The Nintendo Switch's launch is nearly upon us. The console goes live on retail shelves this Friday and the excitement and tension from the wait is almost palpable. Well, with so much hype stirring in the air, it definitely leads us to question how many Switch units Nintendo is expected to sell?
Their reasoning for that low-ball number? Well, they mentioned in the report...
Nintendo is gearing up for a slow-and-steady release of its new console, launching much earlier in the year than its predecessors, we expect the Switch to initially appeal mostly to the loyal fanbase, before a broader, more mainstream audience adopts it.
That actually makes sense. A similar thing happened with the Wii U, where only the loyalists picked it up in the first few months, giving Nintendo a strong 3 million sales lead on the Xbox One and PS4, but after that, the casual audience had no interest (nor any idea what it was) and didn't bite. In this case, Superdata believes that loyalists will adopt the Switch during the early goings, and then, later on, some casuals may pick up a unit down the line, giving Nintendo a solid 5 million SKU base for the console.
Some of the commenters did not agree with this assessment from Superdata at all. Why? Because they point to something that actually does put a niggle in the net of Superdata's estimate: the 2 million SKUs Nintendo has set aside for the March launch have apparently already been sold out.
All pre-orders have been fulfilled, and so far there have been no notifications for a mass of cancelled pre-orders to free up inventory. The system has been sold out since pre-orders became available back on January 12th.
The thing is, if they've already secured 2 million SKUs for the month of March, then that would mean that they've already met nearly half of the supply that Superdata expects for them to move throughout 2017. That means from April to December they're only going to move 3 million more SKUs. That basically breaks down to around 1.5 million SKUs per quarter leading up to winter. That's an extremely conservative figure.
However, it's not outside the realm of possibility that the Nintendo Switch could bomb like that. A lot of it will depend on how well Nintendo nets momentum on the day one sales, and how consistently they can keep software rolling out throughout the year. They'll have Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild available on launch day, Mario Kart 8: Deluxe Edition available at the end of April, Splatoon 2 by the summer, and Super Mario Odyssey to round out the AAA first-party heavy hitters in the fall. They're planning on pumping out at around 80 games during the first year of the Switch's presence on the market. We'll see if that will be enough to surpass Superdata's 5 million mark.