January 3, 2018
Nintendo Switch, which debuted in March, is the company’s fastest-selling video game system ever. Its popularity has strained Nintendo’s pipeline, as the demand has outstripped supply in Japan and the U.S. In response, Nintendo raised its internal target for first-year sales from 10 million to 16 million. After several quarters of losses, Nintendo announced $209 million in profits in its October quarterly report, driving Nintendo stock up 75 percent in 2017. The company also finally released a mobile game last year.
The New York Times notes that Nintendo’s release of “Super Mario Run” for the iPhone comes “after years of resistance” to mobile gaming. The company also debuted “new versions of some classic consoles, like the Super Nintendo,” but reports that Nintendo’s real “revenue lift” comes from “its ability to identify and correct several problems with the Wii U, a console it released in 2012.”
The first problem with that console was that “the device’s name implied an iterative upgrade to the Wii, an earlier hit that popularized motion-sensing controllers, but the Wii U was a much different console.”
Nintendo’s Switch is a “truly portable” console, with a “small screen that can be attached directly to the controllers or remain separate and connect to a TV.” Satoru Iwata, Nintendo president when the Wii U was released, before his death in 2015 “pushed the company to refine the Wii U’s design for the Switch,” and “also planned a steady schedule of game releases, to help ensure that the console’s momentum continued in the months after its release.”
Top company executive Shigeru Miyamoto, who created some of Nintendo’s “most celebrated games during the past three decades,” says the Switch combines “all of the different play styles we’ve explored through our products in the past.”
Inventive games released recently include “Breath of the Wild,” which “took the 30-year-old Zelda series into more open worlds,” the “ARMS” boxing game, and “Super Mario Odyssey,” which takes Mario to real-world locations like New York City.
“We have deliberately maintained a pace of content that we were unable to achieve with the Wii U,” said Nintendo of America president Reginald Fils-Aimé. Much of that is being led by “a new generation of young game designers overseen by Shinya Takahashi, a little-known executive who has recently taken over Nintendo’s hardware and software divisions.”
Miyamoto approves, saying that he is “trying to let the younger generation fully take the reins.” “I always look for designers who aren’t super-passionate game fans,” he added. “I make it a point to ensure they’re not just a gamer, but that they have a lot of different interests and skill sets.”
PC Magazine reports that Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima “wants Nintendo to sell another 20 million Switch.” The company expects to sell 37 million units by April 2019, for a sales rate of 1.6 million per month. If that figure holds, the company will sell 50 million units by December 2019.