In case you hadn't heard, the Nintendo Switch is incredibly popular. Riding on the heels of the estimated first week sales is an insider's report that Nintendo has increased production for their latest console due to its massive popularity. Starting in April, Nintendo will begin manufacturing 16 million Switches (or more!) for the fiscal year, which is double the 8 million they had planned. This indicates Nintendo plans to sell 10 million in the first year of the Switch's life by March 2018.
Nintendo tried to play it safe, originally announcing during their financial briefing last year that they planned for only 2 million units for the month of March. Sources indicate this may have been increased to 2.5 million. The Switch sold 1.5 million units in the first week, blowing expectations out of the water.
All this hype seems to be due in large part to their flagship game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The game received nearly unanimous good reviews, possibly the best reviewed game yet, and 90% of Switch buyers purchased #BreathoftheWild. Upcoming hit games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Mario Odyssey will feed into the fervor and promote further sales.
Though the Switch is convenient and innovative, games will have a lot do with with its success, as we saw with the Wii U. If the Switch sells well, it will entice developers to create more games for it, which will increase its allure and longevity. The Wii U's low sales prompted a reactionary loss of third-party support, which of course set it into a downward spiral.
Nintendo tried to offset worries about support during the unveiling of the Switch with a partners list. Consumer hype built up so much that Japanese developers indicated they felt positive about the new console in a poll, with half indicating they were actively working on a game and another quarter considering it.
The Switch's sales look to be similar to the incredibly popular Wii that launched a decade ago. The Wii sold 20 million units a little over a year after launching. Since it launched in November 2006, that included both the 2006 and 2007 holiday season, which gives it quite an advantage. In contrast, the Wii U sold 3.06 million units a little over a month after release, during holiday season 2012, and 5.86 million total a little over a year after, including both 2012 and 2013 holiday seasons. In its lifetime, the Wii U only sold 13.5 million units over the course of 5 years.
The Switch's 10 million unit forecast will definitely bring Nintendo back to the glory days after the Wii U's decline. Stock has already been very limited to find, though the alleged extra 500,000 units could help alleviate that. With new games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (April 28, 2017), Splatoon 2 (Summer 2017), Skyrim (Fall 2017), and Super Mario Odyssey (Holiday 2017) coming this year, Nintendo will definitely need plenty of stock on hand, especially during the holiday season when sales will spike.
We may soon get more concrete information regarding the Switch's sales, both current and forecasted. Nintendo's next earnings report is April 27, where they will discuss their earnings for the fiscal year and a forecast for the next.
Check out more about the Switch: