High Hopes: Nintendo Set to Ramp Up Switch Production

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Steve Anderson
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High Hopes: Nintendo Set to Ramp Up Switch Production

Though the launch of the Nintendo Switch hasn't been without its problems, there's no denying that sales have been brisk. Nintendo's expecting some very big things, though, and is already set to double Switch production for 2017, making sure there's no shortage of devices on hand to come.

Such a measure would put the Nintendo Switch on par with the Nintendo Wii, and give Nintendo the level of success that it likely needs. The doubling would ramp up production to 16 million units for the year, and given that Nintendo only sold 13.5 million Wii U systems--and the Wii sold 17 million in its first year-- during the entire four years it existed, that's a level of optimism that's unusual even for Nintendo.

Given that the Wii was released in the holiday season, it's going to be very difficult for the Switch to match the Wii's performance without that major potential sales boost. However, there's a point that helps here: the earliest word notes that the Switch sold around 1.5 million units in the first week, and Nintendo noted it was on track to ship two million by the end of March, though new reports suggest that number may not come off after all.

Even here, some early word from analysts noted a good chance of big sales; SuperData projected five million units sold through the end of 2017, and IHS suggested slightly lower sales of 4.4 million. If the projections turn out to be closer to reality, then Nintendo may well be about to build a whole lot of new hardware it'd just end up having to store.

About the only way that Nintendo is going to be able to sell that level of product is if it learns from the biggest mistake of its past: a distinct lack of games. If Nintendo can keep up the releases--at a much better clip than the Wii U--then it may well be able to realize Wii-grade sales. If it can't keep up the releases, then it doesn't has much of a hope of making those sales.

It all depends on the software; video game systems without games just aren't much value to consumers. The Switch must avoid the mistakes of its predecessor in order to make the optimistic sales target that Nintendo has set forth, and it may be able to do just that.

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