May 2017 NPD: Supply Constraints Keep Switch From #1
The May 2017 NPD has released. While Nintendo didn’t have a single release for its new Switch console, it still managed to capture the second and fourth spots, beating out the brand new multiplatform release Prey, which took fifth.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe came in at number 2, behind Injustice 2. This is impressive because it launched the prior month to huge sales and it appears Switch owners continue to purchase it in droves. We know from Reggie of NOA that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was the best selling single SKU for the month of May. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild came in as the fourth best selling game for May. Keep in mind that for reporting purposes digital copies of Nintendo games don’t count, whereas for Injustice 2 they do count Xbox One and PC digital sales numbers in the final tally.
On the 3DS side of things, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia charted at number seven. Not too bad for a remake, especially considering it retails at $40 versus $60, making it even tougher to keep up with many other games on the list. The full Top 20 is as follows:
- Injustice 2
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe*
- Grand Theft Auto V
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
- Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadow of Valentia*
- NBA 2K17
- MLB 17: The Show
- Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
- Horizon Zero Dawn
- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
- Call of Duty: Black Ops III
- Mass Effect Andromeda
- Battlefield 1
- Nier: Automata
- FIFA 17
*No digital sales
*No digital sales from Blizzard’s PC app
The Nintendo Switch wasn’t the best selling system for May. That honor went to the PlayStation 4. Shipment shortages still plague Nintendo, and it looks like this will remain the case for the remainder of the year. Apparently NAND memory is in short supply and Nintendo is finding it difficult to increase production to meet demand.
Also, it’s quite likely that a portion of the Switch units being manufactured right now will have to be held back for the massive holiday season blitz. You might wonder why in the world would Nintendo do this when they could easily sell the systems right now. While it’s true that they could sell through the systems this summer, not having a big push during Christmas would be a much bigger problem. People have more disposable income during that period and are looking to buy their loved ones gifts.
If Mom or Dad can’t find a Switch to buy during the holidays, the probability of buying a competing system is much higher than if they’re having problems finding one right now. In other words, during the holidays the stakes are much higher for Nintendo to have units as readily available as possible to avoid consumers jumping ship and buying a competing product. At the end of the day, parents need to have gifts under the tree, and if they can’t find the Switch the money will go to the #2 or #3 thing on their kids’ lists. So, it makes total sense that a portion of Switches being produced right now are being held back for the holiday season where Nintendo will need them the most.
[NPD Data Source: Venture Beat]
Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published across a wide spectrum of media sites. He’s currently the Editor-In-Chief of Nintendo Times and contributes to Gaming Age.