Nintendo has a successful console with the Switch, but it'll take more than just a killer app like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to maintain the console's momentum. For continued success, Nintendo is looking to become more "flexible" according to Nintendo's communications director Charlie Scibetta in a recent interview. That flexibility includes things like the recent cross-network announcement for the Switch versions of Rocket League and Minecraft.
In an interview with GamesBeat, Scibetta explains how Rocket League is one way to get people to hop aboard the Switch train. "We're trying to be more flexible as a company. We're reaching out to try and get people to interact with our IP," said Scibetta, although he adds that in this particular case it's Psyonix's IP on the Nintendo system. "But we're trying to get people involved with us in any way we can, whether that's on mobile now, or through Universal Studios parks, or through licensing deals like Vans."
Rocket League also supports cross-network play—something Psonix believes is the future of gaming—between the Nintendo Switch version and the Xbox One versions. It's a feature Scibetta believes is indicative of Nintendo's new outlook. "In the case of Rocket League, it's just being flexible and working with [Psyonix] to make their game come to life on our system. If people want to play cross platform, we want to enable that."
This is honestly kind of a bold move from a company that's been a bit notorious over its protective tendencies. Remember the surprise when Nintendo announced the company would be developing games for mobile phones?
This is especially interesting in comparison to the news that Sony has opted the PlayStation 4 out of any cross-platform deals, citing safety concerns. However, critics have fired back referencing Microsoft's partnership with Nintendo—a company with a large, mostly young player base—as a counter to Sony's safety claims.
For Scibetta and Nintendo however, it comes back to flexibility. "In the case of Rocket League, if [cross platform's] what people like yourself - you just said you love that game and you want to be able to play cross platform. We said, let's make that happen. It's really not more complex than that."