According to Shigeru Miyamoto, Satoru Iwata played a massive role in making Nintendo what it is today, but also in Switch’s development. Miyamoto really emphasizes in an interview with the Times the role the late president had in developing Nintendo’s upcoming console.
According to Miyamoto, the core concept of the Switch was completely down to Iwata:
Is there anything in particular about Switch that reflects Satoru Iwata’s involvement? [Iwata was Nintendo’s president from 2002 to 2015, and passed away in July 2015.]
I mentioned that Mr. Iwata, Mr. Takeda and myself provided feedback and made decisions, but ultimately Mr. Iwata was the head of development, so he put a lot of thought and time into Switch. I think that the idea of Nintendo Switch being a device you can take out and anywhere, and the idea of it being a system that really allows networking and communicating with people, I think that’s something Mr. Iwata put a lot of emphasis on.
Because Mr. Iwata was tech-savvy, a lot of our discussion involved trying to figure out how to make the technical things like network capabilities or servers or whatever fun. For example, think about when we added the ability to use a browser on the DS [Nintendo’s two-screen gaming handheld—the browser was added to North American systems in 2007]. As time goes on, all of these services become more and more advanced, and so we need to think about “How do we incorporate mobile devices or new browser features that come up?” That’s something Mr. Iwata and I discussed a lot, really trying to decide what to do and what not to do in our hardware.
You can read the full interview here.