Nintendo’s next console is at least two years away, a senior industry analyst has forecast.
Piers Harding-Rolls of Ampere Analysis provided his predictions in a note provided to VGC, following Nintendo latest financial results on Tuesday.
Nintendo announced Switch hardware sales of 23.06 million for its 22 fiscal year, bringing lifetime sales to 107.6m. The figure brings the company closer to beating PS2’s record (155m), but it still represents a 20% decline on the previous year when Switch sales peaked at 28.83 million units.
Officially, the company has said it believes Switch is still in the middle phase of its lifecycle and that it’s seeking a sixth year of growth, aided by the new OLED model.
However, Ampere’s Harding-Rolls said he believes Switch sales will now inevitably decline until the platform holder reveals its next-generation console.
“Switch sales, setting aside the unexpectedly strong growth in 2020 due to the pandemic and Animal Crossing release, are following a traditional console lifecycle shape,” he told VGC.
“Even with the release of the OLED model, sales were expected to decline from their peak as the Switch reaches year six of the cycle in 2022 and Nintendo’s latest shipment forecast reflects this.
“Nintendo has forecast 21 million Switch shipments in the April 2022 to March 2023 fiscal period, down from 23m in FY22. Depending on if the next Zelda game releases before the end of March 2023, that could be considered to be a little conservative.”
He added: “A new Zelda will prompt some existing Switch flagship or Lite owners to upgrade to the OLED version of the console. Even with the release of Breath of the Wild 2 in 2023, Ampere is expecting Switch sales to continue declining year-on-year as it enters the late stages of its lifecycle and a next-gen console is revealed.”
Harding-Rolls said that Ampere is not expecting an upgraded Switch ‘Pro’ to be released before a next-gen Nintendo device, but that even without a revision, it believes Switch could become the best-selling console ever.
“Ampere is currently forecasting a next-gen Nintendo device to release in 2024,” he said.
“By the end of that year Switch is predicted to have sold-through 146m units meaning it still has the potential to become the best-selling console ever by the end of its lifetime, selling over 158 million units and overtaking the PlayStation 2.”
Speaking to investors on Tuesday, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said the company’s eventual transition away from Nintendo Switch to its next hardware platform was “a major concern” for the company.
However, Nintendo stated last May that investment in Switch’s successor had contributed to a record annual research and development spend at the company.
And during its financial results briefing in November, the company said it was still internally discussing the concept and launch timing for its next gaming system.