In its latest fiscal year results, gaming giant Nintendo has reported a 22% decline in Switch hardware sales, selling only 17.97 million consoles in the 12 months leading up to March 31, 2023. The company has predicted a further 16.5% decrease in sales over the next fiscal year, with only an anticipated 15 million consoles to be sold. In comparison, Sony’s PS5 has sold 38.4 million units to date, with 6.3 million consoles sold in the January-March 2023 period alone.
Difficulties ahead for Nintendo
Nintendo has confirmed it will not be launching any new hardware in the 2023 fiscal year. President Shuntaro Furukawa said in a post-results call that the sales goal of 15 million consoles for the next year will be a challenge. “Sustaining the Switch’s sales momentum will be difficult in its seventh year,” Furukawa said. “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.”
Nintendo software sales remain strong
Despite hardware sales declining, Nintendo reports having shipped 1.036 billion Switch games since the console’s launch in 2017. This beats the record previously held by the DS family of handheld consoles, with 948.7 million games shipped. Though net sales declined by 5.5% ($12.56 billion) and net profit decreased by 9.4% ($3.2 billion), Nintendo maintains that game sales were still strong, with 213.96 million units shipped in the fiscal year. Digital sales also increased by 12.7% ($3 billion) during this period, thanks in part to Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions.
- Pokemon Violet and Scarlet – 22.1 million copies shipped
- Fire Emblem Engage – 1.61 million units shipped
- Mario Strikers: Battle League – 3.1 million units shipped
- Splatoon 3 – 10.6 million units shipped
Of the 35 games that sold more than one million units each, 22 were published by Nintendo. The company has announced that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Pikmin 4 are among upcoming games planned for release soon, with anticipated expansions for Pokemon Violet and Scarlet generating further market interest. Nintendo sees these additions as crucial in supplementing existing titles with new content to maintain demand for the platform.
Global semiconductor shortage causes difficulties
The global semiconductor shortage has contributed to the overall decline in Nintendo’s hardware sales. The company has also cited a decrease in sales from the 2022 holiday season as a contributing factor.
“Nintendo Switch has entered its seventh year since launch, and while it will become more challenging to maintain the same sales momentum as before, our goal is to have more consumers continue to play Nintendo Switch for longer, leading to maximized sales,” the company said in a statement.
Nintendo has hit a speed bump with a 22% decline in hardware sales over the last fiscal year, but remains confident it can continue to maintain its strong software sales figures. The company is predicting a further drop in sales during the next fiscal year, but anticipates new releases and content expansions will help to drive demand in the coming months.