A recent Bloomberg report reveals that Nintendo plans to increase production of Nintendo Switch hardware in the fiscal year starting in April. A rather unexpected move at this point in the console’s life (the Nintendo Switch was released in March 2017), Nintendo believes it can sell more consoles by meeting demand now that the chip shortage is more or less over.
However, this assumption is challenged by analyst forecasts. For example, Kenji Fukuyama, director of equity research at UBS Securities, said in a statement:
Last holiday season, sales were not very strong even with the improved supply. People will soon start speculating about the next generation hardware and will probably refrain from buying the old system. A slowdown in Switch sales momentum is inevitable.
Historically, sales of Nintendo consoles have been largely driven by the company’s biggest first-party exclusives. The Fire Emblem Engage is out today, but it’s not one of the big IPs. The only sure-fire 2023 heavyweight is The Legend of Zelda: Tears of Kingdom, which could definitely boost Nintendo Switch sales when it releases on May 12th, especially if Nintendo is preparing to launch with a special console, as suggested by a recent leak information also suggests.
However, Nintendo’s real ace up its sleeve may be Metroid Prime 4. Nintendo Switch fans have been waiting a long time for this game, which was originally announced at E3 2017. At the time, Nintendo planned to outsource development to Bandai Namco Studios, but the project had to be restarted in early 2019 under its usual caretaker, Retro Studios. We don’t know many details about it, although the job announcements at the end of 2020 suggest that the game will focus more on emotional and innovative scenes that enhance the narrative. If Nintendo were to release both The Legend of Zelda and Metroid in the same year, Switch hardware sales could actually beat analyst estimates.
On the other hand, the successor to the Nintendo Switch is likely slated for a 2024 release, as the Japanese company is still focused on the 2023 production of the Switch.