Nintendo released an update to its yearly earnings forecast today, substantially increasing the amount of profit it expects to earn through the end of its fiscal year (Nintendo’s fiscal year ends in March, not on December 31). The Switch has had a dynamite year, outselling the PS4 and Xbox One at multiple points since its debut, and that trend is only set to increase. Nintendo has boosted Switch manufacturing and could beat the Wii U’s entire lifetime sales in just one year.
Nintendo now expects to earn $ 1.06 billion in profits for its full fiscal year, compared with roughly 576 million in its earlier forecasts, Reuters reports (via Geek.com). Switch shipment figures have been raised from 10 million to 14 million, which puts the console on track to crush the Wii U’s five-year run of 13.56 million units. Thus far, the Switch is thought to have sold a bit more than half its 14 million target, with 7.63 million units shipped as of September 30.
This coming holiday season will be a key test for the Switch. Sony and Microsoft are both pushing their own games and hardware bundles heavily, and Nintendo hasn’t had to go head-to-head with a major console refresh cycle yet. The Switch’s game library is also far smaller than the more-established consoles, which might limit its appeal.
Still, if we’re being honest, neither of these sounds like critical factors. The Xbox One is more likely to see robust sales than the PS4, courtesy of the much-hyped Xbox One X refresh, but it’s not clear how much overlap there is between Switch customers and Xbox One X customers. With the Switch starting at $ 300 before games, extra controllers, or other peripherals, and the Xbox One X weighing in at $ 500, that’s a pretty expensive set of Christmas presents. Obviously some households will get both, but I’m not betting most will.
It’s a bit of a shame that the Wii U sold so poorly–the console was a better product that many gave it credit for. Personally, I think its failure was a combination of a poor product name–“Wii U” sounds like an accessory, not a new platform–but also exceptionally poor timing. The Wii carved out a niche for itself by offering support for standard-definition TV resolutions when 720p and 1080p screens were really just starting to hit the mass market. It was dramatically less expensive than the other consoles, had new motion controls, and could field weaker graphics partly because it had a lower base resolution.
In contrast, the Wii U balanced higher performance against a tiny chassis and low-power operation, and offered Xbox 360 or PS3 era graphics at a time when the Xbox One and PS4 were barely a year away. Its gamepad design never really caught on. There were so great first-party titles for the Wii U, but it never cracked the mass market. The Switch, in contrast, is firing on all thrusters.