The Nintendo Switch Could Outsell The PS4 – If Nintendo Could Get Out of Their Own Way For Once

Despite being an excellent hardware, the Switch’s potential is not being maximized.

Posted By | On 06th, Aug. 2017 Under Article, Editorials | Follow This Author @Pramath1605


Let’s talk about the Nintendo Switch. It’s been breaking all manner of records, and it continues to sell at a ridiculous pace- such a ridiculous one, in fact, that it is trending at matching or even exceeding the Wii U’s lifetime sales within just a year on the market. Excitement for the system appears to have no end, as Nintendo has clearly struck a chord with its system made for a mobile generation. A system that accommodates its players, and a system that has launched with some killer games, with many more on the horizon.

It’s no wonder the Switch is selling as well as it is- but here’s the amazing thing, it could be selling even better. Much better. The Switch has managed to sell almost 5 million units in 4 months (at an average of over a million units sold a month), but that number was ultimately throttled by ridiculous supply constraints. A Nintendo Switch is still a hard thing to see in the wild, at a retail store- the system is in a perennial state of being sold out, because Nintendo can’t seem to make enough of them.

On one level, this is a good problem to have- it clearly indicates you have a popular product, which the Switch is. But on the other hand, you don’t want it to be exhausting and tiring to just be able to buy the damn thing, which is what the Switch has become at this point. A more disengaged buyer, who might want to buy a Switch to play Zelda and Mario Kart, as well as the upcoming cool looking Super Mario Odyseey game (plus the prospect of FIFA and Skyrim on the move) will find that they can’t-  it’s not available in any store, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to when it is restocked, and unless they want to spend hundreds of dollars online to pay scalpers, they might as well just give up.

Here’s the thing, though- this person who is currently interested in a Switch, because of the great word of mouth, and the killer reviews for Zelda, will not always be interested in it. If they can’t find it after a certain amount of effort, they’re going to give up, and the $300 they could have spent on the Switch will go elsewhere. They might go to an iPad or a Kindle, or they might go to a PS4 or an Xbox One- either way, it is a lost sale for Nintendo, at least in the near term.

"Here’s the thing, though- this person who is currently interested in a Switch, because of the great word of mouth, and the killer reviews for Zelda, will not always be interested in it. If they can’t find it after a certain amount of effort, they’re going to give up, and the $300 they could have spent on the Switch will go elsewhere."

This is ultimately down to Nintendo’s total inability to produce enough Switch units. If they had produced more, more than 5 million would be sold at present- simply judging by how the demand is at the moment. They did not, and thus, they left money on the table.

Now, I do understand that the present supply shortages are not actually Nintendo’s fault. As it stands right now, Nintendo had an initial forecast of 10 million units for the first full financial year the Switch would be on the market, and they planned for that. When the Switch started trending above the forecast, they revised their production numbers upwards- and here, they ran into a wall, because as it turns out, the NAND chip, a crucial component for the Nintendo Switch, is in severely short supply worldwide. Why? Because Apple is currently hogging most NAND production facilities to fuel production of its upcoming iPhone 8, presumably. But whatever the reason is, Nintendo now finds itself unable to increase production for the Switch, even if it wants to, and it sees money slipping away that rightfully could have been its.

To Nintendo’s credit, it has done the best it can at countering this issue- it air freighted units to meet supply (meaning it took a loss on individual units just to meet demand) in March and April, and it has very clearly ramped up its production, promising that supply problems should be alleviated somewhat starting July- something that, as of right now, we have been seeing (there have been more Switch units available at retail worldwide in July than there were in May or June, at least anecdotally speaking).

But the problem is, it should never have come to this- Nintendo should have had a proper contingency in place. I can understand being conservative coming off of the Wii U, and taking things slowly- but I can’t understand having absolutely no contingency in place once trends were clear.

nintendo new logo

"It could end up becoming Nintendo’s signature gaming device, and it could end up outselling all other contemporary gaming machines, including the PS4, because the PS4 will eventually end up hitting a wall in its appeal as a home console. But it won’t. It won’t, because Nintendo won’t get out of its own way."

Which brings me to the larger point I am trying to make- the Switch could be doing fantastically well. In the long run, it could end up being the highest selling game device of its era. Its unique larger appeal owing to its intrinsic value to a fast moving millennial generation, as well as its positioning as a gaming tablet, make it a lifestyle device that ultimately many could own- just like they own a Kindle or an iPad, they could have a Switch. It could end up becoming Nintendo’s signature gaming device, and it could end up outselling all other contemporary gaming machines, including the PS4, because the PS4 will eventually end up hitting a wall in its appeal as a home console.

