After a full year of success stories, it should surprise no one to hear that Nintendo has hit it big with the Switch. What is surprising, though, are the hard numbers representing that success. Thanks to strong sales for the SNES Classic, 3DS, and mostly the Switch, Nintendo may be poised to outshine Microsoft in terms of total market share this year.
The Nintendo Switch was certainly the breakout success story of 2017. While many initially looked at Nintendo’s hybrid console idea with raised eyebrows, the tablet-sized device nevertheless released to massive demand and fan fervor. Switch consoles remained difficult to acquire throughout much of early 2017, but, despite initial shortages, Nintendo’s latest console still went on to break sales records.
As of the end of January, Nintendo has already managed to ship nearly 15 million units and if current projections hold true, then that number is going to continue to soar. According to an analysis from IHS Markit, spending on Nintendo hardware and software is projected to reach more than $11 billion in 2018. It’s a significant increase from the $8 billion spent on Nintendo in 2017, an amount which was itself twice as much as Nintendo’s 2016 total sales.
Microsoft had a decent year in 2017 too, with around $10 billion spent on Xbox-related hardware and software. Now that the Xbox One X is out in the wild and the Xbox One is entering the later stage of its life cycle, IHS Markit sees Microsoft’s console market share declining a bit from 2017. If their prediction holds true, then Microsoft will see somewhere around $9 billion spent on its gaming products this year. It’s this combination of the Xbox One’s age and the Switch’s strong momentum that might allow Nintendo to claim Microsoft’s number two spot this year.
At the moment, Nintendo’s Switch is nothing if not a powerhouse. It already has several massive hits on offer, and with new Yoshi, Pokemon, and Metroid games eventually coming down the pipe, it’s hard to see the console’s popularity declining anytime soon. All of this is certainly good news for Nintendo, especially since the company seems to be planning on supporting the device beyond the normal console lifespan. It’s unlikely that Nintendo can keep up this incredible pace past 2018. However, it’s never been wise to underestimate the big N. Perhaps Nintendo will surprise everyone yet again and duplicate the kind of success the Wii saw back in the mid-2000’s.