Infamous industry analyst Michael Pachter recently appeared in his regular video series the ‘Pachter Factor’, where he answers questions from fans about the gaming industry. In the latest episode, number 72, one of the questions that came up was related to the Nintendo Switch. Seeing that the system has had strong sales since it launched back in March, the person who asked the question to Pachter was wondering if this could entice either Sony or Microsoft to create their own hybrid devices, thus directly competing with the Switch.
Pachter immediately dismissed the idea of either company creating a hybrid system, noting that Sony has not found a lot of success in the portable market with the PSP and PS Vita both being trumped by their competitors. Microsoft has yet to release a portable system, and Pachter doesn’t expect them to make a move in that market anytime soon. He then shifted the focus to the beginning of the question where the Switch’s strong sales were mentioned.
Comparing the Switch to other handhelds, Pachter doesn’t expect it to do very well. His reason for this is viewpoint is the price, but he noted that it’s impossible to know until “supply and demand are in balance”. He pointed to Nintendo’s goal of selling 10 million Switch units this fiscal year, saying that “we’ll see”. Overall, he expects the Switch to sell about 50-70 million in its lifetime, but stands firm on the notion that price will ultimately be deciding factor:
“If they keep the price at $300, it will sell 50 (million). If they cut the price to $200 pretty quickly, it will sell 70 million. If they cut the price to $100, it will sell 90 million. But, at a price…everything is all based on supply and demand. If demand goes up, then price goes down. So, “success”, at $300 then there’s no way they’re selling more than 50 million—no chance.”
My response to this is that Pachter is a bit off by trying to compare the Switch to other handhelds. I’ve emphasized this many times in the past—the Switch is a home console first-and-foremost. Nintendo itself classifies the Switch as a home console with the functionality to be transformed into a portable device. As a result, any comparisons that should be made needs to be against other home platforms, whether they be from Nintendo or its competitors.
On that note, if the Switch does sell 50 million like Pachter thinks it will, then that would basically tie it with the SNES as the third-best selling Nintendo home console ever. If the Switch hits 70 million, then that would put it higher than the original Nintendo Entertainment System, taking the second best-selling spot. In order to become the true best-selling Nintendo home console, the Switch would have to surpass the Wii’s massive achievement of over 100 million units sold. Some analysts have actually predicted that the Switch will actually do just so, but we’re just going to have to wait and see how it turns out.
As Pachter mentioned, trying to make a prediction right now is kind of difficult. The Switch is only a half-year old at this point, which is still far too early to determine its long-term success. Right now, it’s factually proven that the system is performing much better than the Wii U. Nintendo currently lists Switch lifetime sales at 4.7 million as of June 2017. It’s now the middle of August, so there’s a good chance that the Switch is somewhere in the realm of 5 million at this point. If Nintendo really does hit or even surpass its goal of selling 10 million units by March 2018, then the Switch would already match the Wii U’s lifetime sales of 14 million, which it took four years to amass.
While it’s currently impossible to predict how well the Switch will sell, it’s at least notable that Nintendo is pleased with its performance so far. Nvidia, who built the custom Tegra processor inside the Switch, is also pleased with the system’s strong sales. Even Sony has acknowledged that the Switch has been doing very well so far. All-in-all, things are looking pretty decent for the Switch in its current state, but we’ll just have to wait and see what the future really holds.
Check out Pachter’s full video below: