This is in a year with Smash and Pokemon, let me remind you.
Nintendo’s prediction of selling 20 million units of the Switch this year seems a bit outrageous- it’s not unrealistic, especially since the console is no longer suffering from shortages, can now get price drops because of economies of scale kicking in, plus, of course, has two of Nintendo’s biggest franchises launching for it this year with Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, and, of course, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
None of this is to say they will hit 20 million, mind you- that’s a very difficult target- but they will at least come close to it, even if they finally end up at, say, 17-18 million units sold. Which sounds like a reasonable assessment (they sold 17.9 million at the end of its first financial year).
Michael Pachter disagrees, however. The analyst, who works for Wedbush Securities, recently talked about the Switch’s prospects on his webshow (which you can view below), where, responding to a user’s question, he said that not only will Nintendo not hit its 20 million units sold projection, but that they will only sell 8 million units for the entire financial year instead. Which, uh, huh.
“Look, I think Nintendo is just out of touch,” he said. “I mean, I think they have no idea what they’re doing. The software is great, and the marketing people are really great at doing what they can with the product they have.
“But the Switch is way too late. What really happened is, they completely whiffed on Wii U and, had the Switch come out when the Wii U came out, I think they would have been in the lead this cycle. It didn’t. They launched the Switch way late, and it’s priced too high, so the Switch costs the same as a PS4, and if you, really, you’re only gonna get one console, why would you get a Switch over a PS4? Answer: you love Nintendo first-party titles. But short of that? No, you won’t. I think you get it in addition to a PS4. But I don’t think you get it instead of a PS4. You’re not gonna get it to play all the games that you can on the PS4. So I think they already blew it in this cycle.”
“So, when you talk about what’s gonna change, Nintendo is a backward-looking company,” he continued. “They manage by looking in the rear-view mirror at their past success. Their ex-CEO Kimishima committed to 20 million Switches this year; they’re tracking to do 8 million. They’re missing by a mile. Their new CEO, starting at the end of May, Furukawa, I’ve never met the guy. We’ll see what he says. But the fact is, it’s priced too high to sell 20 million a year; the Wii sold 20 million a year and was priced at $199, and then $149. This thing needs to drop to $199 to have a chance of selling this kind of numbers.”
Okay, let’s just talk about the fact that Nintendo sold 7 million units of Switch units last Holiday season alone (in a period of three months), with the console facing severe shortages, and with fewer games available. Pachter thinks the Switch, with better bundles, abundant supply, Smash and Pokemon in the pipeline, and more content to boot, will sell 8 million for an entire year after that?
I can’t even see where is coming from on that. I think Nintendo’s 20 million prediction is a little unrealistic, yes- but 8 million is just going in the opposite direction to a ridiculous degree. That said, Mr. Pachter has made this same prediction previously as well (well, not the 8 million but, just the not hitting 20 million part). Let’s see if he is right in the end.
On the other end of the spectrum, Japanese analyst Hideki Yasuda is falling on the complete opposite end of the spectrum and predicting that Switch’s sales will exceed Nintendo’s predicted figures, and sell a total of 25 million units. Which… yeah, almost just as hard to swallow.