Nintendo is in control this Holiday season.
This Holiday season is Nintendo’s to lose. Look, here is the thing- the Holiday season has traditionally been when Nintendo has performed the strongest. No other company in the industry enjoys as much of a bump during the Holidays as Nintendo does (and even as unappealing a product as the Wii U got a lift from the Holiday effect multiple times in North America).
But that’s context and precedence. Let’s talk about the Switch in particular- Nintendo has, here, the most exciting new tech product of the year (especially given the relatively muted response to the iPhone 8 and Galaxy S8), incredibly powerful word of mouth, superlatively good marketing, an extremely well received and desirable lineup of exclusive games, glowing media coverage adding to the halo surrounding the system, and just inherently appealing hardware that fits into the modern lifestyle and appeals to even those who otherwise do not have the time to sit down and play games for hours at a stretch.
Nintendo is offering all of this for a $300 price- with the perception that the year’s best games (such as Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild) are playable only on it, and that it can play some of the most beloved games of the last few years (such as Skyrim and Rocket League), too. The long and short of this is- there is literally no reason for the Switch to not explode out of the gates this Holiday. There is absolutely no reason for it to not outsell the PS4 and Xbox One- especially given the relatively weaker standings of both of those systems going into this Holiday season.
"The long and short of this is- there is literally no reason for the Switch to not explode out of the gates this Holiday. There is absolutely no reason for it to not outsell the PS4 and Xbox One- especially given the relatively weaker standings of both of those systems going into this Holiday season."
After all, unlike Nintendo, who will be buoyed by Mario, the general excitement around the Switch, and the relentless slew of releases over the next few weeks, Sony and Microsoft have relatively little. Microsoft is launching a brand new console, the Xbox One X, but without much in the way of showcase games for it- which in and of itself isn’t too bad (the PS4 didn’t launch with much either, as an example), but it is also $500, when during the Holidays, the cheaper, the better.
And Sony? Sony have no new hardware launch, no exclusives (other than Gran Turismo Sport), but what they do have is bundles and marketing deals with the most popular third party games of the year. While that should help, one must also consider that at this point, anyone who wanted to play Call of Duty, Destiny, or Star Wars almost certainly already owns a PS4 (that’s how they sold 65 million of them).
So, Nintendo stands alone, and with its way to victory clear. And yet, and yet, in spite of this, I would be hesitant to proclaim them as the guaranteed victors of this contest just yet. You see, as I have stated before previously, Nintendo’s biggest obstacle to success is not the competition- it is Nintendo themselves.
The Switch could sell a lot– we already know the system has a ridiculous amount of appeal, because of the extent to which it dominated the NPD hardware charts in the month of September (a relatively muted month for Switch retail game releases, and a month where the competition saw highly anticipated games like Destiny 2 launch). People want to buy the Switch- if Nintendo will let them.
Which brings me to the crux of my point- whether or not Nintendo does well this Holiday season is dependant entirely on Nintendo themselves. It is contingent on how much stock for the system they can supply. The system has suffered from chronic, acute shortages all year long, ever since its launch – though to Nintendo’s credit, the situation finally seems to be stabilizing now. But whether or not that holds once Mario is out is as of right now unknown- and at that point, realistically the only thing capping Switch’s success will be Nintendo’s ability to actually make the damn things.
"Victory is in Nintendo’s hands- now they have to reach out and grab it. If they choose to mess this up, then them not winning this Holiday season will be on them, and on them alone."
The good news is, all indications are that Nintendo have actually substantially increased supply, with some reports going as far as to claim that Nintendo is manufacturing a staggering 2 million units a month now (which would imply 24 million a year). That number is almost certainly unlikely to be accurate- but there have been enough reports suggesting that Nintendo has dramatically increased Switch production for us to suppose that they definitely have prepared for the eventuality that they may end up having to ship and sell more than the 10 million units that they wanted to this financial year. Which is to say- Nintendo has definitely increased stock.
The question now is, will it be enough? Because if Nintendo can match supply to demand, then they are in to have a historic Holiday season this year, and their victory is assured. If not… well, it depends on how much of the supply they can meet. If they can meet enough of it, they will still win (though not by the extent that they could have). If they manage to not meet most of it, however, then they have dropped the ball, and Sony or Microsoft will have the chance to take the crown.
Victory is in Nintendo’s hands- now they have to reach out and grab it. If they choose to mess this up, then them not winning this Holiday season will be on them, and on them alone.
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.