The Q and A session from last week’s financial briefing for the end of the fiscal year 2016/2017 has been officially translated as of today. Unlike some prior Q and A’s, there wasn’t a ton of brand new information. A lot of it is just repeating the company line. However, one area that is repeated is noteworthy personally, because Nintendo is still holding fast to their goal of making the Nintendo Switch as popular as the Nintendo Wii in overall sales. The Wii, which topped 100 million units sold worldwide, is Nintendo’s best selling home console of all time.
President and CEO of Nintendo, Tatsumi Kimishima, had this to say about the Wii compared to the Switch:
I’d like to know as much as you can share about the basis for your short and medium-term sales forecasts of Nintendo Switch. In particular, are you expecting 10 million hardware shipments during this fiscal year because that’s the number your total anticipated demand in each region led you to, or are you looking at your software lineup for this period and predicting how much hardware you think you can sell? Also, you have been quoted in the media as saying that you want sales of Nintendo Switch to match the Wii sales. Should we take that to mean that your sales target for hardware is going to be 100 million units? If so, then do you envision Nintendo Switch selling not just one per household, but one per person?
Kimishima: We set this fiscal year’s 10 million shipment forecast for Nintendo Switch based on the fact that we were able to ship 2.74 million units during the last fiscal year, which was well above our initial forecast of 2 million units, combined with the response our sales offices around the world have reported from retailers and consumers about the software we will be releasing during this period. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was released today and although we did not cover it when creating our sales plans, it has gotten especially positive reviews. Feedback from consumers at our ARMS and Splatoon 2 preview events has been positive, as well. We have also gotten good feedback about 1-2-Switch, Financial Results Briefing for Fiscal Year Ended March 2017 Nintendo Co., Ltd. 4 which has already been released, and offers consumers a new gaming experience that takes advantage of the unique strengths of Nintendo Switch. All this together gives me the sense that Nintendo Switch is going to outperform our initial expectations.
For us, being able to reach an installed base of more than 10 million units is fundamental to creating a strong business in a number of different ways. Shipping 10 million hardware units this fiscal year, as planned, will give publishers and the rest of our business partners a sense that the future of Nintendo Switch is more promising. This is another part of the reason why we are planning to ship 10 million units this fiscal year.
The truth is we want to raise the installed base of Nintendo Switch up to the same level as Wii. As we mentioned during our presentation, Nintendo Switch in America had the fastest start of any Nintendo hardware, despite launching in March. In the video game business, it’s important for consumers to feel that a sales momentum is going to grow, and we are setting a standard with Nintendo Switch to release a continuous string of major software titles from now on. And if our sales go according to our plan this fiscal year, we will be able to see Nintendo Switch gaining the momentum in which it can approach relative parity with Wii afterwards.
Plus, considering that Nintendo Switch is a home console video game system that you can take with you on the go so you can play anytime, anywhere, with anyone, we think there will be households that feel as though one is not really enough. This is another point that drives us to match the scale of Wii’s popularity with Nintendo Switch.
It’s a lofty goal, especially given there isn’t some big “game changing” hit yet, like Brain Age and Nintendogs was for DS, or Wii Sports was for the Wii. Still, is there a large enough audience of lapsed Nintendo fans they can bring back into the fold?