During its second quarter results briefing, Nintendo went into some detail on how the Nintendo Switch is performing and how its being used. Given the hybrid nature of the device, Nintendo has conducted some surveys to determine how users are playing their games. Do gamers prefer to play solely on the TV, solely in handheld mode, or both? As it turns out, only about 20% surveyed only play on the TV. Roughly 30% play primarily in handheld or tabletop modes (not on the TV). About half play in both modes.
The Switch user base in the U.S. is skewing heavily toward males (86%) and the majority of them are in their 20s and early 30s. The second biggest group of owners are in the 10 to 19 age range. Clearly Nintendo has some future growth here, and they will want to expand the female audience as well. Perhaps they’ll fast track an Animal Crossing Switch title, as those historically bring in a more diverse crowd.
Sales figures for the Nintendo Switch in all markets have been great. Continued shortages, especially in Japan, have hampered sales quite a bit. All three territories are handily beating Wii U sales during its first six months on the market. However, none of them have yet achieved Wii-like sales. This can most likely be attributed to different launch times: the Wii and Wii U launched during the busy holiday season whereas the Switch did not. In addition, the price of a Switch is higher and there’s no pack-in game. Plus, the Wii really was lightning in a bottle, and it might be a bit unrealistic to expect another Nintendo console to meet those sales. Having said that, Nintendo says it’s possible that after the holiday season is over and done with that the Switch may catch up to those Wii sales. We’ll see!
Nintendo’s philosophy with the Nintendo Switch was to launch with a strong first party game (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild) and then to keep a steady stream of games coming every month or so from its internal development studios. This has seemingly worked well, with that title becoming the best selling game on the system. In Japan Splatoon 2 has become the top selling title on the Switch, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe continues to sell well in every territory. Nintendo expects these games to continue to sell as more customers snap up new consoles for the holidays. Plus, the second expansion for Zelda will be arriving shortly and both ARMS and Splatoon 2 continue to receive free updates, keeping gamers coming back for more. One more big title will launch before Christmas: Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
Super Mario Odyssey was just released last Friday (October 27) and has received fantastic reviews from most press outlets. With 7 million Switches sold through to consumers, Nintendo estimates that Super Mario Odyssey has already exceeded 2 million copies sold in its first 3 days on sale. They expect it to do well throughout the holiday season and hope it will become an evergreen title that sells long into the future.
Nintendo expects to sell 14 million Switch systems during this fiscal year. They already sold 2.7 million last fiscal year, so they estimate that they’ll have shifted 16 million within its first year on the market. If they meet this goal, they will have outsold the Wii U’s life to date install base (yes you read that right) in just one year. What a turn around!