Nintendo Switch Sales Boom, Could Surpass Wii U in Just Over a Year

When Nintendo announced the Switch, many weren’t quite sure what to make of it, or how much of an opportunity it represented. The platform’s hybrid living room / portable mode was something new and the launch lineup was frankly anemic. Fortunately for Nintendo, all of these issues have proven minor hiccups rather than show-stopping problems. The Switch ($ 299.99 at Amazon) is reported to have sold 2.74 million units in March, with Nintendo claiming it now expects to ship up to 10 million Switches this year. The Wii U, for comparison’s sake, sold 13 million consoles throughout its entire run.

What’s even crazier is, some analysts think Nintendo is actually lowballing its estimates. Ace Research Institute’s Hideki Yasuda projects the company could sell up to 15 million systems. Nintendo expects its profits to surge on these results, up to $ 585 million for its fiscal year (Nintendo’s new fiscal year began on April 1). The game company is expected to ramp up advertising and marketing for its new platform as well, and believes it’ll sell an estimated 35 million games, including games from third-party publishers. Given the dearth of third-party development actually going on for Switch, it’s safe to assume the majority of these sales will either be Nintendo products or indie titles, since that’s what the Switch’s lineup mostly consists of, at least for now.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Games like Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe have both done well for the Switch

In other Nintendo-related news, Genyo Takeda, a 45-year company veteran and hardware designer, has announced his retirement in June 2017. He’s overseen the design of every console released during that period and is specifically credited with designing the N64’s analog stick. Why anyone would ever claim credit for designing analog sticks is beyond me — every single one I’ve ever used is a loose bit of garbage tethered to an imprecise aim mechanism — but then I’m a keyboard and mouse sort of person to start with. Takeda also led the team that figured out how to save games on the original Legend of Zelda game, however, and that was a fairly revolutionary concept for its day.

It’ll be interesting to see if Nintendo can maintain its momentum in the face of the PlayStation 4 Pro and Project Scorpio from Microsoft. The consoles are all expensive enough that multi-purchasing is less likely — some people certainly can afford to drop $ 300 on a Switch and $ 400+ on a PS4 Pro ($ 399.99 at Amazon) or next-generation Xbox (current guesstimated price puts Scorpio at ~$ 500), but for many gamers, you buy one or two platforms over the course of a generation, not all three. The Switch is still selling extremely well, but can it maintain that lead given its anemic game library? We shall see. Nintendo is also planning an SNES Classic launch for Christmas, though the way the company handled the NES version this year means there’s no way in hell I’d personally either purchase an SNES or recommend any of you try for one. If Nintendo doesn’t want to stock shelves with its consoles, gamers shouldn’t be worried about waiting six months to buy hardware you can emulate.

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