But it won’t. It won’t, because Nintendo won’t get out of its own way. Nintendo is being too conservative, which is good business, but it also stifles any potential for growth. The Switch could be Nintendo’s new breakout moment- heck, it already is, but it could be even more so- were Nintendo not so conservative. This isn’t just about production and supply for it- this is about their approach to the system in its entirety. Nintendo needs to commit to the Switch and go all in- not send mixed messaging regarding whether or not the 3DS will co-exist alongside the Switch, or if it will have a successor. Just commit to the Switch, because the Switch as earned that commitment.

In the long run, could the Switch actually sell over 100 million units like Nintendo wants? It could. It really could. But the core issue here is not going to be a lack of third party games, or perceived competition from PS4 or Xbox One, or even iPad and Android devices- in the long run, the biggest problem the Switch will have in its road to eventual success, will be Nintendo itself.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to GamingBolt as an organization.


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  • J.j. Barrington

    There is ZERO chance, no matter what they do, at this point.

    • baxtus

      Over the long run they can, PS4 will probably tap out around 100-110 mil

      Switch could reach that, if they are able to ramp up production

    • J.j. Barrington

      Even if they could increase production, it would take YEARS for the to catch the PS4, even if the PS4 stopped selling right this moment… and who’s to say the Switch won’t “tap out” in the 80 million range?

    • baxtus

      Unlikely, Wii made over 100 million, DS made over 150 Million

      Switch’s Current demand is more akin to those two machines compared to 3DS and Wii U

      Both DS and Wii also had long running shortages in their early years

    • J.j. Barrington

      So did the Wii U.

      And this isn’t the Wii OR the DS. A number of factors are different, like the markets they target, and the competition they face. Currently, the Switch is even competing AGAINST the 3DS; the others you mention didn’t have that happening, let alone what could wind up being the best selling console of all time.

    • Hiyperion

      There are quite some things the writers doesn’t take into account, when writing this quite heavily opinionated piece.

      The millennial generation he talks about is the same one that still likes to play the newest COD and BF, or the new Wolfenstein or any new and quite heavily HW demanding titles.

      Things I don’t see coming to the Switch… not unless the studios go and severely redesign the games to work on the quite under-powered system. Something already “disproved” by the Titanfall 2 developer – albeit in a quite crass manner.

      Second point of contention is not taking into account that albeit the ps4 might hit a wall in 1-2 years time, I’m expecting Sony to release a PS5 in the same time frame, which would severely (imo) impact the sales of the Switch, because the games that would work on something like the PS5 would not work on the Switch as the difference in HW would be just to big.

      And as if any of that wasn’t enough there’s still the price point difference, you can get a ps4 for cheaper than the Switch, and you have a lot more games to chose from/play as well, they are also cheaper than Nintendo games. Nintendo has the tendency to not lower the prices of their games – especially the heavy hitter ones – for a very long time.

    • J.j. Barrington

      We call that nonsense around here: using your head is frowned upon.

    • Hiyperion

      I own both the Wii and the Wii U, but there quite many and quite big issues the writer doesn’t take into account.

    • J.j. Barrington

      There was never any intent to take them into account, either. That’s just who this author is.

    • baxtus

      Wii u wasn’t supply constrained this long

      3DS is fading, not competition.

      Less competition today as no PSP exists

    • J.j. Barrington

      Keep trying.

    • baxtus

      No need to try, I’ve already laid out the facts

    • J.j. Barrington

      But you didn’t lay out facts, and you’re ignoring quite a bit.

    • baxtus

      Then show me a contrary argument if you claim otherwise

    • J.j. Barrington

      It’s already been done.

    • baxtus

      I haven’t seen any

    • J.j. Barrington

      That’s your problem, frankly.

    • Fweds

      Will it make any difference to you if the Nintendo does outsell the PS4 ?

    • J.j. Barrington

      No, but it won’t, so…?

    • Fweds

      You mean like your so called “Facts” that you tried to sneak in when the Xbox Live network Beat the PSN network in every way but one in the independent tests ?

      LOL.

    • Saraacatoe

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    • Fweds

      Judging by the amount of posts you have posted here I take it that it would actually bother you in some way if the Nintendo outsells the PS4.

  • YRD

    IF IF IF. Dont give me IF. Do it.

  • chefgon

    I don’t know, they had a contingency plan to double their production, which puts their first year shipments higher than the Wii, which is their best selling console ever. Maybe that’s still not enough, but to say they had no backup plan is just untrue.

  • Rami Seb

    Could it? Possibly

    Will it? Probably not. PS4 has waaay too much of a lead, it’d be more competitive if the Switch launched at the same time instead of the disaster that was the Wii U

  • Nine

    I highly doubt that but maybe next year when they release Pokémon on the switch

    • Maetspangler

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  • YOUDIEMOFO

    The switch is to underpowered to last long enough to make that much competition for the long haul.

    It will get a refresh of that week sauce hardware sooner than later I can guarantee that.


 

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