Nintendo has said it’s not currently planning to cut Switch hardware or software prices in a bid to help it navigate “uncharted territory” in its console business.
The company announced this week that Switch shipments had reached 122.55 million units as of December 2022, a feat only bettered by its Nintendo DS handheld (154.02 million) and Sony’s PlayStation 2 (155 million).
However, Nintendo also said it now expects Switch hardware sales for the current fiscal year ending in March to total 18 million (down from 23 million units a year earlier and 28.8 million the year before that).
Given the downward trend as Switch prepares to enter its seventh year on the market in March, during a financial results briefing this week Nintendo was asked what its vision for the future lifecycle of the console is.
In his response, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa admitted it would be tough to continue selling the console at previous levels, but that price cuts aren’t a solution it’s currently considering.
”We believe that we are now entering uncharted territory within our dedicated game console business,” he said (translated by VGC contributor Robert Sephazon). “Within this environment, it will not be easy to sell hardware at the same pace as before.
“As a result, we realise that our new challenge will be convincing consumers who are considering new purchases, replacement purchases, or additional purchases to pick up the Nintendo Switch.”
With the company yet to announce a Switch successor, Furukawa said Nintendo aims to grow the console’s user base by continuing to support it with both new and classic games.
“Regarding hardware, we believe that there will be opportunities for new customers to purchase our products by proposing both new and classic titles,” he said.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, the sequel to the popular Switch launch title Breath of the Wild, is set for release in May. Other upcoming first-party releases include Pikmin 4, Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp, and Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon.
Nintendo could also choose to expand its Virtual Console service by bringing more libraries of classic games from previous consoles to Switch.
“We also believe that continuing the life cycle of the Nintendo Switch will lead to opportunities for additional software to be played by consumers,” Furukawa said. “For example, during last December, Nintendo Switch total consumers hit a record high, and many continue to play Nintendo Switch.
“Therefore, it is integral to show the appeal of the Nintendo Switch through future software proposals to customers who are considering purchasing new hardware, replacement hardware, or additional hardware.”
Nintendo has previously said that a significant number of households own more than one Switch console. During its fiscal year ended in March 2021, around 20 percent (5.8 million) of the 28.8 million Switch consoles sold were bought by households that already owned one.
Furukawa told investors this week: “Regarding the Nintendo Switch [pricing strategy], we have done our best to maintain both its value and price of hardware and software in our long term business strategy. We do not believe that any changes to this policy are necessary at this stage.”
Nintendo will host its next Nintendo Direct stream today. The presentation will feature “roughly 40 minutes of information mostly focused on Nintendo Switch games launching in the first half of 2023″.
Ahead of the event, Nintendo briefly listed Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom for $69.99 on the US eShop before removing the price. If this is to be the game’s actual price, it will mark the first time Nintendo has charged more than $59.99 for a standard edition of a digital Switch game.
Nintendo said this week that 994 million Switch games have been shipped since the console launched in 2017, which is more than any other Nintendo console (DS is closest at 948.7 million).