In an earnings call on Thursday, Sharp CEO Robert Wu said the Japanese electronics company will launch pilot LCD-panel production lines for the new device during its current fiscal year ending in March 2024.
“I can’t comment on any details regarding specific customers. But as to a new gaming console, we’ve been involved in its R&D stage,” he told analysts (via Bloomberg).
Sharp has a long history of working with Nintendo, including providing LCD displays for DS consoles and acting as a Switch assembler.
Nintendo has yet to officially announce a successor to Switch, which entered its seventh year on the market in March, but speculation is mounting that it intends to launch new hardware next fiscal year.
On Tuesday, Nintendo reported a slowdown in Switch console sales but suggested no new hardware will launch before April 2024.
Following its earnings results, Nikkei Asia claimed to have been informed by a source close to Nintendo that work on the company’s next console appears to be going smoothly.
“Development seems to be progressing well,” they said. “But a product launch won’t happen before next spring at the earliest.”
Nintendo is aiming to sell 15 million Switch consoles this fiscal year, which would represent a 16.5% year-over-year decline.
“Sustaining the Switch’s sales momentum will be difficult in its seventh year,” Nintendo president Furukawa acknowledged. “Our goal of selling 15 million units this fiscal year is a bit of stretch. But we will do our best to bolster demand going into the holiday season so that we can achieve the goal.”
Furukawa also seemingly hinted that were Nintendo to announce a new console, it would do so closer to the product’s launch than was the case with Switch.
The company’s current-gen console was announced under the development codename “NX” in March 2015 – a full two years before its eventual launch.