Analyst Firm Predicts The Nintendo Switch Will Sell 40 Million Units Through 2020 – Forbes
While Nintendo itself has yet to release any sales forecasts regarding the Switch, it’s time for the world’s array of analyst firms to start speculating about the console’s prospects.
First out of the gate is research firm DFC Intelligence, who believes that the Nintendo Switch will sell 40 million units through 2020, which would be just under the first four years of its lifespan. And this is even assuming it might get off to a somewhat slow start due to a relative lack of launch games, they say.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, DFC Intelligence head David Cole had this to say:
“The Switch is a compelling piece of hardware that could potentially reach a much larger addressable market. However given the limited software and Nintendo’s poor recent track record of introducing new products we have tempered our forecasts to be conservative.”
Is the forecast conservative, though? 40 million sales in four years would be about three time as well as the Wii U sold, and more in line with the 3DS instead. PS4, the best-selling console this generation, hit 40 million sales in May 2016, which was not quite three years after launch. Xbox One has never hit that mark, though some firms are estimating the console has sold around 26 million units since its late 2013 launch.
If the Switch was Nintendo’s only hardware offering going forward, I might agree with the 40 million estimate (though I still wouldn’t call it conservative). However, we have to keep in mind that the 3DS is still being sold alongside the Switch for at least the next year, possibly longer, if Nintendo’s recent comments about the two systems existing in tandem indefinitely are to be believed.
Furthermore, while the Switch may have a few advantages over the Wii U, namely a more clear-cut concept and some better games early on, I am skeptical that translates into 3x the sales of the Wii U, necessarily. As has been noted, the system faces many of the exact same challenges of the Wii U, being underpowered compared its competition, a lack of third party games, and so on. And it’s unlikely even its handheld split concept would be something that would propel it to become a worldwide craze like the Wii, given competition from tablets and yes, Nintendo’s own 3DS.
40 million units would only be about 40% of the Wii’s lifetime sales, so I suppose that might look conservative by comparison using that metric. DFC seems to be hedging their bets, thinking it will outperform the Wii U significantly, but fall short of the Wii, also significantly. It’s an unusual situation because of how disparate the last two Nintendo consoles have been in terms of sales.
The GI analysis links to an interesting column written by their own Rob Fahey who posits right off the bat that the Switch is not competing against something like the PS4 going forward, it’s competing to prove that it’s worth to be bought alongside the PS4. The idea is that so many consumers already own a PS4 (and Xbox One or PC, for that matter) that because the Switch isn’t a powerful leap forward in any way, it has to convince many, many gamers who already own a current-gen console that owning a Switch as well is worth it.
I fully agree that like the Wii U before it, the Switch is positioned as a secondary console right off the bat because of its hardware and its software offerings. But if that’s true, is a console competing to be an addendum really going to be able to move 40 million units? That seems like an extremely tough objective to me.
We won’t know anything until we get deeper into the lifespan of the Switch. For now, the system remains sold out, as the Wii U was at launch, so that tells us little. Will this analysis indeed be conservative, with Nintendo having another monster hit on its hands? Or will it prove to be too high a bar given all the other factors at play?
Write a Reply or Comment:
You must be logged in to post a comment.