The Nintendo Switch has enjoyed widespread success since its launch last year, laying well to rest any lingering fears of a repeat of the Wii U's weak sales performance. Now, one year after the console's launch, the CEO of GameStop has stated that he expects 2018 to be another strong year for the Switch.
Speaking to GameStop's investors during a recent financial call, CEO Michael Mauler addressed questions about the performance of the Nintendo Switch. Given that year-on-year hardware sales for the Nintendo Switch rose 44.8% in the most recent financial quarter alone, and that Switch sales are the largest driver behind a 28.3% rise in general hardware sales for the video game industry, it would be fair to guess that the console will continue performing strongly into 2018. Mauler clearly believes that this will be the case, citing information that is presently yet to be announced.
When asked by an investor whether he believed that the Switch's performance, which recently set a record as the highest installed base for a console's first year in history, would continue to trend upwards as sales figures increased, Mauler replied:
“Yeah, I think that’s a fair question with Nintendo. I mean we know kind of what happened with Wii U. I’d say this is definitely a whole different platform than we saw in the past. We have visibility to the software. So last year was a tremendous year for the software, as well as hardware between Zelda and Mario Odyssey and all the games that they had really drove a lot of hardware sales, as well as software."
Last year, GameStop's Senior Director of Merchandising called Breath of the Wild "one of the greatest games of the past decade," and Mauler's comments suggest what is clear from the sales figures - that Breath of the Wild played a huge role in the Switch's success. Of course, that does raise the question of whether the Switch will continue to perform well if its success was reliant on one or two major titles. Mauler, however, certainly doesn't seem to believe that there is any danger of this.
"I think this year when we look at the slate of titles, many of which haven’t been announced yet, this year looks also very, very strong. So I think, at least, for 2018, we’ll continue to see the strong software slate drive additional installed base on the hardware and increase attach rate. We don’t have really visibility for 2019 yet, but for 2018 it should play out that way.”
Fans have already had a glimpse at that 2018 line-up, with the title most likely to dominate being the newly announced Smash Bros. title. But, with other titles such as the much-anticipated Spyro Remastered already announced and rumors circulating of a new Pokemon title in the works for the Switch, Mauler's expectation that the Nintendo Switch will continue to perform well into the 2018 financial year seems like a safe bet.