The definition of splitting hairs
Microsoft and Nintendo are thick as thieves nowadays. The two companies have teamed up countless times for various promotions, including a number of previously Xbox-exclusive titles that made their way to Switch. Without a doubt, both companies have a considerable amount of respect for each other, but that doesn’t mean there’s not some platform-specific silliness going on behind the scenes.
Thanks to legal documents filed as part of the Federal Trade Commission v. Microsoft battle, we’ve gotten to see all kinds of emails that Microsoft has sent internally. One of those comes from Xbox’s head of marketing, Aaron Greenberg, and it happens to include an interesting little tidbit about Nintendo.
As marketing is Greenberg’s job, he’s very keen on making sure all verbiage used in advertising paints Xbox in the best light. That even boils down to the most minute of details, such as how to describe the Switch. Again, Microsoft brought a handful of their titles over to Switch, and promoted those titles through various marketing efforts. According to Greenberg, what Microsoft called the Switch in that marketing was extremely important.
Greenberg suggested that all at Xbox avoid calling the Switch a console, as it “really is a portable gaming device.” Furthermore, Greenberg went on to say that as Microsoft thinks about the future with Xbox Series X/S, “the more people realize they need to buy our console to play these games not get caught up in a title like Ori on Switch the better.”
It certainly seems like an incredibly small thing to get hung up on and fret about, but I’m no marketing expert. Every customer matters, so if Microsoft could woo even one more person to the Xbox side of things by not calling Switch a console, I guess they saw that as both important and valid.