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Over on Polygon, they recently had a chat with Ubisoft's Xavier Poix. In discussing the Nintendo Switch in terms of design, marketing and the like, Poix said that this latest offering from The Big N already seems to have a leg up on the recently discontinued Wii U. For starters, Poix said that the design of the Wii U was not super friendly to developers.
When it arrived, with this double screen feature, [the design philosophy] was actually not as clear as it was for the Wii.
In other words, with the Wii, pretty much everyone could understand that the object of the game was to hold the console's controller in your hand and wave the thing around. Just about everyone understands swinging a bat or rolling a bowling ball so, when they saw the console in commercials or being used by others, they instantly understood how they were meant to interact with games. That simplicity is what led to the ridiculous success of the console, making gamers out of people who had no interest in picking up a standard controller.
While the Wii U is frequently praised by folks who own one, the problem with its controller was that it was more like a standard offering, but with a big screen at its center. For many, how that screen would apply to gaming was not clear and, for those traditionally non-gamers that were won over by the Wii, the Wii U likely appeared a bit intimidating. Nintendo was likely banking on the fact that everyone uses touchscreens these days and hoped it would translate well to gaming. That, however, did not prove to be the case.
For the Switch, however, Xavier Poix said that the reveal trailer has made it very clear what the console is all about. While there are hints at more intriguing design ideas for core gamers, the message to average consumers is "You can play this on your TV and then take it with you." The fact that the controller has a touchscreen wasn't even mentioned until after the big reveal. Poix believes that Nintendo is going in the right direction with that messaging.
The Switch is very clear as a premise. The way it changes the way you play doesn't come necessarily with the controllers, because they were here with the Wii as well...but in the way it is mobile.