The gaming world is abuzz with anticipation as analysts predict the release of a new Nintendo Switch console later this year. With iconic characters like Mario and Zelda gaining immense popularity, the Japanese gaming giant aims to capitalize on this interest. The Nintendo Switch, first launched in March 2017, offered a unique hybrid gaming experience that allowed players to seamlessly switch between playing on their TVs and using a portable tablet. This innovative approach resonated with gamers, propelling the Switch to become Nintendo’s second-most successful console after the Nintendo DS, with over 132 million units sold. However, recent signs of slowing sales indicate the need for a fresh offering from Nintendo.
Nintendo’s revenue fell by 4% year-on-year, accompanied by a 19% drop in profits, highlighting the urgency for a new console. Industry experts, such as Serkan Toto, CEO of Kantan Games, predict the release of a new device in 2024, with a potential launch in the second half of the year. Piers Harding-Rolls, research director of games at Ampere Analysis, expects the new Switch to arrive in the fourth quarter of this year. Atul Goyal, managing director at Jefferies, suggests that the timing of the release will depend on the Switch’s holiday quarter sales. If the console remains popular during this period, a fall release is likely, whereas declining sales could prompt an earlier launch in Spring or Summer. Nintendo’s forthcoming December-quarter results will shed more light on the company’s decision-making process.
The launch of a new console in 2022 presents Nintendo with an opportunity to leverage the popularity of its iconic characters, coinciding with recent movie releases. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” grossed over $1 billion at the box office following its April release, contributing to Nintendo’s revenue boost in the June quarter of the previous year. Moreover, November saw Nintendo announcing plans for a live-action adaptation of The Legend of Zelda, another beloved character. These recent successes suggest a positive environment for introducing a new console.
Analysts speculate that the “Switch 2” will continue the hybrid approach established by its predecessor. This successful formula allows players to seamlessly transition between home console gaming and portable play. Paving the way for this new device, Nintendo is expected to enhance its console controllers’ capabilities. Serkan Toto, CEO of Kantan Games, believes that the upcoming console will be a “new device and not just an upgrade,” emphasizing the need for significant specs improvements after seven years.
Analysts at Moffett Nathanson draw a parallel between Nintendo’s console strategy and Apple’s iPhone model, suggesting that an evolution rather than a revolution is on the horizon. This approach aims to introduce a more powerful form factor while maintaining familiarity for the existing 130 million+ Switch audience. Accompanied by a wide range of compelling first-party and third-party games, this new iteration promises to satisfy the ever-growing player base.
The success of the new console will inevitably be influenced by its availability in the market. Nonetheless, experts anticipate that it will achieve comparable sales figures to the original Switch in its first Q4 sales period. This translates to approximately 7 to 8 million units sold to consumers. Nevertheless, analysts at Moffett Nathanson caution that the Switch 2 is unlikely to surpass its predecessor’s performance, as the initial surge in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic played a significant role in the success of the current Nintendo console.
As Nintendo prepares to roll out its new console, the anticipation among gamers and industry experts continues to grow. With a plethora of popular characters at their disposal and an established hybrid gaming model, the Japanese gaming giant has a solid foundation to build upon. While the performance of the new device remains to be seen, there is no denying the excitement and potential of Nintendo’s future in the gaming industry.