The sales of the Nintendo Switch are slowing down significantly, as the plucky handheld hybrid enters its seventh year on sale, with the sales figures for the year just gone sliding further than Nintendo expected, and a further drop projected for the year ahead.
The most recent quarter, ending on 31st March, has pushed the Switch past the 125 million mark, but sales for the full year have declined by 22%. Nintendo had originally projected that FY22-23 would see 21 million consoles sold, but later revised this down to 18 million. In the end they were just a hair short of that later target with 17.97 million consoles sold, but that’s still more than 5 million fewer consoles than in FY21-22.
With the console now heading into its seventh year, Nintendo expect things to continue to slow down, the company stating that “while it will become more challenging to maintain the same sales momentum as before, our goal is to have more consumers continue to play Nintendo Switch for longer, leading to maximized sales. We aim to achieve this by maintaining high user engagement and conveying the appeal of not only new software titles but also titles released in previous years.”
They forecast 15 million console to sell within FY23-24 – ending on 31st March 2024 – and no doubt have high hopes that the impending release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will give a sizeable boost in interest for the console, given how impactful Breath of the Wild was around the console’s launch.
However, speaking on a call to investors, Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa did also note that this 15 million target was “a bit of a stretch”, per Bloomberg.
The reality is that the Switch will be facing more difficulty to sway buyers when stacked up against the games and experiences that PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X can offer. Nintendo was surely able to benefit from those consoles having constrained supply through 2021, and Sony and Microsoft’s machines should be approaching their peak, with this their third year on the market. This tail off for Nintendo Switch could be a major dent to any hopes that it can catch the Nintendo DS (154 million) or PlayStation 2 (155 million) for lifetime sales.