Remember the ‘NX’ Days? Reggie Explains Why Nintendo Keeps Secrets Until Near Release

The whole world knows what the Nintendo Switch is at this point, but it wasn’t always like this. Back in early 2015, the late Satoru Iwata made a surprise announcement at an investor’s briefing: Nintendo is working on a new system called ‘NX’. The announcement sent shockwaves throughout the gaming community and people were keen to know what the system was all about. Yet, Nintendo did not formally unveil the NX until last October when we were all introduced to the Nintendo Switch.

‘NX’ was the codename for Switch and Nintendo made sure to keep it a big secret until it was ready. The time ‘NX’ was first announced to the time that first Switch trailer dropped last October is over a year and a half. Indeed, it was quite an agonizing wait. Anytime Nintendo would mention the NX only vague comments were given. Of course, Nintendo’s silence did not keep the system completely shrouded in mystery as there was several leaks that came out between the initial announcement and full unveiling. We basically knew what the Switch was by the time it was finally revealed, but it was still a massive relief to actually know what the system was officially.

So, why does Nintendo like to keep secrets for so long? Well, Nintendo of America’s president Reggie Fils-Aime shared some insight on the topic during a recent interview with Mashable. Here’s what he had to say:

“The fans should know that we are not a company that is sitting in a little ivory tower and not thinking about all of these dynamics. [We’re] a company that likes to keep our information very close to the vest, and announce information when it’s ready and when all of the elements are fully fleshed out.” 

Going by that statement, it appears Nintendo did not want to talk about the Switch until the company felt that it was completely ready to show it off to the public. Not only did Nintendo wait until the Switch was totally ready to be shown, but it also spaced out the unveiling and release in a very short time frame. The initial trailer dropped in late October 2016, followed by a full live presentation to give core details about the system in January of this year. Then on March 3rd it was released. From unveiling to release, that’s a timeframe of approximately only five months. Definitely a pretty quick turnaround time!

This strategy makes sense since a lot happens when a game or system is in development. What we get as a final product is usually quite different from the initial version. We’ve seen a lot of games announced early drastically change by the time they’re released, so it’s phenomenon we should all be used to. So, I respect Nintendo for waiting until its projects are near-completion before showing them off to the public.  Not to mention it makes the more impatient of us happier since the wait between announcement and release ends up being short.  (But let’s be honest, those ‘NX’ days were brutal to pull through).

A.K Rahming
Having been introduced to video games at the age of 3 via a Nintendo 64, A.K has grown up in the culture. A fan of simulators and racers, with a soft spot for Nintendo! But, he has a great respect for the entire video game world and enjoys watching it all expand as a whole.