'Nintendo on the rebound,' says SuperData, but Switch needs 'second act' of content to maintain momentum

Katharine  Byrne
Nintendo Switch

With the release of Nintendo's fiscal year earnings report this morning, we now know that Switch had a great first month on sale, hitting 2.74m units worldwide. However, SuperData's Joost van Dreunen has told MCV that the platform holder now needs to deliver a "second act" of content if Nintendo hopes to continue its early success. 

"Nintendo's recent resurgence needs a second act," van Dreunen told MCV. "Following the success of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which had an attach rate of 102%, Nintendo must now follow with fresh content to keep its momentum. 

"Certainly, initial sales have been strong, and we’ve updated our forecasts for the year to 7.2m units. But this depends greatly on the firm’s ability to deliver on new titles. Key franchises included Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (April 28) and Splatoon 2 (July 21). After emphasizing third-party support in the run up to the device’s release, fans will have to wait until later this year to get their hands on Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and NBA 2K18. Nintendo’s own key title Super Mario Odyssey is scheduled for the 2017 holiday season."

The much-rumoured SNES Classic Mini could potentially provide a later-summer boost to Nintendo's Switch calendar, van Dreunen continues, but he warns that the platform holder may find it difficult to replicate the same kind of buzz it had with the NES Classic Mini:

"The SNES Classic is most likely going to be another hit for Nintendo. Nevertheless we are skeptical that it will reach the same level of success as its predecessor, the NES Classic, and expect to see more modest sales figures.

"Part of the NES’ success was its relative novelty at launch, which will be harder to replicate a second time around. More broadly speaking it is clear from Nintendo’s efforts over the past year that its intellectual property and hardware are a defining component of mainstream gaming culture. Pokémon GO, Super Mario Run, and the NES Classic have all managed to reach a broad audience and elevate Nintendo’s position. The question arises how the firm can best capitalize on this." 

Nevertheless, van Dreunen says Nintendo is definitely "recovering some of its mojo" after its recent missteps with the Wii U, but it's still too early to tell if it will make a full recovery:

"With its share price trading at roughly double the value of a year ago, Nintendo is clearly on the rebound. But since the heyday of the Wii, market conditions have changed considerably and, despite its regained success, Nintendo now faces a larger set of competitors with much deeper pockets. The high price point of the Switch and relatively light title slate may come back to haunt the firm later in the year and we expect Nintendo to be careful and not over-promise until it has credibly regained its full strength."

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Tags: analysis , switch , Superdata , SuperData Research , Joost Van Dreunen , Market analysis , sales predictions , Nintendo Switch

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