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Nintendo Switch sales below expectations despite Black Friday boost



Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch had an impressive launch, but
growth has slowed in its second year.


  • Nintendo recently reported record
    sales in the United States during Black Friday weekend, with
    shoppers buying more than $250 million worth of Nintendo
  • The company’s newest console, the Nintendo Switch, saw a 115%
    sales boost compared to Black Friday 2017, but it’s still
    lagging behind overall sales projections previously set by
  • Nintendo also revealed that 8 million Switch consoles
    have been purchased in the U.S. since its launch in March 2017.
    The company expects to sell 38 million Switch units worldwide
    by March 2019.

Shoppers in the U.S. spent more than $250 million on Nintendo
products during the Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend,
breaking multiple company sales records in the process.

The company’s newest video game console, the Nintendo Switch, saw
a 115% increase in sales compared to Black Friday 2017 and sold
better than any Nintendo console ever during the holiday weekend,
the company said. Nintendo also sold more than one million games
during the holiday weekend, an increase of 78% from last

However, despite the record-setting weekend, some analysts are
not confident in the Switch’s future and the console appears to
be lagging behind Nintendo’s own sales goals. The company expects
to sell 38 million Switch consoles worldwide by March 2019, but
research notes from multiple analysts compiled by Bloomberg project
sales of 35 million, falling short of that benchmark.

Is a lack of innovation hurting the Switch?

Nintendo SwitchNintendo

Switch sales are still slowly growing over time, but the console
hasn’t had the same mainstream impact of its predecessor, the
Nintendo Wii. The Nintendo Switch actually sold faster than the Wii did
at launch, selling 4.8 million in the U.S. its first 10 months
compared to the Wii’s 4 million. But sales have slowed after the
initial excitement died down, leaving the Switch at 8 million
units sold in its first 20 months, compared to more than 10
million Wii consoles sold in the same period, according to the
NPD Group. Nintendo’s follow-up to the Wii, the Wii U, sold just
over 3 million in its first 20 months, qualifying it as a flop.

Read more:
The Nintendo Switch is having a
surprisingly weak second year

The Wii became massively popular for its motion controls, which
helped make the console more appealing for non-traditional
gamers. The primary innovation for the Switch is its hybrid
nature; it has the power of a home console but can also be taken
on the go as a portable gaming system. Nintendo’s handheld
systems, including the Game Boy and 3DS, have always been
successful and the Switch feels like a logical next step for the
company; but it doesn’t seem to have the same level of innovation
that created a cultural phenomenon around the Wii.

More high-profile games will help boost sales

Super Mario Party
“Super Mario Party” is
fun, but the Switch needs more exciting games to bring new buyers
on board.

“Super Mario

A lack of major titles has
likely impacted Switch sales as well. After releasing Switch
games for its two biggest franchises, “The Legend of Zelda” and
“Super Mario,” in 2017 and bringing some of the more successful
Wii U games to the new console, Nintendo slowed its release
schedule. Sales have still been healthy thanks to titles like
“Super Mario Party” and “Kirby Star Allies” selling more than
three million copies combined, but few of the new games are the
kind of high-profile releases that help sell consoles.

The two biggest Switch games of
, “Pokémon: Let’s Go” and “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate”
are releasing less than one month apart. Nintendo reported more
than 1.5 million copies of the new Pokémon games have been
sold in the U.S. within the first 10 days of release, and the
December 7th launch of “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” is even more
highly-anticipated. The holiday release of both games will help
boost Switch sales through the end of the year and push Nintendo
closer to its March 2019 goal of 38 million sold — and it
feasible could hit its sales goal if the Switch out-performs
analysts’ projections.

While the Switch may not be the console that defines the next
generation of video games, it continues to see steady growth and
hasn’t disappointed early adopters. The original Wii and the Wii
U both suffered from a lack of third-party titles. When Nintendo
wasn’t delivering their own games, other developers hesitated to
commit to Nintendo’s unusual hardware and outdated online
features. A healthy install base and overhauled online offerings
have kept major publishers and indie studios invested in
releasing their games on the Switch, including more mature rated
titles, which were a rarity on the Wii.

The Switch also has a greater commitment to offline multiplayer
gaming compared to other gaming consoles, and has no shortage of
games to friends play together on a single Switch, or multiple
Switch consoles. Nintendo’s first-party games like “Pokémon:
Let’s Go” and “Super Mario Odyssey” have also included special
cooperative modes so family members can share play time, or a more
casual gamer can help out a friend without having to learn how to
play a brand new game.

If Nintendo remains consistent in bringing its fan-favorite
series to the console and maintains support from third-party
developers, the Switch should have a healthy future ahead — even
if it doesn’t change the way we play games.

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