Nintendo is celebrating the end of a pretty good first year for the Nintendo Switch, with just over 15 million unit sales in the 12 months ending in March (on top of almost 3 million sales in the console’s launch month of March 2017). But Nintendo seems pretty sure that the system can perform even better in the coming fiscal year, and the company is projecting 20 million sales in the coming 12 months in a new annual report.
That target is actually a little below reports from last November, which suggested Nintendo would target annual sales of 25 million to 30 million Switch systems. Selling 20 million units in the coming year would put the Switch in the same sales range as the PS4 (which sold 17.7 million units in its second full year) but behind the sales mania of the Nintendo Wii, which sold 25.94 million units in its second full year.
The October launch of Super Mario Odyssey seems to be driving at least some of Nintendo’s hardware optimism. The game has already sold over 10.4 million units, outpacing Mario Kart 8 (9.22 million) and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (8.48 million) despite being on the market for a much shorter time. The fact that Mario Odyssey was included in a special holiday bundle with the Switch probably didn’t hurt that performance, either.
Of course, Nintendo’s projections could be off, in either direction. A year ago, Nintendo was projecting sales of just 10 million Switch units for its first full year and was forced to increase production significantly ahead of the holiday season to reach 15 million annual sales.
Even that increase was undersold, though; Nintendo is currently one million sales ahead of the life-to-date Switch sales projections it set back in October. As Nintendo Senior Director of Corporate Communications Charlie Scibetta told Ars back in June, “we anticipated there was going to be demand for it, but the demand has been even higher than we thought.”
All those Switch owners will have a new Super Smash Bros. game to look forward to in 2018, according to Nintendo’s calendar, though those titles have a history of seeing their release dates slip. Players may have to wait longer for other previously announced marquee Switch releases like Pokemon (listed as “2018 or later”) and Metroid Prime 4 (“to be announced”).
Despite some previous signs of continued strength for the slowly declining Nintendo 3DS, the last 12 months saw worldwide sales for that system decline from 5.5 million units to about 3.6 million units. Nintendo predicts a further decline to just 1.6 million 3DS unit sales in the coming fiscal year, even with some continued software support from new Luigi’s Mansion and WarioWare games coming this year.