes “for time”. He pointed to the normal routine of the average consumer; how they have to go to work, school, and do miscellaneous tasks like eating, and using the Internet. Reggie stated that his goal is to capture consumers during their allotted “entertainment time”, rather than directly competing with Sony and Microsoft. In other words, Fils-Aime doesn’t see a fight between the Switch and the PS4/Xbox One, but instead, he sees a fight between the Switch and the common factors in people’s day-to-day. This is an interesting way to answer the question, albeit it’s still not going to stop the members of the fan communities of each platform from analyzing sales numbers and combing over graphical comparisons whenever a new multi-platform game releases.
That said, the Switch is in a particularly odd spot this generation. It launched just over three years after the PS4 and Xbox One, so it hardly ever chance of catching up those two systems sales-wise. Still, it’s been holding its own since launch and regardless of what Fils-Aime said here, Nintendo has not been shy about declaring its success, especially in comparison to its predecessor the Wii U.
Nevertheless, there have been moments where executives from each of the ‘Big Three’ have positively commented on the performance of the other companies. For example, last year when the Switch explosively came onto the scene, Sony’s Jim Ryan acknowledged its success and said that it’s “great for the industry” for Nintendo to be in a good position. Also last year, Xbox boss Phil Spencer called the Switch an “interesting idea” and said that Nintendo’s uniqueness is “great for the industry”. Of course, we can’t forget what’s arguably the biggest example of cooperation—Nintendo and Microsoft’s recent joint ad-campaign in celebration of Minecraft cross-play. So, maybe Reggie has a point. These companies can be buddy-buddy with each other, so perhaps the “war” really is only among the fan communities.