They are preparing for the Big Bull. Here’s the story:
We already knew that the Switch was Nintendo’s fastest-selling console ever, but we now have an idea as to how many units it’s pushing out. The WSJ says Nintendo plans to double production from 8 million units to 16 million for its 2017 fiscal year (starting in April) in order to keep up with higher-than-expected sales.
Before it started shipping, analysts figured Nintendo would sell just 5 million units in its first year, due to the relatively high $300 price tag and lack of a free game with the console. However, strong early reviews and the widely-praised Zelda: Breath of the Wild launch title pushed sales to 1.5 million in the first week alone, and Nintendo could ship as many as 2.5 million units in the first month, the WSJ says.
The great Yamauchi said, “NES is just a box people buy to get to Mario!” Iwata and Miyamoto disagreed with this statement for the Wii U before it launched. Look what happened. It is clear that Zelda is driving Switch sales (and other software, but mostly Zelda). Great software sells hardware… so long as the hardware isn’t a mess.
Switch is selling for other reasons too. Console style gaming with cards instead of discs is a major factor in people willing to buy this game console. I have a stack of the three carts right next to my Switch now. It reminds me of the ‘good old days’ when I had stacks of NES or SNES games as I would go through them.
I’ve always dreamed of the return of NES quality (or SNES if you like) gaming. What I mean by this is that the NES games were lightning in bottles. So many franchises began on the NES. These games were and still are incredible. Look at the STILL SOLD OUT Classic NES Mini. If the games are still selling like that in 2017, imagine how revolutionary and awesome they were in 1985-1990. Super Mario Brothers 1,2 3, Zelda 1 and 2, Metroid, Kirby, Tetris, Dr. Mario, and those were the Nintendo published ones. Japanese third parties like Konami and Capcom put out such incredible software at that time. Sunsoft too and others.
SNES was good but felt something was getting bloated, something was getting off. So much software was being divided between SNES, TG16, and Genesis too during the 16-bit generation. During Generation 3, it was all essentially on one console which was incredible.
Breath of the Wild is gold cartridge quality. I’m only 35 hours in, only defeated first dungeon, and as flawed as the game is, the strengths of Zelda outweigh the carcass dead weight of Aonuma-isms still stinking up the game (WTF is with those temples with motion controlled ball rolling puzzles? Fuck you, aonuma!).
If we can get a quality Zelda title (look how starved the market was for it!), imagine what happens if we get a quality Mario title or quality Metroid title. What if we get some quality third party games? Some of these indie games are amazing and can rival the quality of some of the 8/16 bit classics.
Above: Rich variety of software free from Western AAA gaming!
I just remember the NES going so fast, that there was so much software coming out (and the market just inhaling it), that I had to go rent STACKS of NES games and just play them all to find out what the hell is going on with this console. Could it get that way with the Switch? Maybe. It did get that way with the DS.
For the Switch, I said it would have a ‘small bull’ phase and then leading to a ‘big bull’ phase. I imagine the Switch to perform more similar to the Nintendo DS. DS launched well but had a sad launch line-up (it really is sad, look at it. Ugh). But Nintendo and some third parties (Square and Final Fantasy 3, Konami and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow) put out quality software and we watched the DS just take off like a farg out of hell! DS Lite revision launched at same time as NSMB DS and that launched the DS off in the United States (by launch, I mean selling out of huge stocks).
Switch is in the ‘small bull’ phase. I expect supply to overtake demand, and we will see Switches on shelves everywhere. Then more quality software comes out which triggers a social phenomenon, and everyone runs out and buys all the Switches. This would be the start of the ‘big bull’ phase where all this MASSIVE amount of Switch units is sold. Imagine those 16 million Switch units all building up in inventory and then, suddenly, just selling out. It could happen! What game would trigger the ‘big bull’ phase? It might be Pokemon. It might be something else.
Then again, Switch could keep selling out for years on end. This happened with the Wii of course. But I think sales trajectory will be more like DS as I see the Switch more as a souped up DS (DS played as a handheld around the house).
These are exciting times. “Dead on arrival…” Hardcore gamers always wrong!