Nintendo Switch sales are slowing, but there's still plenty of fuel left in the tank
Nintendo's Switch enters year sevenBy Shawn Knight 7 comments
TL;DR: The glory days of record Nintendo Switch sales appear to be firmly in the rear view. In its latest earnings report, Nintendo revealed it sold 17.98 million Switch handhelds for the year ending March 31. That's down 22.1 percent from the 23.06 million units sold last year, and the forecast for next year isn't looking any better as Nintendo expects to sell 15 million consoles through the end of March 2024.
Nintendo's handheld launched on March 3, 2017, at a time when home consoles from Microsoft and Sony were all about power and smartphones were dominating mobile gaming. The gamble paid off as Nintendo has sold 125.62 million systems (as of March 31). The Switch is Nintendo's best-selling console to date and the third best-selling console overall behind the PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo DS.
Despite slowing sales, the Switch still has a lot of fuel left in the tank thanks to a strong lineup of existing and upcoming games. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom launches on May 12. Metroid Prime 4 is also in the pipeline and if Microsoft is able to acquire Activision Blizzard, Call of Duty could breathe new life into the Switch.
To date, the Switch has 35 million-seller games including 22 in-house titles.
Nintendo released a mid-cycle refresh of the Switch in late 2021. The revised version features a larger OLED screen, better battery life, and a few other perks but did little to quell rumors of a Switch Pro upgrade. According to the rumor mill, Nintendo was indeed planning to launch a more powerful version of the handheld but ultimately abandoned the project.
Does the Switch have enough momentum to eventually overtake the DS and the PS2 to become the best-selling console of all time? Perhaps. Nintendo hasn't announced a successor to the Switch yet, so there's still time. You also have to consider residual sales such as those replacing broken systems, and multiple console homes. A price cut could also help spur sales near the end of its lifecycle.