If you thought Nintendo opening the Switch to new indie games every quarter was a big shift for the company, wait ’til you hear that it’s getting into startups. The venerable video game corporation has partnered with Scrum Ventures to find companies tinkering with new ways to play with or use Nintendo’s flagship console.
Scrum will consider ideas for new Switch tools from startups, teams in larger companies or university researchers, Bloomberg reported. Then the early-stage venture capital firm will workshop concepts with teams before they pitch them to Nintendo this fall. Scrum will consider hardware and software ideas (not games), which in itself is a new frontier for a game company that has always relied on trusted, established suppliers. When considering ideas, Scrum will evaluate:
- How advanced the technology is
- How creatively the technology adds to the Nintendo Switch platform
- The goal is to develop technology collaborations that surprise and delight users
But the Switch has heralded an era of experimentation. The well-received Labo kits set to debut next week are a good example, blending DIY cardboard controllers with the console’s sensor-packed Joy-Cons and tablet-like central screen unit. Whatever Scrum finds will likely be a surprising use of the Switch’s existing hardware and tech, but it’s just as shocking to see the famously protective and secretive Nintendo open its doors to third parties, large and small.
Update 4/12/18 4:05PM ET: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Scrum Ventures will only seek hardware concepts. It is seeking both hardware and software concepts, but not video game pitches.