When Nintendo finally announced that the mysterious system called NX was actually the Nintendo Switch, investors were not happy. They wanted to see more lucrative, microtransaction-fueled mobile games that people could dump virtual quarters into. Industry analysts, however, are far more optimistic. Industry analyst firm DFC Intelligence sees the system selling 40 million units through 2020 or, in other words, about as many systems each year as the Nintendo Wii U sold in its entire, short lifetime.
“Demand is expected to be strong and the major issue will be whether the system can attract a broad audience starting in the holiday sales season of 2017,” DFCI said. So while The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is crucial to the system’s launch, Super Mario Odyssey will be even more important to the console making it in the marketplace in the long term.
“The Switch is a compelling piece of hardware that could potentially reach a much larger addressable market,” said DFC Intelligence head David Cole in a statement to GamesIndustry.biz. “However, given the limited software and Nintendo’s poor recent track record of introducing new products we have tempered our forecasts to be conservative.”
Like pushing a rock up a hill
While Nintendo has the best characters and longest-running game franchises in their stable, they have an uphill battle ahead of them. The company has continued to focus on more casual gamers while leaving behind the core gamers that pick the system up in its infancy. It’s followed that initial message with a sparse offering of their own titles and even less impressive third-party support.
The first year-or-so of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One’s lifespans effectively set the tone and pace for each system. Microsoft has done a lot to turn that around by listening to their most vocal consumers. Similarly, Nintendo has about a year – or less – to get the Switch off the ground. The company has always done its own thing and, to some degree, that’s why they’re still around and making their own stuff. But the company will have to compromise soon and begin listening to their fans if the Switch is to hit the high mark set by DFC Intelligence.