Nintendo Switch to sell 40m units by 2020 - DFC

Research firm sees hybrid as "compelling" hardware that could reach a larger addressable market

While some have been skeptical of Nintendo's chances with the Switch console, DFC Intelligence is a believer. Today, the research firm issued its forecast for the Switch through 2020, which predicts that Nintendo will manage to shift 40 million units, which would represent almost three times as many units as the Wii U sold in its first four years. DFC acknowledges that initial hardware allocations and a slim launch lineup will limit the system in the beginning but "demand is expected to be strong and the major issue will be whether the system can attract a broad audience starting in the holiday sales season of 2017."

DFC Intelligence head David Cole commented, "The Switch is a compelling piece of hardware that could potentially reach a much larger addressable market. However given the limited software and Nintendo's poor recent track record of introducing new products we have tempered our forecasts to be conservative."

Beating the Wii U's sales total is a very low bar, but whether Switch can sell significantly more than the failed console remains to be seen. The big challenge for Nintendo, as Rob Fahey points out today in his column, will not be competing with Sony and Microsoft, but rather to convince consumers that it's worth spending the money to own the Switch as a second console. Super Mario Odyssey's arrival next holiday season could go a long way towards boosting the system's adoption.

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Latest comments (5)

Jordan Lund Columnist 5 years ago
13 million a year each year for 3 years? Seems highly unlikely.

Microsoft is sitting on, what? 25 million Xbox One sales after just over 3 years...
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Steve Peterson Marketing Consultant 5 years ago
David, with all due respect, I think you are wildly optimistic. I think after an initial flurry of sales to the true believers, the Switch will slow to a crawl in sales due primarily to the high price and the relatively sparse release schedule. Nintendo could certainly boost sales with a price reduction, but I'm sure that is the very last thing they'd want to do. Third-party support seems thin, and the Switch doesn't have the horsepower to handle the latest AAA games for Xbox One and PS4 . The Switch is also built on a very different architecture; the combination of low power and different architecture means that porting any Xbox One/PS4 title would be slow and difficult (and thus expensive). So I don't see the third-party support ever improving very much, if at all.

Thus the Switch's success or failure will ultimately depend on Nintendo's own software -- how good it is, and just as important, how often Nintendo can ship their best titles. Nintendo's ability to do this over the past several years has been spotty at best. I see no reason to believe it will be getting better any time soon.

Finally, Nintendo's online service is likely to be varying degrees of awful, judging by their past efforts. Rather than helping Switch sales, it may very well hurt them.

I see the Switch primarily as an add-on buy for PS4 or Xbox owners, and at $300 with only one great title right away that's a pretty pricey add-on. Perhaps by the end of 2017 it will be more reasonable, with Mario Kart, Splatoon 2, and Super Mario Odyssey to play (assuming there is no delay in shipping any of those). Still, you can buy a whole lot of really good PS4 or Xbox One games for $300. I just cannot see 40 million units in a few years. I think outselling the Wii U is a reasonable goal, but that is a pretty low bar to clear. I think 20 million units of Switch sold in three years would be a reasonable guess.

I think looking at Switch sales this summer should give a good indication of where lifetime sales are headed.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 5 years ago
I have a feeling that those forecast will be slashed by the end of the year, similar to how they slashed their Wii U forecast after it's first year or so on shelves.
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Show all comments (5)
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
If it does 20-25M by that point, I'll eat a shoe (made out of chocolate. I saw that Herzog flick, so I'm betting smart). I like the system myself, but there's a lot to overcome in terms of getting more than die-hard Nintendo fans to commit. No pack-in is mind-boggling to me and although both 1-2 Switch and Snipperclips are fun diversions, they should have both been put on a game card as a pack-in with maaaaaybe a Breath of the Wild demo just to move more copies of that. The price point on the two former titles is quite ridiculous even though both are good for loads of limited grins with the right people.
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Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange5 years ago
A lot of 3DS users will make the Switch once Nintendo and 3rd parties start bringing out the games. Nintendo will be able to sell at least 10 million units this year and 15 to 20 million the following years. By 2020 the Switch will be more affordable and hit that $199.99 price point and come with bundled games. People are forgetting that the Switch supports the latest APIs and game engines like UE4. Games may not look as pretty but the selling point here is portability of said games.
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